Fringe review: Janine Klein: Gay Bar Star, John Ryan and His Divas, Orlando
Most gay icons are larger than life, and Janine Klein fits that bill. Not that she’s physically bigger than the rest of us, but her gay-bar-star persona fills up the room. And that voice … well, let’s just say that, when she’s singing, Klein has no need of a mike.
That she has one in Janine Klein: Gay Bar Star means that sometimes Klein can sound a little over the top. But that’s not such a bad thing when you’re as talented as she is – and when you can make fun of yourself as readily as she.
Klein’s persona in Gay Bar Star (written by John Ryan, who provides eye candy onstage while Steve MacKinnon plays the keyboard) is the blowsy, slightly over-the-hill, good-time girl, who is happy to lord over her legions of gay followers while she’s desperate for a straight man to call her own. (May I add that no one is over the hill who was a teenager when I met her?)
She weaves that character through some clever rewrites of musical-theater standards (“Turn Back, Gay Man, Forswear Thy Homo Ways”), and her version of “Matchmaker” from Fiddler on the Roof deserves to go down in musical-theater history.
But she also sings some of her numbers relatively straight, so to speak, and that’s a gorgeous bonus. When Klein says, “Oh, you’re all so lucky I’m here,” she’s right.
Remaining shows: 10:50 p.m. Saturday 5/22, 4:20 p.m. Sunday 5/23, 5:35 p.m. Tuesday 5/25, 9:05 p.m. Thursday 5/27, 9:35 p.m. Saturday 5/29, 1:40 p.m. Sunday 5/30. Pink venue.