Fringe review: ‘Tod Kimbro: Robots Stole My Piano,’ Tod Kimbro, Orlando
By Elizabeth Maupin
Seems like Tod Kimbro can do anything, at least where music is involved. He can sound amazingly like Elton John, then turn around and sound astonishingly like Billy Joel (and I know they’re not the same person because one is bald and the other has a wig). Then he’ll play something by the Beatles, then something by somebody I’ve only barely heard of, then something from one of his own shows – and all of it sounds pretty damn swell.
And that’s how it goes with Robots Stole My Piano, a Fringe show with no underlying theme but something to please everybody (at least everybody who goes to a show called Robots Stole My Piano). Some of us (you can guess our ages) were thrilled to hear a lovely version of the Beatles’ “Across the Universe” and Joel’s “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me.” Others – a gaggle of young women in the front row, whom I think of fondly as the Tod Kimbro Fan Club – were ecstatic over songs from Kimbro’s shows Loud and Illustrious Wasteland. I myself liked the song for his 1998 Fringe play Suckers, in which he sings the parts of both Nikki and Smegva but holds up a sort-of-goth photo-mask every time Smegva pipes up.
Plenty of technology is at hand in the current show, and I suppose that explains the title: Kimbro actually plays “Across the Universe” on his iPhone, which is hooked up to his electronic keyboard, and only when a piece of equipment fails briefly at the end of the first song do you long for a Steinway in the neighborhood. Mostly, though, you’re happy to hear a guy who can do so much so well – and if that includes songs by somebody you’ve only barely heard of, well, you’re having a growth experience.
Remaining performances: 5:20 p.m. Saturday 5/29, 4 p.m. Sunday 5/30. Red venue.
(Thanks to David Horgan for pointing out that I initially spelled Smegva’s name wrong. What was I thinking?)