"Gay Bar Star: Return from the Big House" is the latest vehicle for the super-sized voice and stage presence of Orlando cabaret favorite Janine Klein, who channels her alter-ego with a formidable combination of skill, style and comedic timing.
In this edition of the show, the brassy star returns to claim the spotlight after a stint behind bars, a premise that opened the door for a few topical one-liners built especially for the locals.
Although a George Zimmerman reference fell flat, Klein otherwise hit the mark over and over with observations about how things had changed in her absence. A crack about how the "new performing arts center has become a beacon of culture" was among the big laugh lines.
In reality, Klein doesn't need much of a plot to exert her considerable charm on an audience (in the case, an opening-night crowd that pretty much filled the Pink Venue). All she needs is a drink, a microphone and the songs.
The latter is a reliable assortment of material that dips into the songbooks of
On stage, Klein had a winning foil in buffed-up Mason Dixon (Eddie Cooper) and flawless accompaniment from pianist Christopher Leavy, who excels in the occasional deadpan facial expression.
There’s a lot of
60 minutes, Pink Venue, $11, Orlando Fringe Festival official page.