by Janis Kirshner
There’s no question that Kirsten Rasmussen is a contender, so, right out of the corner it’s smart, sharp, fresh and professional. Her characterizations are clean and imaginative and you eagerly follow the story of the down on her luck lounge singer (Lucy Diamond), estranged by her famous singer/songwriter father and newly dumped by her boyfriend as she takes to the local boxing club to acquire the strength to tough life out (as Amanda Pain). We’ve seen these characters in all those great and not so great Hollywood movies and we like seeing them live on stage with Rasmussen at the helm. I couldn’t wait for James Carter, owner and chief cook and bottle washer of the boxing club with his encouraging words, odd faith (“See yourself on a surfboard of morality on an ocean of regret.”) and gentle, harmless sexism (“I don’t pussy foot even if you got one”). I’m sure a whole show with his story could hold me. I’m not a fan of self-aware theatrical asides, the singing could have been a bit stronger and there’s a bit of a bob and weave at the end with things wrapping up rather quickly, but you can’t deny Rasmussen’s talent or that of the 3-piece jazz band behind her, Nicky Tits and the Underwires. In Rasmussen’s own words as Carter, “It’s easy to be cynical; it takes guts to have hope.”
Pay close attention to the myriad hysterical song titles announced on the radio.