Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Kiki & Herb Find Signs of Life Among Critics

Kiki & Herb Find Signs of Life Among Critics

Making their first foray onto the Great White Way, Kiki and Herb are earning the respect of even the most jaded of theatre critics with their new show Kiki & Herb: Alive on Broadway.

Perhaps the most notoriously jaded critic of all is The New York Times' Ben Brantley. Yet, even Brantley can't resist the allure that Justin Bond and Kenny Mellman breathe into their alter egos. Brantley writes, "It is a tribute to the perverse showbiz genius of Kiki and Herb that once you twig on to this shameless trompe l’oeil, you don’t feel merely amused....Kiki and Herb onstage are Alive with a capital A, with all the human vitality and fallibility that that implies."

Over at the New York Post, theatre critic Clive Barnes gives this dynamic duo 3 1/2 stars, noting, "But last night at the Helen Hayes Theatre, Justin Bond (Kiki) and Kenny Mellman (Herb), superlative actors and musicians both, resuscitated their lounge-act extraordinaire under the defiant title of Kiki & Herb: Alive on Broadway. Alive, and we might add, well! Very well, indeed."

Much less enthusiastic was Elyse Gardner of USA Today who -- in addition to providing only 2 1/2 stars -- opined, "It's a premise that could make for a great comedy skit, and Bond certainly has the timing and dexterity to pull it off, but not for more than two hours. Much as I enjoyed most of the first half of Alive on Broadway, I had the sinking feeling I might remember the experience more fondly if I left during intermission. I didn't, so I had to watch Bond's repartee with the more subdued Mellman grow thinner, although Mellman showed spurts of comical animation."

Agreeing with Gardner of the show's length was New York Daily News' Joe Dziemianowicz: "At 140 minutes, with intermission, the show goes on too long." Yet, Dziemianowicz also offers up one of those critique lines quite likely to find its way into future advertising: "It's shrill, delirious and demented."

Most critics accept the fact that Kiki and Herb may not be for everyone. Barnes evens sniffs that the folks in Peoria likely wouldn't understand the humor (although I can attest to the fact that a mere 150 miles northeast of Peoria, Kiki and Herb struck a huge chord with the Chicago audience attending Steppenwolf's Traffic Jam last December). I might suggest that if visitors to New York really want to be entertained by an authentic slice of Big Apple life, Kiki and Herb may be just the ticket.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Kiki & Herb Celebrate Broadway Debut This Evening (August 15, 2006)
Kiki & Herb Spice Up Broadway This Summer (July 21, 2006)

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