Sunday, June 1, 2008
Concert review: Laura Ainsworth and Michael Gott - Cole Porter: Elegance and Decadence at McDavid Studio (May 30 late show)
The duo delivers a stunning soundtrack for an evening of elegance and/or decadence.
Preview: Cole Porter: Elegance & Decadence
FORT WORTH I first heard about Laura Ainsworth and Michael Gott's Cole Porter review a couple of years ago and have been wanting to catch it ever since. The missus and I are big Porter fans and I'd heard that this show really did the songs justice.
The hall was set up cabaret-style with a bar conveniently located at the entrance. Nice touch to be able to order a martini or three (although a plastic martini glass evokes neither elegance or decadence). We settled in just before showtime just in time for the intros.
Now it should be noted that growing up in the 70's-80's, my expectations of cabaret are formed by the likes of The Sweeney Sisters, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the repartee between the performers to be so natural and informative. The songs were interspersed with anecdotes and backstory on Porter and their origins, and helped reinforce the show's twin themes.
Gott's piano playing was impeccable and he and Ainsworth melded nicely on the duets. Ainsworth (as her comic background would suggest) was stronger on the comedic numbers like "Tale of the Oyster" and "Experiment." Gott, meanwhile, shone brightest on the belters, where he was able to stretch out with his clear, expressive vocals. It was clear he was feeling it on the showstopping "I Gaze in Your Eyes," an unfinished Porter number that had been completed by Anne Hampton Callaway.
The show was a mix of the expected hits and numbers that we (as Porter fans) had never heard. In addition to performing the classic songs well, Ainsworth and Gott managed to create an atmosphere in the Studio that made us feel like we'd been transported back to Porter's time, enjoying masterful but not-too-fussy performances of some of the best songs in the American canon. It was a "De-Lovely" evening indeed, and one that I hope we'll see repeated around town on a more regular basis.