Had you told me that the thrust of a show revolved around an audience-participation Twister game, I would have stayed home. This time, however, fulfilling reviewer duties was rewarding because With a Twist is among the best cabaret shows to come down the pike in a while. Musically, the show is glorious. Musical Director Nick Sula’s arrangements are complex and alive. Harmonies by Kevin Bishop, Steve Kimbrough and Paul Motondo (pictured) are clean and elegant. Musical selections spanned decades ranging from “Sway” to “Chug-a-Lug” to “Bad Romance.” The “Naughty Medley” is a riot. Yes, the show could benefit from more solo moments and perhaps better varied tempi, but the connected, howling audience didn’t seem to mind. In this show, song order and dialogue are not pre-set, but determined by a spinning arrow which then enables an audience member to pick a Twister circle, and thus a song. The cast keeps this moving quickly so the result is positive: early audience involvement without over-milking the gimmick. The patter is in-the-moment real as Kimbrough was chided for calling Sula by another surname and being featured in too many early arrowed selections. The love and friendship these gents share radiates throughout their performances. This three-performer show earns five thumbs up because the contributions of Sula and director Jesse Pierce, particularly in the visual layout of this show, contribute palpably to its excellence.
June 4, 2011