Saturday, October 14, 2017

Review: We're All Mad Here

by Kelly Kohlman

Italian chanteuse Monica Salvi brings an evening of delightful musical madness to Theatre Row as part of the 2017 United Solo Theatre Festival. Her one-woman show, Mad Women in my Attic!, featuring pianist Michael Ferreri and directed by Clare McKenna, gained critical acclaim at the Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals in 2015, and does not disappoint in NYC.
Driven to lunacy by her life in the theatre, Ms. Salvi’s finely-tuned cabaret tour-de-force, set in a mental institution, celebrates the musical legacy of mad women, with selections from Sweeney Todd, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Sunset Boulevard and many a campy cabaret tune. Her lovely soprano captivates across a range of styles and moods, and her semi-autobiographical storytelling provokes many a sincere laugh.
Salvi is endearing, funny, and sexy, inviting her fellow “patients” into the darkness with her, always with a wink and a clever costume change. “The mad woman often gets the best songs!” Salvi proclaims mid-set. And she’s right. If you go in for macabre, campy, lascivious cabaret, Monica does it right. I only regret that Salvi’s NYC performance was given a mid-afternoon curtain. A piece like Mad Women in my Attic!, a piece far from politically correct, deserves a much later viewing, preferably in a seedy locale, with drink in hand. Mad Women will next play at The Other Place in London on October 28th.