Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cabaret Review - BaulPointPen

(left to right: Ben McLain/Paul Peglar)
Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's
Saturday, August 16
Deliriously playful and clever, artists Ben McLain and Paul Peglar created quite a sensation in their supper club debut @ Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's on Saturday, August 16. Their act, known as BaulPointPen, is described as a best-friend singing comedy duo. There's a brotherly rapport between them as with Martin & Lewis or Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, projected with a very upbeat attitude that is now and a satirical flair that is totally original. Their style is structured, yet loose and their comic timing, fast and furious. Supported by an established 10-year friendship, the boys' chemistry is undeniably sharp, making their hour onstage pass by much too quickly.
Each has a distinct vocal styling: McLain has an incredible range from Broadway baritone to opera; Peglar's is more pop oriented with a terrific head-voice akin to that of Frankie Valli. They alternated positions at the mic and piano, essaying one or two standards, some showtunes and a few delightfully screwball originals. Highlights included McLain's beautiful rendition of Pavarotti's "Nessun Dorma", a hilarious "Tears on My Pillow", involving an impromptu encounter with a member of the audience, Peglar's great Jersey Boys audition, "Crying"/"I Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You", and his own silly composition "Cheesy Love Song".
McLain's "Defying Gravity" replete with broomstick and green face was a hoot, as were the two typically frustrating LA audition sequences with McLain trying to sing, in one of them Sondheim's "Giants in the Sky", for a sadistic/nonplused director, Peglar. Also extremely satisfying were their own off-the-wall versions of "I Love LA" and the scat-like finale of "Friend Like Me" from Aladdin.
What appeals to me most in a fresh new act is that special way the performers somehow manage to act, be funny and sing with complete naturalness and sincerity. McLain and Peglar are first and foremost good actors. They possess the talent, charisma and breakthrough inventiveness that hit the jackpot: BaulPointPen was a knockout. And to think they put this show together last March; it takes most talents years to come close to such genius! Stay tuned for future engagements!
5 out of 5 stars


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