Lola’s love labours are lost

The Tribune (NZ) - - WHAT'S ON - RICHARD MAYS

Lola, that nor­mally ir­re­press­ible mega-con­fi­dent front­man for nu­mer­ous bur­lesque shows, is but a shadow of his usual saucy mis­chievous self.

De­spite be­ing dressed to the ‘tens’, with out­ra­geous emer­ald green os­trich­feather ‘toosh ex­plo­sion’ and be­span­gled pea­cock-coloured vest, net stock­ings and high heels, the pom­padoured show­man apolo­get­i­cally drifts on­stage in an aim­less woe­be­gone way.

He mooches de­spon­dently past the se­quined cacti, the pair of coffins and skele­tons be­fore an­nounc­ing in the open­ing song ‘‘I’m too sad to cry...’’.

It makes it pretty ob­vi­ous that Lola has been dumped, and is now trapped in the stage man­i­fes­ta­tion of emo­tional pur­ga­tory. All that’s miss­ing from this love--

lorn desert are tum­ble­weeds and a des­o­late wind.

Even Lola’s stage magic skills have de­serted him, fail­ing to fire dur­ing a des­per­ate duel with the devil, a loss that tem­po­rar­ily con­signs him to a hell where the denizens wear beige-coloured cloth­ing and flat shoes.

The 50-minute show is a singing dis­ser­ta­tion by the bro­ken-hearted im­pre­sario re­count­ing an ill-fated love af­fair in­volv­ing a mar­ried man, and work­ing through the var­i­ous stages of the emo­tional funk.

The sig­na­ture Lola is back dur­ing por­tions of these rem­i­nis­cences, some of which in­volve re­work­ings of well-known songs, in­clud­ing a pre-recorded phone duet with the ‘wife’.

It’s this, how­ever, that high­lights the lack of vo­cal va­ri­ety else­where.

Not that Lola isn’t ca­pa­ble of ex­press­ing light and shade, but for such an in­ti­mate venue as The Dark Room, these vo­cals were pitched way too loud and the songs de­liv­ered at an in­ten­sity that some­what coun­tered at­tempts by the char­ac­ter to present a vul­ner­a­ble, hum­bler and softer side.

De­spite the down­beat theme, there were plenty of laughs and the show seemed over far too quickly, while any wis­dom from the ex­pe­ri­ence was eas­ily summed up by the al­most in­evitable in­clu­sion of the song I Will Sur­vive - en­dure, as this too will pass.

PHOTO: BER­NADETTE PE­TERS/SUP­PLIED

Lola learns a valu­able les­son after sur­viv­ing a ro­man­tic break-up in the lat­est solo show

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