Review: Alan Cumming Never Fails to Delight

alan cumming legal immigrant review on equality365.com

Alan Cumming has used his talents to conquer the stage, screen, television, the written word and even club ownership. On the evening of April 03 he continued to use his natural resources to overcome the concert hall as well. With the World Premier of his latest tour Legal Immigrant, Mr. Cumming shows that he is a constantly morphing creature that is continually (and successfully) reinventing himself.

The evening started in the grand hall of Benaroya Hall. With only a four-piece orchestra (a trumpeter, drummer, cellist, and his pianist/accompanist) Mr. Cumming took to the stage. Demonstrating his love of ‘mash-ups’, he opened with a melding of songs by Kander & Ebb, and Stephen Sondheim. The drumming overpowered the vocals at first but the correct balance was eventually made. The mash-up theme continued with different combinations of songs by Pink, Marlene Dietrich, and even a collective take on ‘Disney princesses’. One of the highlights was the heart-wrenching version of Edith Piaf’s “Hymn to Love”. Mr. Cumming masterfully weaved both French and English lyrics, conveying not only his talents, but exemplifying the beauty of the song itself.

The tour was named Legal Immigrant because Alan Cumming recently became a citizen of the United States. He explained his delight at the concept of being a ‘nation of immigrants’, as well as his disappointment with the current administration’s policies on immigration. To demonstrate his point, Mr. Cumming shared with the audience each of the song’s authors, and from what part of the world they had originated before immigration into America. He included the same individual histories for himself and each member of the band.

Alan Cumming in Seattle on equality365.comBetween each set, Mr. Cumming recounted a variety of personal anecdotes. His voice is soft spoken, in his charismatic Scottish accent, easily charming the attentive audience. He exudes stage presence making the large concert hall seem more like an intimate cabaret club. The stories he repeated ranged from subtle (and not so much) political commentary to personal vignettes. At one point Mr. Cumming caused hysterics as he explained about a personal phobia of his, ‘scrotal aging’ and the evolution of ‘scrotox’, Botox for the scrotum (evidently, it’s a thing).  He also spoke of his joys at being a new club owner (Club Cumming) in the East Village of New York City, and described it as an intimate venue ‘where you never know what will happen next.’

Alan Cumming’s singing is good. The accent adds an exotic edge giving a seductive quality, and the songs are enjoyable to hear. The pleasing voice is greatly boosted by his absolute magnetic stage presence. There is something about the way Mr. Cumming sensually moves, softly speaks, and gently gesticulated that makes him mesmerizing to watch. While I enjoy listening to either of his two solo cds (Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs or I Bought a Blue Car Today), I could watch him on stage for hours on end.

Mr. Cumming launched into the public eye with his brilliant, award-winning performance in the revival of the musical Cabaret. He’s appeared in such films as Emma, Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion, and Titus Andronicus among many others. He’s the author of two books, the entertaining romp “Tommy’s Tale”, and the autobiographical “Not My Father’s Son”. His television credits include The Good Wife and the new crime series, Instinct.

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About Eric Andrews-Katz

Eric Andrews-Katz has short stories included in over 10 anthologies. He is the author of the Agent Buck 98 Series (“The Jesus Injection” and “Balls & Chain”), and the author of the Greek myth series beginning with the novel TARTARUS. He has conducted celebrity interviews with some of the biggest and best names on Broadway, Hollywood and in literature. He can be found at: http://www.EricAndrewsKatz.com

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