Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
Also see Richard's review of Seussical
I spent a mellow evening on July 15 with Wesla Whitfield and her husband Mike Greensill, two of the best cabaret artists around. In the intimate Society Cabaret, I heard the mesmerizing voice of Wesla Whitfield and the wonderful piano playing of Mike Greensill. They held their fans spellbound for 80 minutes, with an eclectic program of 17 songs ranging from soft ballads to jazz standards.
A New York Times writer said of Wesla, "Whitfield has one of those cool, artesian voices that seems to emerge with absolute purity and transparency from some underground spring." I second those remarks. Whitfield herself says, "I'm a lyric interpreter. I want to tell those stories." She captivates and entrances her audience and there is no pretentiousness about her. Her face and gestures reflect each song's mood. She is as much an actress as a crooner.
The pair called this show Havin' Any Fun?. They opened with a tender "Never Never Land" and segued into "You've Got Possibilities" beautifully. Then she sang with had pitch-perfect resonance, "This Could Be the Start of Something Big." Nobody can touch Whitfield when she sings heartwrenching songs like "Don't Blame Me," "I Just Found Out About Love," and "When Lights Are Low." She did a jazzed-up version of "The Simple Life" and "Are You Havin' Any Fun?"
Mike Greensill got his moment to shine singing "She's Funny That Way." He showed an impeccable jazz influence on several songs, including "Happy as the Day Is Long" and "Will You Still Be Mine."
Bottom Line: What better way to spend an evening than in a cabaret with Wesla Whitfield and Mike Greensill?
Society Cabaret is located in the Hotel Rex, Union Square, 562 Sutter Street, San Francisco. For their complete lineup, visit www.societycabaret.com.