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Kiki & Herb
Feb 4 & 11 @ 9:30PM
Feb 18 @ 11:30PM
Joe's Pub

Reviewed by Sharyn Jackson
Photos Courtesy of Bradford Noble

"We've been reminiscing a lot, because… there's really no point in thinking about the future," reveals Kiki (Justin Bond), one half of the legendary lounge act, Kiki and Herb, in a recent performance at Joe's Pub. Having won rave reviews on Broadway this past summer, the duo's latest show largely tributes the Kiki & Herb that came before. What Kiki referrs to as "Kiki and Herb are Kiki and Herb as Kiki and Herb at Flamingo East," revisits some of the greatest hits from their days playing smaller, dingier stages of downtown New York over the past decade. Their pessimistic resistance to the future leads the audience on a ride into the dark, limitless depths of this ancient stage team's memory.

You won't find any stale material in there, though. Kiki's thoughts and philosophies, some old gems and some twisted new stories, provide the perfectly deranged patter between, and connection to, their expansive cover songbook. The repertoire covers everything from Herb's horrifying childhood rape to Kiki's indirect responsibility for Nancy Pelosi's birth to the tragedy of "the American Marie Antoinette," Jon Benet Ramsey.

"Everything sounds better when set to music," Herb (Kenny Mellman) sort of sings, sort of yells over his perpetual piano. Indeed, Kiki can go on for minutes about Hitler, kidnapping, "ass cancer" and lord knows what else. Herb doesn't stop—not as long as there's a Kiki who needs him to keep her on track. For above all, deny it all they want, this is a show about love—through-the-ages, epic, platonic love between a withered, drunken cabaret singer and her gay accompanist. Whether playing a dark backroom, a slick club stage or Broadway, Kiki and Herb's eternal symbiosis is still sick sweet music to the ears.

Starring Justin Bond (Kiki) & Kenny Mellman (Herb); Musical direction by Kenny Mellman.

Tickets $20.00 at www.joespub.com and 212-967-7555.
For more of Bradford's photos, check out our July 2005 feature story.

Joe's Pub | 425 Lafayette St

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