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Nine Dresses: Sex, Death, Fashion

cabaret & variety · brenda varda · Ages 15+ · world premiere · one person show · United States of America

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Review by ELLEN DOSTAL

June 16, 2016 · original article

What I liked

What I didn't like

My overall impression

There isn’t a woman alive who can’t relate to Brenda Varda’s one woman musical, Nine Dresses: Sex, Death, Fashion, which takes on the subject of fashion in a very personal and humorous way. The title refers to the nine dresses every woman has in her closet. You know, the ones with the tags still on them. The ones that make us feel better simply by purchasing them, regardless of whether we have ever worn them or not. Each one has a personality and Varda lets us in on the back story of some of her favorite unworn garments in this intimate session of girl talk.

Joined by Nick Morabito on upright bass, Varda sings and also plays piano. She’s got Marilyn Monroe’s blend of sexy sweetness and awkward innocence, as well as Kate Bush’s striking vocal style (think “Hammer Horror”) The combination of the two is unpredictable enough that you’re never quite sure what she’ll do next. Plus, she is a warm and likable storyteller whose easy rapport with the audience makes you feel like you’ve known her for years.

The show could use some polishing but anyone who can spend half her time on stage in her underwear and still keep talking gets my vote for bravery. Funny and sweet, touching and endearingly honest, it’s the kind of show that’s about much more than just changing clothes. But for that, you’ll need to see it for yourself.

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