Show Business Weekly
Review by David Hurst
If all performers could throw together a show with as much entertainment value as Jim Caruso and Amanda Green, the world of cabaret would be a much better place indeed. In 2wice as Much Fun, which just concluded a sold-out run at The Laurie Beechman Theater at The West Bank Café, Caruso & Green were perfectly in their element with laughs coming fast and furious from a willing audience. In fact, with the ultra-talented Billy Stritch frequently joining them in song from his place behind the keys, it could just as easily have been called 3thrice as Much Fun.
The theme for their show was the running gag that they hadn't had time to prepare anything and that they were "winging" it. At the top, a clever bit of forgetting the lyrics to "Starting Here, Starting Now" made Stritch continually prompt the rest to lead "We Didn't Have Time To Rehearse," a cute novelty number penned by Green with her frequent collaborator Curtis Moore. Then, after some very funny patter involving Mr. and Mrs. David Gest, Caruso did a set of solos followed by a set with Green.
Caruso's jazz-infused, slow version of "If I Only Had a Brain" may well be definitive, and a medley of "Crazy Rhythm/Fastinatin' Rhythm" (sung with Stritch) preceded it to electrifying effect. Green's lyrics are funny, honest and heart breaking all at the same time, as she proved with "If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?" (music by Skip Kennon) and "Together Here Just Like This" from an un-produced musical version of The Hustler (music by David Sherman) that required some impressive vocal pyrotechnics from La Stritch.
The capper of the evening was a heartfelt reading of "Ohio" from Wonderful Town written by Green's late father Adolph along with Betty Comden and Leonard Bernstein. Ever the comics though, they quickly launched into the Donny & Marie theme song before returning to give "Starting Here, Starting Now" one more try before they left the stage. In case you're wondering, they got it right that time. Then again, they had it right all evening long.