Regional Reviews: San Francisco
Shopping! The Musical
Morris Borrow's Shopping! The Musical is currently playing in the intimate Shelton Theatre near Union Square, San Francisco. This clever and sparkling revue is an open end run and is attracting many tourists.
Shopping! The Musical reminds me of those wonderful little revues that used to occur down in the Village in New York or the great Billy Barnes shows in Los Angeles. This fast paced one hour and twenty minute song fest about shopping is performed by four very talented singers who know how to put a song over. Morris Borrow who has written and directed numerous musicals, including the recent travel revue Are We Almost There?. He has devised 24 songs about shopping delivered at an amazing speed.
Borrow knows how to present the lost art of a musical revue. His parodies are not political but more a social commentary on the art of shopping. Everyone who sees the revue will identify with some aspect of shopping. His songs remind me of musical satirist Tom Lehrer.
Shopping! The Musical has hilarious lampoons of shopping at wholesale houses like Costco under the title of "Shopping with Style," in which a person buys a six year supply of toilet paper or carts his stuff home in a Bekins truck. "Department Store Blues" is entertaining when the delightful Alison Peltz sings "Who do I have to screw to get some help?" There is a great country western song sung by Kim Larsen about a macho man shopping in a hardware store. Kim is also funny as a shy husband trying to buy a birthday gift for his wife at Victoria Secret.
One of the great side-splitting moments is a non-musical number with Alison Peltz, Kim Larsen and Coley Grundman in the checkout line at a supermarket. Alison is a customer who goes over the top, checking each item to the frustration of Kim playing the clerk. It is a sketch that is worthy of Saturday Night Live.
Sara Hauter is first rate in a song about women who are obsessed with buying things from QVC or the Home Shopping Network. She is also very funny on the song "A Fit Fit" when she sings about an outfit that is "all about the butt and not looking like a slut." There is a great song about Internet shopping called "Click," sung well by Alison Peltz. Coley Grundman has a cool natural voice in "Sounding Off," which is about a customer who is very irritated about canned music in a supermarket. He also has great vocal chops in "May I Help You?" about a servile salesman trying to sell a lamp to Alison Peltz. Anyone who has been to a street fair where they sell things you really don't want will appreciate the group singing about the wonders of buying these goods; even the props are uproarious.
Coley Grundman, Sara Hauter, Kim Larsen and Alison Peltz give polished performances and they know how to handle this kind of fast paced revue. Musical accompaniment on the piano by Ben Keim is first rate.
Shopping! The Musical is playing in the intimate 55-seat theatre downstairs in the Shelton Theatre, 533 Sutter St. San Francisco on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM. Tickets are $29 at the door, $27 in advance and $25 for seniors and students. You can order tickets only at www.brownpapertickets.com or by calling 800-838-3006 or visit their website at www.shoppingthemusical.com.