By: Paulanne Simmons
Playwright, filmmaker and producer Anna Fishbeyn has a new cabaret show. It’s called Anna on Fire and Uncensored and it recounts Fishbeyne’s sexual adventures from her childhood days as a Russian immigrant in the care of her puritanical mother and grandmother to her blossoming as a feminist devotee of casual sex.
The July 1 show at the Metropolitan Room, was a revelation of personal details that one suspects are part biography and part fantasy. We learn about her first peek at the male organ, her first kiss, her first orgasm, and much more. Salacious subjects always produce an easy laugh. But toward the end of the evening, even those with the most lubricious curiosity may wonder if they really need to know about her fantasies while masturbating.
On the plus side, Fishbeyn sprinkles her narrative with original lyrics to well-known songs such as “Touch Me Now” and “Mein Herr.” There’s even a lesser known “Russian Gypsy Ballad.” (Mike Pettry is the musical director.) And she is able to switch from her natural voice to a heavily Russian accented English with the ease of a toggle switch.
Fishbyne is often interesting and sometimes funny. However, she might have created a much more compelling evening if she had told us about more than her sexual self.
We learn she married and divorced, but we are not sure why she did either. We know she has two children, but learn nothing about them or how she feels about them. In fact, their care never seems to inhibit her sexual and social activities in any way. We know she wants to write, but about what and why?
Anna on Fire and Uncensored has two directors, Kristin Heckler and Brennan Lowery. One of them should have been able to put a little more focus into the show and bring out the talent that lies buried under self-indulgence.
Metropolitan Room is at 34 West 22 Street in NYC
(212) 206-0440 www.metropolitanroom.com.
July 1, 2017