Ladies Cheap Cocktails: Concoctions and Confessions ***1/2
By: Paulanne Simmons
Audrey Appleby may live in Greenwich, Connecticut, but, to judge by her cabaret show, Ladies Cheap Cocktails: Concoctions and Confessions, she’s not exactly your typical soccer mom. Wearing sexy black lace, she took the stage at Cafe Noctambulo at Pangea and backed by the Daryl Kojak Sextet, sang in French, Spanish, Italian and English. What’s more, she wrote many of these songs herself.
Appleby’s songs speak of falling in love for the first time in Italy (“Estate”), meeting her husband (“Picasso Woman”), Paris adventures (“Silent Sights”), and going to Spain with a married man (“Spanish Affair”). There’s so much love and lust here, we hope it’s all autobiographical.
Certainly Appleby has spent much time abroad, both vacationing and working. She has performed in Lyon, Angers and at such well known Paris venues as Cafe Universel and Caveau De La Huchette.
Many of Appleby’s songs are clearly influenced by Spanish music, but there’s also a touch of the blues and a bit of rock. The last two are particularly well suited to Appleby, as her voice is much more vibrant in the lower registers. Kojak has supplied some marvelous arrangements that support the singer and highlight her strengths.
Although the theme of the cabaret show is imagination, creativity, and freedom of spirit, there’s also a great deal of humor. Just when we expect a sweet or loving ending, Appleby reminds us that romance is not always romantic. There are women who pay for their children’s hot chocolate by having sex with men they don’t love (“Rue Blondell”). And sometimes nothing is the way it seems, like when the guy used to be a girl (“Girl in the Past Tense.”)
Appleby knows enough about a broken heart to sing about it and go on to the next man. There’s always another bar offering ladies cheap cocktails all night long.
Cafe Noctambulo at Pangea is located at 178 Second Ave., www.cafenoctambulo.com.