It was rainy and dreary outside, but it was definitely summer inside as Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano radiated their married-couple charm and expertise on the opening night of their June 1-June 9, 2015 show at the Metropolitan Room. They call their stint “Shoulder Season” and whatever the season, they can be depended upon to delight.
As in past shows that I have enjoyed, there is a constant in their performing. They seem to be having a great time singing together, and that sense of fun carries over to an audience, making Comstock and Fasano very good company. They also harmonize expertly, and while they infuse songs with a feeling of spontaneity, it is clear that they don’t get to that point without careful rehearsing and long-time vocal compatibility. This latest gig continues the tradition.
Comstock is a superb pianist, whether accompanying Fasano or himself when he solos. He also is enjoyable when he sings, skillful at interpreting lyrics and establishing intimacy with his audience and in duets with Fasano. A good current example is his solo with “What Are You Afraid Of?” (by Robert Wells and Jack Segal).
Fasano is not only very attractive, but she is invitingly animated. She projects sex appeal, but in a manner that is refined and playfully saucy. Her range of expressions underscores her crystal-clear interpretations of every number that she delivers. Whether on her own or in harmonious duet with her husband, she spiritedly conveys pleasure or sensitivity, depending on what the song demands.
Her rendition of Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies” is particularly special, as is Jerry Herman’s “Ribbons Down My Back.” Her “But Beautiful” (Johnny Burke) is indeed beautiful.
The informational patter by some performers can get precious and intrusive. Not when it comes from Fasano and Comstock. Barbara is very amusing when she describes the supposedly hip outfit she sported early in her career, thinking she was right in style. But the put-down advice she got from icon Julie Wilson, her idol, was “Don’t wear your gym clothes again.”
Eric has his own Julie Wilson story. While he performed one number, he heard Wilson call out from the audience “Slower.” Then again, “Slower.” And yet again, “Slower.” He realized that she was right.
The duo also has a taste for amusing numbers. For example, Eric plays and sings “Warsaw” (John Wallowitch). It seems as if the song is about Poland,” but the kicker is that the locale turns out to be Warsaw, Pennsylvania.
The encore number is “The Hamptons” (Jim Lowe), twitting the favorite vacation spot attracting the snobbish, with the advice, “Bring money.”
Early in the show the team has fun with “When In Rome (I Do As the Romans Do)” by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh, which Fasano sings with an air of sexy infidelity. There is the aside remark noting the twist of a married couple singing about cheating.
The Comstock-Fasano choice of material is extremely eclectic. The repertoire includes such titles as “Incurably Romantic,” “It Could Happen to You,” “Island Down in the West Indies,” “Still in Love,” “Sunday in New York,” “I Thought About You,” “The Eagle and Me,” “Sleep Warm,” “New Sun in the Sky, “A Shine on Your Shoes” and numerous others in the jam-packed performance package. Add the attraction of Sean Smith accompanying excellently on bass.
Take it from me, there’s a good time to be had with Eric and Barbara. At the Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street. Phone: 212-206-0440. Reviewed June 2, 1025.