PIANO PUNK AND HOKUM!
nytheatre.com review by Ivo Tomasini
A talented musician, composer, and writer, Adam Weiner connects with his
audience with foot-tapping zeal right from the get-go in his one-hour
music showcase titled Piano Punk and Hokum! Weiner, accompanied
by bassist David Pinzur and percussionist Raky Sastri, generates a
palpable energy reminiscent of the George Clooney bluegrass trio
performance during the final scene of O Brother Where Art Thou?
August 15, 2002
Weiner’s abilities as a lyricist and musician surprisingly exceed expectations for such a young, up-and-coming composer. Adding to this advantage is his showmanship, which flows with the ease and confidence of a mature performer. Taking you through a gauntlet of emotional levels, his songs can sway the listener from whimsical rockabilly/blues numbers about having the cure for the flu or the sickly feeling one suffers from getting up too fast; to more sinisterly comical ones like "Shaking The Vending Machine." His deftness as a songwriter/performer is again demonstrated by his capacity to relieve the rock and roll/swing vibe with retrospective and dramatic overtones while still retaining the element of subtle humor, such as in the pleasant ballad titled "In the Sea."
Only on a few occasions during the performance did I feel a bit inundated by Weiner’s tendency to take the set over the top, with an array of cabaret/musical numbers that cry for attention with extra melodrama, such as in "Eyes in the Back of Your Head" or "Hey Molly." This dramatic tendency is a sign of Weiner’s true calling that he will some day become a great songwriter for major musicals.
As a capper, the set ends with a plate of sentimental mush, which asks us to sing along to the feel-good chorus of "Shine a Light," a song whose lack of timing and long chorus makes it difficult for the audience to chime in to.