Poppy! An Enchanted Evening with Poppy Bulova
nytheatre.com review by Richard Hinojosa
August 24, 2009
It has been a long road for Poppy Bulova. She launched her career as Baby Pops, performing for royalty while still in diapers, and that led her to her first bout with alcoholism and amphetamine addiction as a toddler and a first nervous breakdown in elementary school. Since then she has toured the world performing her cabaret act and occasionally stripping. Her albums have swept the Grammies, her films the Oscars, and her musicals the Tonys—she is the biggest star you've never heard of and she is absolutely hilarious.
The show is pretty straightforward: just a pretentious international cabaret star and her piano player singing mostly silly songs with the deepest conviction. In between songs Poppy talks to us, the wretched masses, filling us in on her life story. Fagen Beauregard tickles the ivories while sipping from a tall glass of "ice water."
Lillie Jayne (Poppy) writes and directs this quirky comedy. She also writes the songs. Michael O'Dell (Beauregard) arranges all the music. He is a fantastic accompanist and they work together like a tight unit.
Jayne is extraordinarily magnetic. She speaks in an outrageous accent that is a bizarre mix of mostly Russian with some French, German, and Long Island thrown in there. Her martini glass never seems to empty, however, she was not allowed to smoke, otherwise I'm sure she would have chain smoked throughout the show. One may think that all the smoking would affect her voice but it hasn't. Her voice is silky smooth. Her songs range from funny and sentimental to funny and jazzy. I especially liked the numbers, "I Don't Drink," "F***," "Gypsy Girl Galore," and "Throw in the Towel." But she sings over a dozen songs so there are plenty of other songs to enjoy.
Jayne's story of Poppy is very funny and her comic timing is dead on. Her outfit is low-cut and sparkly. Half way through the performance she takes some of it off "to keep us interested." That certainly adds to her magnetism. The stage is bare except for a microphone and piano and that's all she needs. Still, I kept expecting Jayne to directly address an audience member and spin off of their comments in her wild character, but she never does. She sticks to her script.
I had a really fun time at this show. Poppy! is non-stop entertainment. She has enough charm and charisma to stand out in a festival as big as FringeNYC. Check her out before she jets off to some far off place.