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Force Majeure Variety Show Bewitches Brooklyn

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When I got to see FORCE MAJEURE’s October/Halloween show (because by law anything in October is part of greater-metro Halloween), I was told by Tanya Solomon, the show’s MC-Impressario-organizer-producer (who is also a magician-comedian-hyphen hoarder), that her mission was to bring back the variety show. I wondered, but didn’t ask, “why?” After seeing the show, I think I got my answer. FORCE MAJEURE is the best of what a variety show can be: an energetic hodge-podge of weird and wonderful performers, playing their eccentric hearts out, to a game and enthusiastic crowd.

Your host. Half-Elvira, half-Liza Minelli, half-Blackstone! Three halves? MAGIC! (photo by John Huntington)

Your host. Half-Elvira, half-Liza Minelli, half-Blackstone! Three halves? MAGIC! (photo by John Huntington)

FORCE MAJEURE takes place one Sunday a month in the back room of Bushwick’s Cobra Club. It has different kinds of acts every month but, and Solomon was firm on this, the line-up would never include stand-up or sketch. This is a place for more specialized performers. She was equally clear, though, that it’s not an open mic. They might be weirdoes, but they’re professional weirdoes.

The show’s got a vaudeville vibe, which is reenforced by the red velvet curtains and the back-of-a-bar setting, but the acts themselves were unique variations on the vaudeville staples. There was a magician, sure, but it was a heavy-metal musician named Nigel Blackstorm (aka Magic Brian who is probably aka something else on his driver’s license), whose act was more about the character than the tricks. Professor Vindlevoss and his zombie assistant Edward could, I guess, be billed as a comedy act, but they had such an odd, infectious energy, that the label seems too limiting. Whatever you’d call what they were doing, I want to see more of it.

Contortionist Amazing Amy. I could watch this all friggin; day. (photo by John Huntington)

Contortionist Amazing Amy. (photo by John Huntington)

Amazing Amy is a contortionist, which is great, but Amazing Amy is also a senior citizen (!) who, we were told in her introduction, was doing her first performance after a HIP REPLACEMENT in Jan 2015!! She has had both hips replaced in the past! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT??!!  There was also a pair of dance numbers. One was from a shy-seeming Bruk Up dancer named Lone Wolf, who blew the crowd away with what turned out to have been his first public performance. The other was the night’s finale, a number by nerd-lesque performer Fem Appeal, which began with her dressed as Pennywise from Stephen King’s, “It.” When it ended, I think she was still wearing the wig.

FORCE MAJEURE is an exceptionally fun show. Solomon does a great job, both in picking the acts, and in her role as MC.  She’s a charming performer and sets a warm and generous tone for the evening which seemed to affect not just the performers but the audience as well.  They were happy to be there and loved seeing the performers succeed. This struck me most during the curtain call, when all the acts were back on stage to take a group bow. A lot of them were out of costume, out of character, smiling big open smiles as they took in the appreciative applause. It’s like the performers and the crowd were old friends, both of which were very, very happy to see the other.

What a nice bunch - the performers and the audience. (photo by John Huntington)

What a nice bunch. (photo by John Huntington)


November 15th – Door 8:30PM, Show 9PM

Cobra Club – 6 Wyckoff Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Follow on Twitter: @forcemajeurebk


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Actor, writer, podcaster . . . you know the type. Most recently co-creator of BEHEMOTH from