My Brave Face

a Rocabaret

created by
Robert John Cook
and
Shellen Lubin

most recent performance:

Walz-Astoria
23-14 Ditmars Boulevard
Astoria, NY 11105
November 2nd and 3rd, 2007
9pm
$15/ 1-drink minimum
Robert John Cook
Cynthia Enfield
Matthew Gandolfo

Direction and Vocal Arrangements:
Shellen Lubin

Accompanied by Ian Herman
piano

William Galison
guitar, harmonica



*****

‘My Brave Face’ - Journey in Song and Text

posted to newcritics.com
by Kelly Hadous

December 8, 2007

Recently, at an intimate venue in Queens I had a wonderful opportunity to see the thought provoking cabaret, My Brave Face. The show consisted of three performers, and is really more like a rocabaret, comprised of alternative, folk, and rock music. Collectively, Shellen Lubin and Robert John Cook create a richly woven depiction of a man whose post-youth’s dreary existence is revealed through his subconscious mind. The various voices and torments of Harry’s subconscious are personified by performers Cynthia Enfield and Matthew Gandolfo; together they reveal the journey of Harry’s lost paradise.

Harry is the only character who’s in present time, while all the others are set in his past. Both, Enfield and Gandolfo portray Harry’s demons. The tale begins with Harry’s inner re-enactment of dialogue from his more vibrant past. As a newly married couple, he and his wife fantasized about being in a successful rock band. However, as the inner dialogue reveals, Harry who is played by Robert John Cook, remembers himself helplessly spiraling down into a middle class existence–where sometimes human contact decreases and familial responsibilities surge. The youthful dreams of being part of an amazing rock band are brought to a screeching halt by reality.

Robert John Cook, who plays the protagonist, has a smooth melodious rock infused voice; he hits notes flawlessly. The two other performers, Cynthia Enfield and Matthew Gandolfo play the myriad of voices in Harry’s past, and are also strong singers. Four of the songs are written by Shellen Lubin; my favorite is titled, “Slow Dancing With You”, and is performed beautifully by Cynthia Enfield and Matthew Gandolfo.

My Brave Face takes us on a journey through song and text as a man reflects on his past, and grapples to come to terms with his missed adventures.