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June 11, 2019:

A’Mour or Less reviewed by Rob Stevens

A’mour or Less, at The Lounge Theatre, is a three-person cabaret show about the bitter side of love affairs. Set in a Manhattan bar, three people sing about the downside of falling in love. Creator Heidi Carpenter has chosen some really fine musical theatre songs to showcase her theme but the show begins with an off-kilter start. Sondheim’s “What More Do I Need” contains his usual inventive lyrics but the upbeat song doesn’t really fit the mood of the piece. And following it with another Sondheim, the truly bitter and brittle “Every Day a Little Death”, without much of a why or wherefore, does not help. There is very little dialogue in the 45-minute set which is fine, as long as it successfully cues up the next song in the cycle.

There are some of the usual breakup tunes. There is even a snippet of Mel Brooks’ “Keep It Gay”. One of Carpenter’s cleverest moves was to have the female centric duet from Chess, “I Know Him So Well,” sung by a man and a woman, both in love with the same man. The trio also performs a lively “You Can Drive a Person Crazy”. Carpenter and Marissa Chin at times seem to be struggling with tunes that are out of their limited range. Christopher Karbo possesses the strongest voice of the trio and he really delivers the show’s power point number—Maltby/Shire’s “I Don’t Remember Christmas”. The show ends on a somewhat hopeful note as the trio sings Andrew Lloyd Webber’s anthem from Aspects of Love, “Love Changes Everything”. A’mour or Less is an interesting concept for an evening of cabaret. It just needs a more consistent and clear plotline and some stronger voices.


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