Written by Susan Hasho
Well, to begin with, the title of Amber Martin’s show, “Hi” doesn’t quite prepare you for what’s to come—which is probably for the best.
Amber Martin’s first character is a southern fan of country and western singers. Although it becomes clear that a lot of the singers she likes are dead—especially Patsy Cline, dead in a plane crash. (“I see your lipstick on the side of a mountain.”), Ms. Martin continues by calling her mother in Texas on a cell phone. Her mother sings us a song long distance from the cell amplified by a microphone stationed on the piano; and Amber provides harmony as she changes into her next outfit/character. Amber then sings Long, Long Way from Home (Foreigner) backed by a recorded track that she feels provides a “psychedelic soundscape.”
Amber Martin is flat-out crazily creative. Nuts—free form, dangerous-risky, she treads a line that could go terribly wrong, except she is so brilliantly talented and equipped with such a reliable inner compass that it all comes round to astonishing, and killingly funny.
She undresses for her Chaka Khan performance of Ain’t Nobody. A big Afro on her head and wielding a peacock feather like a dominatrix’ whip, she struts and undulates in huge, perfect satire. And, of course, she sounds exactly like Chaka Khan. But it was her Whitney Houston performance that completely destroyed the house. Singing I Will Always Love You (written by Dolly Parton) and dressed in a short cocktail dress, Ms. Martin moved out into the audience stopping periodically to touch or speak to random individuals. And last Thursday night, she ended up at the foot of a back booth. Continuing to sing in a gorgeous, full voice, she approached one of the gentlemen seated there and wrapped herself along the back of the booth and his neck. Her commitment to extreme comedy must not be underestimated.
She concluded the show with Reba McEntire and Reba McEntire’s song Whoever’s in New England. I will not tell you what she does with Reba. I will tell you that I have never seen anything like what Amber Martin does; or anything as breathtakingly good.
Her accompanying musicians are in and out of the show as needed, alternating with taped music. And they are perfect. Piano- Brett Avery; Percussion and back-up vocals- Patrick Johnson; Guitar and back-up vocals- Nathann Carrera. Special Guest Star- Cheryl Martin
Amber Martin appears again on January 17th at 9:30 pm (646) 476-3551
To purchase tickets visit TicketWeb.com or call (866) 468-7619