by Mike Hoban
Following a successful summer run in Provincetown, Rod Ferguson is bringing his unique cabaret style to Club Café in the South End for the next two Thursdays in October. His new show, “Some Others I’ve Seen: Stumbling Towards Love” combines musical selections from the 40’s (“You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To”, “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You,” “Where or When”) with a series of well-crafted (and very funny) personal anecdotes to create an evening of cabaret that allows you to check your mind at the door, sing along – and laugh like hell.
While no one will compare Ferguson’s vocal stylings to say, Bobby Short, that’s not what’s required to make this show work. The songs are often setups or punchlines to his stories (such as when he pictures himself delivering his difficult mother’s eulogy with a rendition of Ding Dong the Witch is Dead from “The Wizard of Oz”), although he also does a nice job with many of the numbers that he plays straight, particularly Something Wonderful from “The King and I”, which he sang at the (gay) wedding of his best friend from childhood in uber-conservative Bermuda, where the boys grew up.
One of the things that make Ferguson’s show so enjoyable is that “Some Others I’ve Seen” has less of the feel of a cabaret act than that of a guy – who happens to be an entertainer – sharing with his friends. It’s not just that he’s likable (never a bad thing for a performer) but the way he relates his stories make it sound as if he’s telling them for the first time, and that he’s discovering things about the encounters himself as he speaks.
Ferguson describes himself as an “embedded journalist in the gay world”, and reports back to the audience on some of his research, including a trip to a “spanking party” (he did not participate), and meeting someone who’s into a fetish that I imagine most folks had never heard of. His sense of incredulousness as he describes his introduction to a hot young guy who is into Pup Play (it’s real, Google it) feels genuine, and he manages to make the story universally identifiable when he relates how he didn’t want to make fun of the person’s sexual tastes – not because he doesn’t think it’s weird, but because he’s flirting with him and it would sink his chances.
Another unique aspect is that as a comic, Ferguson is not “working blue”, as they used to say in the 50’s. His comedy is surprisingly tame, consider the sexual nature of many of his stories. But it is funny. For more info, go to: http://www.clubcafe.com/