BOTTOM LINE: A little cabaret...a little stand-up comedy...she's the neurotic, overly-confident, quirky-as-hell, faux-diva you can call Shells. Her monthly act at Joe's Pub is super funny and well worth checking out.
Shells is a character. No, seriously. She is the alter-ego of comedian Roslyn Hart, co-written with Nick Chase. And she's a complicated girl. One hour of personal time with Shells reveals her sordid past with ex-boyfriend Scott (who she's so not over), her penchant for mojitos and Shiraz, and her otherwise hyperactive self-esteem. Shells is that girl; you wouldn't want your friend to date her, but she's a trip as an exaggerated cabaret act.
If cabaret evokes visions of gay guys in sequins and old people bopping their heads to Broadway standards, Shells brings a modern twist to the genre. The act is about an hour, performed once a month and always different. What started as a multi-character comedy show honed in on a musical event with just one; Shells tells her story of love and fun in New York City. She sings both original songs and covers and is accompanied on the piano by the very competent Katie Thompson. Between songs, Shells shares personal stories about her life as a very well-off JP Morgan Chase financial analyst, as well as her trysts and dramas trying to find love in the city.
With a powerful voice and a giant personality, Shells owns the stage. She keeps the show entertaining by interacting with the audience and going above and beyond the socially acceptable. In this week's show at Joe's Pub, Shells playfully sang "one of these things is not like the other" (you know, that old Sesame Street standard) in reference to herself and 3 other girls...one of whom was black. Though she's certainly not politically correct, she's friggin' funny and completely endearing in that Avenue Q sort of way.
Whether she's bragging about her relationship with Moby (he totally wants to date her), or singing a jazzy rendition of "Summer in the City," her act is fun and her character is a riot. Plus, Joe's Pub is a great place to drink a beer and hear good music; it's nice that's where she's set up shop.
Check out Shells' next show on Sunday, July 20th at 9:30 p.m. Joe's Pub is located next to the Public Theatre at 425 Lafayette. Tickets are $15 and are available at joespub.org. You can watch Youtube clips of Shells and Moby at myspace.com/iamshells.