Kirby Tepper may be the West Coast answer to New York’s Craig Carnelia, a hip , youngish writer and performer of material perfectly suited to cabaret acts.
Backed by pianist David Snyder and, occasionally by singers Kimberle Baxter and Michael Heitzman and percussionist John Harvey, Tepper performs 17 songs, with connecting dialogue including a couple of relatively lengthy stories.
For several tunes, the composer accompanies himself on piano. He’s adequate, but well-advised to bring Snyder along for the long run.
The subject matter, most lighthearted, is centered on the self-absorbtion hinted at in the show’s title, with occasional digressions to more serious matters: the song “Lips Together, Teeth Apart,” for instance, deals tenderly with love in the age of AIDS.
Tepper’s lighter songs frequently pack a bite.
“Boy Wonder” will strike a familiar chord with many showbiz types who fit into the mold (or know someone who does); “Look How I’m Sharing” targets an annoying by-product of contemporary culture, and “I’ve Got No Style of My Own” socks it to singer-pianist Michael Feinstein, himself a sort of boy wonder by Tepper’s definition.
On the Feinstein tribute and a less successful jab at Mandy Patinkin, Tepper is his own pianist; his playing on the Feinstein number is quite amusing in its own right.
Singers Baxter and Heitzman are splendid in relatively small roles.
Tech credits are fine, though surely someone could have come up with a more accurate reproduction of a leaf-blower’s angry roar.
The producers’ decision to have Tepper play 5:30 matinees resulted in a particularly intimate house last Saturday; Tepper handled the situation with good humor and didn’t seem to be holding back in his presentation.
Earlier editions of “Kirbysomething” have played locally at the Gardenia, Cinegrill and Improvisation, among others.
This version runs 90 minutes.