IN THE LAND OF THE GIANTS

 

Though it is a stretch to refer to this mini-concert as theater, it is a remarkably enjoyable evening of tuneful self-deprecation. The musical talents of one-time child star Blair Tefkin (singer and bass), along with her backup band (Michael Kramer and Bernard Yin), are well complemented by director Andy Fickman’s (Reefer Madness) comedic talents. The material, taken from Tefkin’s life, is harsh, and her presentation is far from the typical self-reveletory, dramatic one-hander about dysfunctional childhood leading to troubled adulthood that populates local stages. Rather, Tefkin turns her bitter tales into painfully funny, biting rock-based songs. For more than an hour, there is no let up as Tefkin, under pressure from Fickman’s astute sense of how much an audience can take, grinds through her disappointments while continuing to endear herself to her viewers. Much of the enjoyment comes from references to some of the tackiest television shows ever made, including Tefkin’s starring stint on the sci-fi hit V and her time spent in The Land of the Giants.

 

-Tom Provenzano, L.A. Weekly

Surviving, Barely, Hollywood jungle

 

Actress Blair Tefkin can do ditzy with her hands tied behind her back. This willowy, stark brunet has the unblinking stare of the practiced airhead and that uniquely showbiz voice type: a little-girl timbre burnished by cigarettes and decades of crushing rejection.

 

Tefkin doesn't have her hands behind her back in "In the Land of the Giants," her autobiographical one-woman pop/rock cabaret; she has them out front, thumping a bass guitar, as she relates fractured, poignant, often hilarious tales of minor celebrity, despair and humiliation — in other words, the average actor's life.

 

From her years as a "tiny prodigy" and child of divorce, through ludicrous acting classes, unrewarding relationships and unsought career advice, Tefkin's throughline is her struggle to develop a sturdy sense of self in a town where "a woman is a perishable commodity," as a longtime therapist tells her.

 

Indeed, as she tells it, Tefkin has been surrounded by fantastically self-involved people — parents, psychiatrists, agents, boyfriends.

 

It's something of a miracle, then, that she retains such a deceptively breezy, self-deprecating sense of humor about a business that's left her, as she puts it, "Lonely, uninsured and disappointed."

 

As a singer-songwriter, her tunes are witty and often pretty, and they're backed with loving subtlety by guitarist Bernard Yin and drummer Michael Kramer. Director Andy Fickman gives the proceedings smooth but not overly slick momentum.  Tefkin's blank stare finally conveys not so much ditziness as a look of hard-won wisdom. She's faced cruel music and she's still dancing.

 

--Rob Kendt, The Los Angeles Times