Monday, August 6, 1990 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Pink Things Stay Classic, Yet Fresh

The Amazing Pink Things presented by Evergreen Theatre Company at the Pacific Arts Center, Seattle Center, last Friday night through Aug. 26. Information: 443-1490.


The Amazing Pink Things have moxie. They have talent. And they have the good fortune to be living in a time rife with possibilities for satire. What more could four inspired singing comedians ask?

Musical idioms in this, the fifth-anniversary celebration of the Seattle-bred quartet, cover the territory from Baroque to country-western and just about everything in between. Pink Things ``classics'' such as the Hal and Lulu Chorus share the stage with fresh material that includes a tribute to the charms of Ballard. It's all performed with a wink and a wiggle that verges upon, but never crosses, the cuteness line.

Like ensembles everywhere, the Pink Things have had personnel changes over the past half decade. Old-timers Dana Countryman and Tamara Martin are joined by Tricia Meier and Robert Overman in the current lineup. The four are well-matched vocally, an important strength when - all kidding aside - they get down to some really close harmony.

Chad Henry, Dale Gonyea and Al Yankovic are among the songwriters with work in the show, but Countryman is responsible for most of the group's arrangements and original songs, and serves as the show's musical director. When Countryman takes on the Beach Boys, we're encouraged to go nuclear surfin' on a tidal wave two miles high, pursuing Meltdown U.S.A. Straight blond hair framing a carefully cultivated deadpan, Countryman delivers the most zany lyric with a quirky, self-contained panache.

Overman is a brown-haired, cuddly, twinkle-eyed baritone, a perennial innocent in the big, bad world. Whether miming a soft-shoe routine or conveying desperate hope in a suite skewering the hit-me-again character of so many popular songs, Overman is a strong and likable performer. Besides, he can sing to beat the backup band (synthesized and taped by Countryman.)

Martin's sturdy soprano provides musical high points in songs such as ``One More Minute,'' a Yankovic tune in which queen of country music Tammy Whynot explains why she'd rather extract her guts with a fork than stay with her current feller. Martin is also the stage director, and if she's missed a single hilarious backup-singer gesture, then it's not been discovered yet.

While she's grand in the background, several songs give Meier a chance to take the lead. She vamps the audience as a bimbo wannabe with ``the I.Q. of a thimble'' in the first half, and later keeps the perfect teen-age edge in her voice during a long mock horror song, ``The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun.'' Meier's cockeyed and frantic expressions are matched by a suitably wild hairdo, and by the high-fashion funk of costumer Robert Kaiser.

Just as a serious art song recital might include one lighter comic selection, the Amazing Pink Things tone down the mood of high jinks for a single selection. As the voices cross and blend to express the pain of an ending love, Annalee Purdy's lighting design draws inward and darkens.

Then it's off to the races again - full up with the spotlights, up with the sound track, up with a spoof that's played triumphantly from coast to coast since the Pink Things began to amaze in the mid-1908s.

Copyright (c) 1990 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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