Claire Jenkins Avec Band North By Northeast Toronto ON June 11 to 15

I have nothing against using props on stage, but what the hell Ms. Jenkins? Are you trying to come off as the unholy spawn of Edith Piaf and Carrot Top? Sure, starting the show behind a big cloth screen and cutting out a face hole to sing through while the whole band is wearing paper sailing hats is cute at first, and even sticking a rolled up paper tube to your eye to scan the audience worked, but the boxing gloves and timed punches during the next song pushed it over the edge. Claire’s Avec Band contains some very talented musicians (the accordion player and pianist were particularly fiendish on their instruments), but they were given little opportunity to shine with the lacklustre songwriting and rather kitschy performance.