I usually detest diva impersonation shows and in fact I almost threw things at the stage a few years ago when I saw a woman do Patsy Cline who wasn’t even fit to iron her crinolines. But Kirsten Holly Smith does a smashing Dusty Springfield!
In a show playing December 13 at the Duplex (61 Christopher Street; 212-255-5438) before moving to the Zipper Factory on January 31, Smith captures both the soulfulness and the sultriness of the British chantoozie of hits like “Wishin’ and Hopin’ ” and “Son of a Preacher Man” (the dirtiest song to ever help shape my early years), not to mention the spunk of a civil rights activist and open bisexual. Between sensitively delivered songs filled with period-perfect hand gestures, Smith tells biographical anecdotes–like how Dusty was a self-cutter who enjoyed mental hospitals as if they were hotels–and by the end, you’re in love with TWO top-notch singers with big hair. I pray someone next does a show about Lulu–maybe Lulu herself?