First Nighter: In 'Hello, Dillie!' Dillie Keane Celebrates Love Gone Wrong. Gone Very Wrong And Gone Right

With her songs and stories, Dillie Keane is interested in--no, possessed by--the lives, mostly romantic, as lived by women of a certain age. Often it's herself about whom she's chatting and chanting, and she's funny about it as well as, from time to time, angry as Mother Nature in a windstorm.

During the spritely titled Hello, Dillie!, she rushes the 59E59 Theatres cabaret stage to sing a slew of songs she's written herself or with writing partner Adele Anderson (who co-wrote the energetic act). She's disturbed about the ever-present battle between the sexes. Her implied contention is that in the continuing set-to there's almost never a clear victor.

One of the funniest items is "Shattered illusions," a reflection on how she's too often been taken in by men's dishonesty but also how she's taken men in by her own little reality embellishments. Longtime fans will recognize the ditty from shows performed for the last few decades by Fascinating Aida, which Keane founded in 1984 and which Anderson joined in 1985.

Keane has a good time singing two related numbers that she only realized were related after completing the second of them. They're "Single Again" in which she lambasts the bloke who's just departed the relationship, and "Back With You," in which she questions her motives for a kaput relationship's reconciliation.

Presenting her highly amusing tirade in two acts, she ends the first with a cudgel masquerading as a song. It's "Pam," in which the eponymous Pam is someone who tried to put the moves on a Keane inamorata to no eventual success. Throughout it, Keane gives a bravura performance as an exacerbated wronged lady.

Once or twice Keane pulls back on the rib-tickling vitriol. The song "Love Late," written on the first Christmas of a still enduring romance, is truly lovely and an indication that Keane also believes that once in a (rare?) while, love can go right. And in the upbeat "This Ain't the Hokey Cokey Any More," she acknowledges that later love can entail signs of mellowing.

Between the lacerating ditties, Keane tells stories, a couple of them about her consulting clairvoyants for one reason or other. She relays them as examples of predictions that actually materialized and ends the accounts with a shrug of the shoulders, as if to say, "Believe it or don't."

At the piano and occasionally singing along is Michael Roulston, and he's a decided asset. Simon Green, the accomplished cabaret performer in his own right, directs.