Kiwi Songbird: An Unmissable Piano Talent

It's rare to catch a piano bar player whose fingers not only dance over keys, but they sing great, and spin a good yarn, weaving their personal histories of New York in the 80s around original and popular tunes. Kiwi Linn Lorkin bounces back and forth between the piano seat and center stage, bringing the audience closer and closer to her vagabond life and her extraordinary personality.

Ms. Lorkin's connection to each song and her marvelous playing create a more authentic musical experience than is often seen in New York cabaret. In fact, she recently won best in cabaret at the fourth United Solo Theatre Festival -- but that's no surprise. Ms. Lorkin and her partner Herschel (jazz piano and accordion) play around the globe, and are especially loved at the Edinburgh Festival.

With a little Piaf, a mop of fiery red hair and a grin Miley Cyrus would envy, Ms. Lorkin offers up an honest portrayal of an artist balancing out the demands of survival in a difficult profession. From the top, she makes it clear that she was a "sofa gal," not a woman who took to strange beds as she sang and played across Europe to hone her art. Still, there was much romance as she tries to count the many counts who fell under her spell.

She sees magic in the small things like a song about a desired green down coat that is personal, yet universal, in that it touches the everyday objects that make up part of all of our lives.

That Ms. Lorkin is also not a youngster adds to the depth of her performance. Her stories come from a life lived and relished, replete with all the joys and disappointments that un-lived lives cannot yet understand, let alone sing about.

It's a pity she lives so far away, but a song about a picnic in the New Zealand countryside is delightful -- naming all the relatives in a Danny Kaye sort of run-of-the-mouth.

It's clear she's crazy about New York and her years here. I hope she comes back soon, but she still has one more show, next Saturday at 7 p.m. at Don't Tell Mama.