The Ballad of Klook and Vinette, a gritty story told in spoken word pattern and jazz-infused melodies is now playing on Zach Theater’s Kleberg stage. It is a tale of joy, humor and desperation, which ultimately asks the question: Can true love save us from the vagaries of a harsh world?
Klook and Vinette, two people in need of a come up, meet in a cafe. His move is to order her a carrot juice, which turns out to be perfect. She doesn’t think they are right for each other. He seems all in from the start. They go home together anyway and find renewed life in each other.
Can true love save us from the vagaries of a harsh world?
The 90-minute show exposes the couple’s dreams, fears, and vulnerabilities through snippets of their sometimes volatile relationship. It seems amazing that these two survivors had the good fortune to find each other, even as the anguish they radiate threatens to tear them apart.
The sole cast members are Roderick Sanford as Klook and Chanel as Vinette. These stage veterans infuse the couple with tenderness, humor and volcanic energy. You’ll recognize Sanford’s rich baritone voice from the “Christmas Carol,” where his portrayal of a sorrowful Jacob Marley brings audiences to their feet every year. Chanel, a former member of the gospel trio Trin-i-tee 5:7, solidified her spot in Austin Theater history with her rendition of Billy Holiday in Lady Day at the Emerson’s Bar and Grill.
The work of designers Rachel Atkinson and Scott Groh, make the show feel like a cabaret, the set is bathed in dim light, reminiscent of a smokiness that isn’t there. The musicians Christian Magby on piano and Anna Macias on bass are on stage throughout the performance. They hit just the right notes of glee and sorrow.
Costume designer Carla Nickerson’s wardrobe selections enhance each character’s personality. Klook’s sense of style fits the smooth, in control persona he wants to inhabit. Vinette’s flowing jacket and head wraps befit the queen Klook needs her to be.