Lynch’s cabaret might lack ‘Glee’ sparkle, but has its moments

To open “See Jane Sing,” Jane Lynch’s cabaret-style comedy act, Lynch tells the audience that when planning for the show, her muse just didn’t show up.

If the crowd at The Cabaret at the Columbia Club in Indianapolis was expecting to see a well-orchestrated show with an overarching theme, they were about to be disappointed, she promised with amusing sincerity.

It was a joke that held a bit more true than could be saved by Lynch’s signature deadpan shtick.

The musical comedy tour, headlined by the woman made famous by her role as villainous gym teacher Sue Slyvester in “Glee” — her portrayal of whom earned her both an Emmy and a Golden Globe — meanders from song to song, with no real connection in between.

Sue’s essence is plenty present throughout the show — Lynch uses the same deadpan humor that made her a hit as the bitter gym teacher, though some moments lingered a bit awkwardly without the benefit of a cutaway to the next scene.

The music choices (from old folk songs to lesser-known Irving Berlin tunes) are as quirky as the leading lady, who isn’t much of a vocalist on her own, and the pace picks up significantly when Lynch is joined on stage by longtime friend Kate Flannery (from NBC’s “The Office”) and Tim Davis, who arranged the music for “Glee.”

The musicality improves greatly with the trio, and Lynch feeds off the energy of her co-stars. Davis’ Sinatra sound is delightful, and Flannery is the funniest one of the bunch.

When Flannery first joins Lynch on stage, she tells the audience she isn’t sure if she can stay — she has nothing prepared, after all — before stripping off a modest sweater to reveal a flashy sequined top fit for a headliner.

The act doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is charming in its own way amid bad puns and cheesy choreography.

One highlight: the group’s rendition of Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” which felt a bit like catching your mother singing along to your radio station when you were in high school — equal parts eye roll and die laughing. For the most part, you died laughing.

The Cabaret at the Columbia Club welcomes a number of musical acts throughout the year, and this season has a number of heavy-hitters slated including Renée Elise Goldsberry of Hamilton fame. For more, see thecabaret.org.

At a glance

The Cabaret at the Columbia Club, 121 Monument Circle in Indianapolis, welcomes a number of musical acts throughout the year. For tickets, see thecabaret.org.

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Noelle Steele is editor of the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3232 or nsteele@greenfieldreporter.com.