The local trio Betty has built a strong following by consistently performing an unlikely blend of a cappella vocals, quirky pop, poetry, theater and stand-up comedy. Friday night at Lisner Auditorium, the three women played before an adoring crowd in a show packed with all of the above and some charming shtick to boot, including audience participation in the form of an abbreviated bingo game.
Betty creates memorable and funny images in its songs, as in the nightmarish, surreal "Carnival" and "Wolf Woman," a witty rap tune about a beastly character. But the women's strong points are their voices, which are clearest in the a cappella numbers, and their funky sense of humor, ranging Friday night from Amy Ziff's gross-out jokes to a number in which her sister Bitzi danced with a life-size cardboard cutout of Michael Jackson.
The show, however, was not without its low moments. Betty is better suited for a smaller, more intimate venue; the trio's three distinctive personalities were dwarfed on the large Lisner stage, as were their wildly excessive signature hairdos. A few numbers, mostly those with instrumental backing, fell flat, such as "Bananas," a siren song of sorts that was stilted by Alyson Palmer's halting bass.