May 24th, 2016
“The Space Pirate Puppy Musical” is now being performed at the Orlando Fringe.
ORLANDO — At the beginning of the play “The Space Pirate Puppy Musical,” lead performer Luke Tudball sets some ground rules.
His colleague at Tasty Monster Productions, Heather Bagnall, has just promised the audience that they will go where no man has gone before … prompting Tudball to call a quick halt to the proceedings.
There will be no quick and easy pop culture references, he insists, especially to the Star Trek or Star Wars franchises in this production. “Space Pirate Puppy Musical,” he insists, will rise and fall on its own merits, and not on winks and nods to someone else’s creation.
From there, the four performers do indeed go their own way, starting with the play’s initial premise — that a bad “incident” on Earth has sent the humans scurrying underground or into space, leaving the planet to be run by dogs, who are more than happy to have an opportunity to do more than pant for attention and hunt for bones in the ground.
Since every good sci fi adventure needs villains, they come courtesy of the Space Pirates, who think Earth would make a nifty parking lot for their new nightclub on the moon, so they intent to pave over it.
To save the planet, the puppies try to devise a plan to stop the Pirates. But could they be so desperate for a solution that they might just be willing to join forces with their arch rivals — the Ninja Kittens? Read more »
May 23rd, 2016
Margie Forestier’s artwork “Edgar Allan Poe” is now on display at the Orlando Fringe Festival.
ORLANDO — As a longtime fan of the writings of the great Edgar Allan Poe, I always appreciate the opportunity to explore his works in different mediums — although I’ve always assumed that I’m most likely to find it at, say, a meeting of a literary book club, or perhaps readings of Poe’s work at the public library around Halloween.
So I was naturally delighted to find Poe all over the place at the Orlando Fringe Festival this year — immortalized in an original play inspired by both his life and his writings, and to find one of his best known short stories brought to life on stage, and even to find artwork devoted to the literary genius who is said to have invented the detective thriller and created some of the most enduringly disturbing tales of creeping madness ever put on the page.
This year, Fringe truly has something for every Poe fan.
Lets start with “Edgar Allan,” an original piece by The Coldharts, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based team of performers. “Edgar Allan” was created and performed by Katie Hartman and Nick Ryan. Hartman plays Edgar Allan as an 11-year-old, a child given up by his parents — two starving theater performers — and taken in by a wealthy couple that nevertheless refuses to legally adopt him.
Their story opens with Edgar Allan about to enter boarding school, burning with the desire to be the most remarkable boy in the entire institution. Read more »
May 22nd, 2016
“So You Say You Want a Revolution …” is being performed at the Orlando Fringe Festival.
ORLANDO — The title of the Fringe show is “So You Say You Want a Revolution …” and it does feature songs from the 1960s, particularly the works of the Beatles and John Lennon.
What it doesn’t have is a large cast like the musical “Hair” to take us back to the late 1960s, and the age of Flower Power, Vietnam War protests, the hippie movement and the civil rights protests. “So you Want” is a nostalgic trip, no question, performed by the man who goes by the professional name Piano Bob — better known as Robert Azzarito. Now retired, he recalls coming of age during the 1960s and the major impact it had on his life.
Throughout the show, Piano Bob performs a number of songs, mostly solo works by Lennon like “Instant Karma,” “Gimme Some Truth,” and others. It starts to feel more like a Lennon tribute show than a revival of the 1960s, since Lennon’s music gets the most attention here, as well as some of the late singer/songwriter’s quotes about peace, love and harmony. Read more »
May 22nd, 2016
Jane Shepard’s play “Nine” is being performed at the Orlando Fringe festival.
ORLANDO — As she stands over the woman kneeling close by her, the first thing you notice is the strength and authority in the woman’s voice.
There’s a great deal of compassion as well. The woman nearby looks totally devastating, but rather than trying to quietly console her, to be empathetic to her pain, to gently reassure her, the woman standing up approaches the situation in an entirely different way. She keeps pushing the other woman to get over it. Get up. it’s not going to get any better, so you just have to deal with it.
The woman on her knees isn’t ready to hear this. She wants her to stop talking.
But she doesn’t. She keeps pushing her to fight back in the only way she can, by finding some inner strength, by getting stronger.
And in those first few moments, the scene feels like it could apply to scores of different scenarios: a woman reaching out to a heartbroken daughter. Two lovers reacting after a bitter feud. A co-worker assisting someone who has just been fired.
Of course, no one in the audience is likely to assume the play “Nine” is heading in any of these directions. Both women have steel chains around their necks, and they are prisoners. It’s immediately obvious this is not an American prison cell: the women are not in standard prison jumpsuits but in torn clothing. And both are covered, from their legs to their arms to their faces, in ugly bruises and wounds. Read more »
May 21st, 2016
“Magic, Music and a Little Mayhem” is being performed at the Orlando Fringe Festival.
ORLANDO — When a show offers a mix of creative talent — magic, music, comedy — it can be fun to sit back and see if there’s a true scene stealer in the bunch.
You know, that one performer that seems to grab all the attention and applause.
The performers in the show “Magic, Music and a Little Mayhem” readily admit at the end of the production, the true audience favorite among the six of them is ChaChing — though in a sense, that’s not fair, since ChaChing is an irresistibly cute fluffy white bunny rabbit who plays a key role in some of the show’s neat magic tricks and visual comedy.
ChaChing even opens the show sitting on a stool, looking adorable, and after the show is over, he is available for audiences to pet his fluffy fur or take photos with. How can any mere mortal compete with a strong dose of the cuties?
And while I, too, found ChaChing to be pretty irresistible, that shouldn’t detract from the talent behind the rest of the show, which is being performed at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. Read more »