Stage Happenings
June 2013

LA Fringe 2013

by Robert Machray

There are many performances to choose from this years Fringe shows. I could only attend a handful but what I saw were diverse, inventive, and captivating.

First stop was an operatic homage to Aesop called Aesopera, with music by Jonathan Price and libretti by Jeff Goode, Jan Michael Alejandro and the composer. The day I attended the cast consisted of Kaylie Ann Warfield, Elyse Cook, Sarah Reynolds, Miguel Vargas, Victor Mazzone, and Jeffrey Stackhouse. The program consisted of five fable, The Lion and the Wood Nymph, The Queen and The Dragon, The Fisher and The Wishes, The inventor and The Riddle, and the crowd-pleasing The Frogs and The Crane. All the voices were good and the stories gave the singers a chance to tear up the scenery so to speak (nothing like playing a myth). One of the most intriguing was Queen and The Dragon based on Aesop's The Dog and His Shadow. The story involved two men who were in love and who had to hide their relationship from everyone.

The second show I saw was a wonderful production of A Man of No Importance with a book by Terrence McNally m Music by Stephen Flaherty, and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Janet Miller was the director. This was the first fully staged production of this “wee Irish musical”. The 15- member cast delivered this powerful story that had won the New York Outer Circle Award for Best Musical when it debuted. The musical told the tale of Alfie Bryne, a modest Irish everyman, weighed down by the “love that dare not speak its name”. He produced plays, mainly those by Oscar Wilde, but the truth comes out when he tries to stage Salome. The show was brilliantly done. The next stop on my whirlwind schedule was a rock musical parody of the Exorcist called Exorcistic The Rock Musical Parody Experiment. This was quite a funny takeoff with an amazing an energetic performance by Laura Sperrazza as Megan. The great thing about the show was the fact that the cast could really sing rock. The show was produced by the Orgasmico Theatre Company under the direction of veteran director Pat Towne. Others in the cast were Bryce Blue, Curtis Bonnem, Leigh Wolff, Jimmy Swan, Sarah Chaney, Michael Shaw Fisher, and Jesse Merlin. It was more fun that the serious Exorcist musical put on at the Geffen earlier. Last stop on this entertaining tour of the best that LA Theatre can offer was a new show by the Four Clowns, Me Ric You Learn. I am a real fan of this group and have followed their development with interest and laughter. This year's production was a departure of the group using only two actors and an interactive lecture/play where the audience was part of the action thanks to one actor's insatiable search for a date. The plot was loosely based on the idea of a speech, given for our benefit, by a former millionaire and convicted tax-evader T R Hammer. Hammer is trying to give an IRS- mandated community service show which totally messes up despite the best efforts of Senior IRS Agent Martin Almond. Hamer rewrites the show, sad-eat a pile of marshmallows, crawls into a bag, and falls in love a bunch of times while threatening suicide. Poor mild mannered Almond is left to cope (hilariously) with this free-spirited agitator. Together the two actors, Adam Carpenter and Zach Steel (both of whom wrote the piece) create a wonderful zany evening. Turner Munch was the director.