How can a Broadway musical — theatre at its most commercial — be a fringe show?
Easy. This particular Broadway show by Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell comes fringe-perfect: four actors, four chairs and one onstage accompanist. It’s also a sublimely witty deconstruction of the Broadway musical, as wannabe musical impresarios Jeff (Nelson Bettencourt) and Hunter (Joshua Balzer) attempt to rip their way out of their reality show/dead-end-job torpor and put on a show about… putting on a show. In the workshopping process, they get an assist from actress-buddies Susan (Felicia Perron) and Heidi (Tatiana Carnevale, also the musical’s director) who happily sign on to playing themselves — as long as they get to play themselves.
What makes it fringe-y is that it is steeped in the hardcore musical theatre cult, with one song in particular utilizing the titles of a dozen or so failed Broadway musicals impressively incorporated into the lyrics. The cast and the oft-neglected piano accompanist (Paul DeGurse, doubling as musical director) invest a whole lot of energy and skill in this production, and the 90 minutes fly Glee-fully by.
It may be a musical, but it ain’t Rainbow Stage (Heidi helpfully keeps score of the number of F-bombs dropped), so be cautioned about taking younger kids.
— Randall King
From the official Fringe Festival guide:
What is [title of show] about? It’s about 90 minutes...
Actually, [title of show] is a musical about two nobodies named Hunter and Jeff who decide to write a musical about writing a musical!
New York Daily News says, it’s "terrific, a kick-ass time!"
We’re proud to bring you the Winnipeg premiere of this "bottomless reservoir of fun!" (Amazon.com)
Warnings: Subject Matter, Language.
RECOMMENDED: General Audience
Canwest Performing Arts Centre (Venue 9), to Saturday
Discount Tickets: $8 for Matinees, Students, Seniors, Anyone Wearing a Musical Theatre T-Shirt
Under 13 not admitted.