In 1845, Edgar Allan Poe wrote a short story called "Hop-Frog" about a crippled dwarf court jester tormented by a bullying king. After the king pushes things a little too far, the dwarf has his violent revenge on the king and his court. If you read the piece without having seen John Devennie act it out onstage, it may not strike you as a piece with much theatrical potential. It's a typical Poe tale, full of angst and vivid language and dark turns. With nothing but his body, voice and expression, Devennie transforms the story into a visually mesmerizing and engaging performance.
During this one-man show, he acts as both the narrator and the characters. He contorts his body to play Hop Frog the dwarf, thrusts out his chest and deepens his voice to play the roaring king, and sticks to the calm, even midtones when acting as narrator. His pacing is on point, and Devennie's delivery keeps the audience on the edge of their seats as he unravels the tale – the tension in the room is so high toward the end that it's a little startling when he's finally done with the show.
It's perhaps the quickest 30 minutes of action-packed theater you'll get out of a Fringe one-man-show, and you might even feel a little bit disappointed (in a good way) when it's over. It's certainly worth your $6 and half an hour.
John Devennie – Orlando
Length: 30 minutes
Rating: 7 and up