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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fringe 2015 mini-reviews: "The Lion Queen," "Tell Me on a Sunday," and more.

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 4:44 PM

click to enlarge Sarah Lee Dobbs in "Tell Me on a Sunday" at the 2015 Orlando Fringe - PHOTO VIA JERIKO PRODUCTIONS
  • Photo via Jeriko Productions
  • Sarah Lee Dobbs in "Tell Me on a Sunday" at the 2015 Orlando Fringe
As of this writing, I've seen 50 Fringe shows and written full reviews of 30. I wish I could review everything I see, but I try to spend almost as much time writing a review as it takes to see the show, and with an average show length of one hour there simply isn't enough time in the week. (Besides, I'm only a freelancer; at least Matt Palm has health insurance and paid vacation to help him recover from Fringe.)

In deference to my burnt-out brain, here are mini-reviews of some of my favorite shows that Orlando Weekly was unable to cover in depth:

Dreamscape: Our Dreams Told Through Dance (Viva Dance Company)
Stephanie Lilley’s choreography organically evolves ideas and elegantly transitions between with enthralling aesthetic unity. Hands down the best modern dance show I’ve seen at Orlando Fringe in five years; shame they left after opening weekend and didn’t have time to develop the big audiences they deserved.

Fruit Flies Like a Banana (The Fourth Wall)
I spent four years in marching band struggling to walk a straight line without splitting my lip, so I have no clue how this trio can play their instruments so well while leaping around like lunatics. With 22 short pieces presented in random order, they exhibit amazing range, playing everything from delicate classical to goofy gag tunes with equal exuberance. First-rate for families and music lovers alike.

God Is a Scottish Drag Queen 3 (Mike Delamont)
Is there anything more sidesplitting than Mike Delamont’s drag deity schvitzing through a polyester power suit while slinging satirical arrows against dogmatic hypocrisy and Orlando humidity? Part 3 is more of the same, and at only an hour it’s never enough.

The Lion Queen and the Naked Go-Go Cub (Wanzie Presents & D Squared Productions)
Just as entertaining as I remembered it from a decade ago, with a handful of welcome tweaks. It still has stellar production values, an all-star cast, and sharply sloppy direction by Kenny Howard. The new legally permissible sound-alike score sounds great, and the new gratuitously nude guy can actually act, but thank god Doug Ba’aser still hasn’t memorized his lines – it wouldn’t be the same if he did.

Once I Laughed (Central Florida Community Arts)
In the most polished original musical I’ve seen so far, writer-director Donald Rupe has created a tuneful, touching (if a touch long) Andrew Sisters answer to Jersey Boys that I could see ending up in New York. Lauren Culver and Kayla Kelsey Morales are excellent as Patty and Maxene, but Sara Catherine Barnes’ sassy LaVerne brings down the house.

Tell Me on a Sunday (Jericko Productions)
Director Laurel Clark brilliantly transformed Andrew Lloyd Webber’s slight, static song-cycle into a fully staged mini-musical, and the endlessly talented Sarah Lee Dobbs is so appealing that you can’t help falling in love with her shallow, Bechdel test-failing character.

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