Fringe 2015 review: "Dumpster Cats"

Tod Kimbro in "Dumpster Cats" at the 2015 Orlando Fringe - Photo via LMT Productions/Lindsay Taylor
Photo via LMT Productions/Lindsay Taylor
Tod Kimbro in "Dumpster Cats" at the 2015 Orlando Fringe
It just doesn’t feel like the Fringe without a lavishly produced spoof musical in the Silver venue. Fortunately, director Joel Warren and writer Tod Kimbro (the mad geniuses behind 2013’s Piranha! The Musical!) have hacked up another frivolous furball in the form of Dumpster Cats. This loose lampooning of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s much-mocked meowsical features an all-star cast of Orlando comics, including an outrageous Anitra Pritchard-Bryant as the perpetually post-partum Mama Cats; Mark Baratelli, delivering a Judy-worthy showstopper as Feral Meryl; Mike Carr as the murderous Phantom Cat, his half-mask made from a melted surgery cone; and Brandon Roberts, who steals the show with an unexpectedly strong singing voice as an allergy-wracked Hairless Cat.

There are a couple of barely-there plotlines involving a wannabe cat lady (Lindsay Taylor) who is looking for a pet to adopt, and a cat Princess (Savannah Simerly, who also created the air-clawing choreography) in search of her kidnapped kittens, but the silly story is mostly an excuse to make pussy puns. Kimbro’s catchy compositions run the genre gamut from Kurt Weill to funky free-jazz to rap; a few will sound somewhat familiar to Tod’s longtime followers, but if he’s going to rip someone off it might as well be himself. I’d love to talk about how clever Kimbro’s lyrics are, but the hard-rocking band (Mark McDowell, Kristin Eley, and Michael Geniac) and a muddy mic mix made mush of most of the words at the performance I saw.

From the faux-fur costumes by Kimbro and Taylor to the expansive supporting cast, it’s obvious a ton of time and effort was invested to make this show appear effortlessly offhand. I had great time at Dumpster Cats, but as a big fan of Kimbro’s more mature works I wish there were a little more meat here to chew on. Just like its titular abandoned flea-bags, this one is entertaining and adorable, but ultimately disposable.

LMT Productions - Orlando, FL
Venue: Silver
Length: 60 minutes
Rating: 18 and up
Price: $10 


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