Fringe 2018 review: 'A Solo From the Pit' combines music, comedy and candor

Experiencing a virtuoso trombonist fill the intimate Brown venue alone would be worth your Fringe bucks, but Elias Faingersh of Sweden’s Theater KEF’s adds lively storytelling and musical humor to his one-man show, A Solo From the Pit.

Connecting stories from his life to the operas he was playing at time, Faingersh plays us through a comedic crash course in finding operatic (and personal) meaning, as he recounts his decision to leave a coveted position at the Metropolitan Opera.

Faingersh’s musical style is unique. He taps, blows and sings into the brass, adroitly flipping it to use a microphone mounted on the back for operatic vocals and hitting foot pedals to loop sound effects. Who knew a trombone could mimic sex in so many ways? Such antics bring to life the ribald and human elements Faingersh saw audience members miss as they nodded off at the Met.

This show is a peek into a composer’s mind, where the tones of the downstairs neighbors' fight become a delightfully silly piece of music and the repeated din of Faingersh’s fears form an aural cyclone of angst. He makes peace with his fate, and the chaos subsides.

One-man shows can skew overwrought, but the tone here is refreshingly light. The “follow your dreams” message is deployed with charming practicality. Unfortunately, Faingersh’s final exhortation was the only audio in this show that I could not clearly hear.

Last-minute puzzlement aside, I left feeling lifted and thoroughly entertained. Judging from the beaming audience at the preview I attended, I was not the only one.

A Solo From the Pit (Second Trombone's Voice)
Teater KEF/Elias Faingersh, Malmo, Sweden
Brown Venue
60 minutes
7 and up
8:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 23
5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 24
3 p.m. Saturday, May 26
3 p.m. Sunday, May 27

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