Key of E, the apocalyptic "junk rock" musical by Orlando musician Andy Matchett (of the band The Minks) and actor/writer Corey Volence, promises to "have it all," and for once at the Fringe there's truth in advertising. Shadow puppets, rage monsters, imaginary girlfriends, kick-ass rock 'n' roll, and more are all packed into this passionate (if slightly unpolished) 60-minute production.
Ethan (Volence) is an misanthropic barfly who eagerly awaits a calamity to give Etchasketch Earth a good shake, until the end of the world actually arrives. A wrath-of-Al-Gore tsunami flushes Florida away, leaving Ethan stranded on a Walmart-waste-strewn desert island with a handful of fellow Losties. Matchett shows up as the smart-ass narrator who spoils the show's Fight Club twist early on: Ethan is actually alone, and his castaway companions are only figments of his fractured psyche. Ethan says he'd "rather be Mad Max than Walt Disney," but he's going to have to confront his anti-social addictions (personified by a towering bony-fingered puppet-creature, provided by the mad geniuses behind Dog Powered Robot) if he's going to leave this Waterworld wasteland behind.
If you've ever thought "what the world needs now is a nice solid plague," this sharp-tongued show is for you. Matchett's pop pastiches and power ballads are hummably hooky, though an inconsistent microphone mix (par for the course at Fringe) and sketchy ensemble harmonies make hash of some rapid-fire lyrics. Volence commands the room -- and blows its doors off -- with dynamic desperation and dynamite rock-god delivery. Apocalypse, according to Ethan, equals revelation amid death and destruction; Key of E reveals a potentially powerful new musical inside a slightly rough-hewn shell. If the world is going to end anyway, I just hope that when it does it rocks this hard.
Key of E
Dark Side of Saturn (Kissimmee, FL)
Rating: G14 (Adult Language)
Run Time: 60 minutes
Genre: Apocalyptic Rock Musical
Sat, May 18 2013, 3:00p.m. - 4:00p.m.
Sun, May 19 2013, 7:45p.m. - 8:45p.m.
Wed, May 22 2013, 8:00p.m. - 9:00p.m.
Sat, May 25 2013, 11:45a.m. - 12:45p.m.