Monday, August 24, 2009

Indy Fringe Festival Reviews

As Posted on Smaller Indiana:

Indy Fringe Day 1

The Cask of Amontillado

Wine…..revenge…..intrigue…..opera…..costumes….Edgar Allen Poe…..what more could a girl want in a Fringe Festival show?? The Cask of Amontillado promised to be a fun diversion for the Man and me on a Saturday afternoon.

It’s interesting to me that operas are one of my favorite things….although they are typically somewhat tragic. The Man and I have the discussion often about tragic music (which he likes) and happy music (which is my preference). I once asked him to sing a happy song for me at Karaoke to which he sang Nirvana. Gotta love a witty man!!

This was The Man’s first opera and our first Indy Fringe show. I was both a little nervous and a little excited to try something this much out of the box.

The opera started with a couple of fun arias written (I suspect) to use more time and to allow stragglers to wander in without disrupting the show. The cast was talented and the opera followed Poe’s story almost to a “T” (I looked it up when I got home). The singers were engaging and believable as their characters.

Wine….wine…wine……a gentleman knows his wine….

The story is about a man, Montressor (don’t you just love that name….it sounds just like a villain of an 80’s hero cartoon) who was slighted by the proud, popular wine loving Fortunado and plots to avenge himself while acting as Fortunado’s friend. Montressor plots to lure Fortunado to his wine cellar with a promise of a rare find….a fine, fine sherry….Amontillado.

Montressor being the sly dog that he is, uses Fortunado’s pride in distinguishing wine and competitive spirit to get him to leave his friends during Carnival to come to his home. He hinted that he knew nothing about the wine, but had foolishly paid full price and mentioned that another friend had unsuccessfully tried to determine the wine. Whenever he spoke of whether the wine was authentic, Montressor would sing, “…doubts.” Fortunado, of course, jumped at the chance to taste the unusual wine.

Down in the cellar, Montressor proceeds to trick Fortunado…chains him up in the corner…..and lays brick after brick…row after row… essence burying him alive.

While I would love to judge Fortunado harshly for changing his plans simply to taste a wine……I can recall several moments in recent history where I was ready to leave a party and my good friend, W, would say….”but I was going to open an A. Rafanelli”…..and all caution was thrown to the wind. Like Fortunado, wine can be my downfall.

Being an opera lover, the performance was entertaining. As a matter of fact, I started thinking it is a wonder that more Edgar A. Poe’s writings don’t make it to operatic form…..the elements are all there…..but…..whether or not The Man truly enjoyed it, I can’t lie…..”I….have…my….doubts…..”

Nonetheless, it is a worthy show with talented artists! Check it out at


Indy Fringe, Day 2

The Man and I head down to Mass Ave to check out something a little different than Saturday’s Edgar Allen Poe Opera, The Cask of Amontillado. We decided that the end of the weekend and the quickly approaching Monday needed a good shot of laughter and Tortillo was just what the doctor ordered.

Scooby Doo meets the snack food industry…….meets Batman and Robin…..including a quirky but hilarious “guest star appearance” of a psychedelic English rock star janitor.

I was expecting light fare….a comedy…..but the incredible wit in the script took me by surprise. See…..I’m not usually much of a comedy girl…..seriously. Put me in front of a popular comedy, Madea Goes to Jail, Police Academy, whatever, and I squirm like a redeck in an Opera House. It just doesn’t jive with me…’s not my style. It’s not that I don’t like to laugh……it’s just that I usually don’t in this type of entertainment. That said…..I laughed…and laughed….and laughed. I peeked over my shoulder at The Man and he was absolutely cracking up!

Maybe it was the similarity to my beloved Scooby Doo Mysteries (with a little adult humor….well…a LOT of adult humor)…the snacks….the goofs…..the over the top villans….the surprise “pulling off the hat” endings…..the guest star. Whatever it was…it added together to make a delightfully witty feature.

The guest star was my favorite! The Man and I spent most of the time admiring his shirt…and watching his sideline antics.

All in all, I would recommend Tortillo….it’s a great laugh….and, in my opinion, a great Fringe show to bring a date.

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