InFringe Theatre Festival 2019 started in full force last night. New Orleans' only full scale performance art festival, running November 7-10, has over 30 productions stretching across genres: musicals, comedy, drama, burlesque, solo performance, multimedia, dance theatre, immersive theatre, and more. There is so much to see and soo little time.
NOBO has recruited some local writers to hit the street and see as many shows as possible, early in the festival. Each show we see will get a short review and reaction so our audiences know what they should expect and what they shouldn't miss this year at the InFringe.
Everyday we will post reviews on different shows so check back! Also let us know what you are seeing. Head to our Facebook page and leave a comment with your own inFringe recommendation or hot take!
Love Songs for the End of the World (Caroline Fourmy, New Orleans)
Love Songs for the End of the World is an impressive force of acting and musical talent.
The music! Come for the music! Stay for the belly laughs and tears. Fourmy’s one woman show, which she also wrote and wrote original songs for, tells the story of Eve as she becomes bored with the monotony of perfection in the Garden of Eden. When she asks God if she can listen to another song rather than the repeated gorgeous music that is offered in Eden, God pushes back with a warning that she will hate him for the doubt and the suffering that will come from leaving perfection. But go she must and God obliges, promising to stay connected to her through music messages. Off Eve goes into the world and suffers she does with a montage of challenges, choices and keen and timely observations to face in the world.
Creative music narrates her new path. There is SO much to love and pull from this show but please attend if only to hear Caroline Fourmy’s skillful and effortless voice artfully being used to uphold a gorgeously hopeful and serpentine story of losing and finding oneself through a divine relationship with the great mystery of life. In addition, the clever use of music to move the play along is executed to marvelous affect—leaves you bopping your head along as the play weaves you through a complex HILARIOUS resiliency, strength and honest hope. The play is heart warming in unexpected places and got deep laughs from the opening night crowd.
You can expect: to cry and reflect, to laugh deep in your belly, to hear THE MOST AMAZING BEAUTIFUL SINGING VOICE EVER PLEASE DO NOT MISS THIS, amazing lighting design, creative use of music as a narrative force, pro acting chops
This one is a do not miss!
$10, performing at the Art Garage
Unbridled & Unbossed (No Lye Comedy, New Orleans)
Respectable. Responsible. Thick but fit. These are just some of the expectations put upon black women daily. In 'Unbridled & Unbossed', a cast of all black women performers shred these expectations as they shed their clothes and bare their souls through comedic monologues and burlesque.
No Lye Comedy’s Unbridled & Unbossed is a firestorm of comedy, burlesque and vulnerability. The combination of monologues based in the women’s immediate and very real life experiences followed by a literal strip down endear us to them.
The burlesque becomes participatory, and more than just tossing dollars on the stage (which you should do!) You are cheering them on not just for showing the unmentionables but because through their monologues you’ve feel like you know them each by the end of the show. The women of No Lye Comedy quite literally hold nothing back and do not fail to give a performance we feel lucky to have seen.
$10, performing at the Art Garage
LARRY (Candy Bones Theatre, Canada)
Larry is the tale of a beer guzzling Canadian dum dum guy who performs a show when the real performer is unable to make it. He figures, how hard can it be to put on an entertaining show?
Canadian clown artist Candice Roberts embodies Larry and it is clear that she has done decades of research knowing the ins and outs of men like this in her life because she nails it in a way that had me GUT laughing for the entire performance.
How did Larry do this? I am still so blown away, there was a moment half way through where I was like, I want to not like this as much as I do! Why did I think that? Cause Roberts as Larry is leaning SO heavily into hyper masculine stereotypes while Larry journeys to be a woke guy, that I want to not like this dad joke making, out of touch, over the top, clown. But that is just it. Roberts is a PRO clown, bringing so much to this character and making such a unlikeable, stereotypical person very lovable and very personal. JEEZ I really want to give away the surprises laced throughout the show but I can not because that is not how reviews work but I urge you to see this.
You can expect to laugh your ass off and love this character and be surprised. The set design and props made were a delight to watch be unveiled, the use of minimal things to change a seemingly simple set into a full on spectacle blew me away. Light design was amazing, set design was amazing! Check it out.
$10, The Allways Lounge and Cabaret
EAT ME by Jen Pagan, New Orleans
Eat Me is a delectable tribute to food and sex. Jen Pagan takes us through an intimate history of her experiences learning how to find pleasure in cooking and making love, all while whipping up an exquisite pasta puttanesca and strawberry chocolate cake, which the audience gets to share in a communal feast at the end of the show.
Integrating excerpts of video from well known films and lesser known corners of the food porn archive, Jen weaves mythology of creation and cultural representation into an amusing and heartfelt story, exploring her mistakes and joys in love and in the kitchen. Calling in characters from her family, including both her grandmothers and her father, as well as a litany of former partners, from her first boyfriend to her most recent ex, she achieves a rare balance of personal revelation and communal joy in the most essential human pleasures.
The line, “The smell from the kitchen affected everyone who came into the house” captures the audience’s experience of infectious sautéed garlic saturating the theater and setting us all at ease. Delicious in every sense.
$10, Southern Rep