Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fringe Festival: "Shakespeare Apocalypse: A New Musical"

Day: 5

Show: 19

Category: Musical theater

By: Devious Mechanics

Written by: Keith Hovis

Location: Theatre in the Round

Summary: A young actor very publicly proclaims his dislike of Shakespeare, summoning the Bard back from the dead along with Jane Austen and Ernest Hemingway to bring about the end of the world.

Highlights: Devious Mechanics has come back with another perfectly Fringey musical, following last year's super-fun Teenage Misery. It's a similar formula, so if you loved Teenage Misery, you'll love Shakespeare Apocalypse. If not, well there's probably not much here for you. But for me, any musical that includes the line "Something has changed within me" and the number 525,600 is right up my ally! Once again, writer Keith Hovis does not shy away from borrowing lines and themes from beloved musicals; the opening number is straight out of Little Shop of Horrors, and characters are tasked with finding an odd list of items a la Into the Woods. Plenty of pop culture references, from Jurassic Park to Breaking Bad, also pepper the somewhat convoluted story. In the middle of a performance of Hamlet at the Guthrie, Peter goes on a rant about Shakespeare that goes viral, causing Shakespeare and friends to come back to terrorize the world, or something like that. The details don't matter, it's enough that the show is chock full of humor, great songs, and an energetic and talented young cast. Philip C. Matthews brings his usual passion and charisma to the role of Peter, Jill Iverson shows off her star power and gorgeous musical theater belt as Peter's friend, and Peyton McCandless is charming as a young blogger. Shakespeare Apocalypse is Fringe musical theater at its best.