Fate, Fury and Musical Theatre: A Kind of Cabaret
nytheatre.com review by Ryan Emmons
February 24, 2011
Two of my favorite things in the world are mythology and musical theatre, so you can imagine how excited I was when I saw the title of Fate, Fury and Musical Theatre: A Kind of Cabaret. Written and performed by Liz Wasser, this is a 60-minute cabaret with a huge heart.
The premise is about a particularly frustrating day that Wasser had at an audition in the Actors Equity Building that led her to drive out to the end of Long Island, where she meets the three Fates (or maybe the Furies). The mythology is a bit mixed up, but Wasser is honest about this and admits it’s not all that clear. The Furies offer to answer three questions of Wasser’s choosing—thus leading to song and self-discovery. It's a simple and conventional structure that allows for the flexibility the show needs to move from moment to moment. How else could Wasser fit in personal and honest accounts of being an outcast as well as a fabulous slide show inspired by Benedict Cumberbatch into an hour-long show?
Wasser is backed up by three young men (the Furies), all of whom seem talented enough to lead their own cabaret. Michael Hull, Kennedy Kanagawa, and Ryan LaMont are excellent singers and physical actors. Their in-unison speaking is the best I have heard on stage. It is rare to find a cast as uniformly strong as this one.
Amanda Thompson’s direction is also superb. There is a cleanness and clarity of intention that keeps the show moving and visually interesting. She uses simple movements and visually pleasing formations to create an aesthetic without any set or visual aids. Her choices are strong, vibrant, and dynamic. The only confusion comes from the show going in and out of its plot and mythological structure. My feeling is that the ending (which I won’t give away here) would be much more poignant if Wasser and Thompson stuck to the structure of the play and waited to break it until the end.
Overall the show comes across as a celebration of musical theatre and, even more so, of friendship. Wasser is on the right track: she’s not sitting in line at an audition she probably won’t be seen for…she is performing.