‘COMIC-CON THE MUSICAL’ AT THE HOLLYWOOD FRINGE
REVIEW: COMIC-CON THE MUSICAL
BY RYAN M. LUEVANO
Writing a new musical is a long journey and most musicals rarely make it to a staged production, at this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival the musical Comic-Con the Musical made it. Creators Laura Watkins and Nicholas David Brandt have brought L.A. audiences a close to first full version of their show in its first ever staged production. With a running time of two hours this production is as full-length as one can get at the Fringe Festival where most performances have an average running time of approximately 80 minutes. Whether you been to Con or not this musical will take you there as it follows a trio of con-goers on their path to friendship, acceptance and saving the world.
What immediately stands out about this musical is the thirteen-person cast that offers exciting performances of Watkins original songs and larger-than-life personifications of Brandt’s characters. The musical is narrated by a character known as the Dungeon Master (Luke Adams), he’s exceptional—his distinctive stage presence and strong deep voice make for a narrator that audiences are eager to listen to throughout. Allen Grey’s assistant Ivy (Jessica Gardner) is also spectacular, she’s able to take this simple character then transform her into a funny, nerdy yet vulnerable woman; her performance of “Princess Tea” is charming and fun.
The three main characters Anna (Christina Lea), Jason (Davis MacLeod Haines) and Drew (Michael D’Elia) are impeccably cast, their chemistry on stage is synergistic and dynamic. Additionally, anytime the three have a song or scene together it’s one of the most entertaining moments in the show, “Superhero Vampires in Space” and A Neard is a fine Thing to Be” are a joy. One of the most interesting characters in the show is the alien Flarg Princess (Meriah Rose Faith) who begins as a seemingly minor character whose role develops as the musical progresses. Faith’s performance of the song “Get on Your Knees” is one of the finest displays of vocal talent in the show, here the music fits her voice perfectly and she’s able to rock out.
There is no shortage of laughter and absurdity in Comic-Con the Musical. Watkins and Brandt have created a wildly inventive tale about a trip to comic-con colored with characters that are right out of a comic book, and costumes that are the best I’ve ever see at the Fringe Festival. What Comic-Con does so well is taking the audience through a real-life comic-con experiences using simulations, projections, the timeline of the musical and a live consume contest that includes the audience. Watkins score offers many marvelous songs such as the “Comic-Con”, “Original”, “Hashtag”, “It’s Meteoric” and “Get on Your Knees”.
However, even with so many inherently satisfying elements Comic-Co is still taking shape as there are certainly music and book elements that beg for revision to make the show more focused and condensed. In a musical every scene and song must wholly serve the story, and right now there’s simply too much happening, but after all, that’s the point of the Fringe Festival to take notice and make some changes post Fringe. There’s a bright future ahead for this show, and even now it’s still an evening of sheer entertainment.
WHAT ABOUT THE MUSIC DIRECTOR?
Composer, lyricist Laura Watkins also serves as the shows music director and has expertly prepared the cast in singing her original songs. During the show Watkins also plays the piano for her cast during the numbers that without the instrumental tracks.
READ MORE ABOUT COMIC-CON THE MUSICAL:
TICKETS AND MORE INFORMATION:
Preview performance: June 2nd 2017 at 7:30pm
Performances on: June 11th 2017 at 1:00pmand June 18th 2017 at 7:30pm
Sacred Fools Theater, Second Stage
6320 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038