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But enough about me

First-person journeys through the absurd, the tiny, the troubled and surreal

Photo: , License: N/A, Created: 2008:07:10 20:36:57

Captain Discovery: The Edible Musical

9 p.m. Thursday, 9 p.m. Friday, 9 p.m. Saturday

The Holy Land Experience

Orange Venue
9:05 p.m. Thursday, 9:20 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday

Superman Drinks

Orange Venue
8:10 p.m. Wednesday, 5:45 p.m. Friday

Thom Pain (Based on Nothing)

Yellow Venue
9:10 p.m. Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. Thursday

At only 14 minutes, it takes less time to see Captain Discovery: The Edible Musical than it took to write this review. That’s probably for the best, since to see this ultra-low-budget puppet micro-musical, you’ll need to shove into Shakes’ tiny storage closet with up to a dozen strangers – claustrophobes, you’ve been warned. But if you can survive the stifling atmosphere, you’ll find more goofy theatrical wonder packed into Jeff Ferree’s candy-coated creation than in any five full-length Fringe spectaculars.

A plot synopsis is semi-pointless, since the show has barely enough time to introduce its warped Captain Video-esque children’s show milieu and camp-cliché heroes before it’s time to go. But Captain Discovery isn’t about storyline; it’s about the experience of being inside a sprinkle-doughnut dungeon and having a giant papier-mâché monster lick you with its inflatable tongue while colored Christmas lights flicker overhead. Ferree and his co-puppeteer Sophia Wise imbue their finger-powered protagonists with charming personality, and even the technical mishaps are DIY-delightful. Not every song in Randy Kemp’s soundtrack is a winner, but the lovesick ballad sung by an anatomically correct eyeball (voiced by Chasmin Hallyburton) has “hit” written all over it.

For the finale, the puppeteers poke their heads out from behind their pint-sized stage and present the audience with their own edible robot puppets, while a peppy songs exhorts them to consume their new pals. Though others hesitated to eat the adorable offering, I decapitated my marshmallow droid, swallowing his skull as he tried to scream. Now that’s what I call Fringe.

Here’s a handy international travel tip for you from Martin Dockery: When crossing the Canadian border to embark on a three-month performing tour of the Canuck Fringe festival circuit, don’t lie on your immigration form and claim you’re a tourist, because you may find yourself being interrogated by a suspicious customs inspector, and when she starts sifting through the snapshots on your digital camera, you’re going to have a hard time explaining that the pictures of a bloody man being beaten to death are just souvenirs from your stay at an Orlando theme park. And really, who needs that kind of hassle? Unless of course you’re looking for material for a terrific one-man show, in which case, go right ahead.

The Holy Land Experience, masterful storyteller Martin Dockery’s latest manic monologue, follows our narrator from last year’s Orlando Fringe – during which he visited the savior-centric tourist trap and got an attractive job offer from a faux Christ – to the real Holy Land, where he took a surprisingly sensual Christmas Eve pilgrimage to Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity. Whether he’s describing a crowd of 200 Pepsi-sipping spectators watching Jesus get his ass whipped by centurions (don’t worry, he’ll be back to sing a bitchin’ song as soon as the crucifixion is over) or the absurd ease with which self-proclaimed Catholics can cross between Israeli and Palestinian territories, Dockery delves into the silly and surreal that surrounds our craving for spirituality.

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