Bright as a pack of Skittles, loopy as a Looney Tunes cartoon, and jam-packed with sibling rivalry, metaphysical angst and a tragically misunderstood, fire-breathing, homicidal purple platypus. With some clever retro animation, we follow the video hero Claudio as he morphs into a man (Stephen Gregory Smith) and continues to leap over enemies and open trenches, stomp on man-eating plants, send his evil nemesis hurtling into a river of lava, and save Princess Tangerine (Gia Mora). While lauded by the King Eggplant (Harry A. Winter) and his eggplant entourage — a fine, fine bunch of Munchkins — for retrieving the princess, Claudio is in a Groundhog Day funk, sensing an unsettling pattern to his existence and ruminating about free will.
Claudio’s brother and second banana, Luis (Sam Ludwig) as Player Number 2, longs to hang up his magic backpack, hand over the reins to their dragon companion, and stand in the hero’s limelight, yet he’s conflicted about his ambivalent feelings towards his brother. His Tommy Smothers moment is short-lived when coffee-grinder kick ass Player #3 wannabe (feisty Princess Fish played by Lauren Williams) bursts into the game with a Latin flair and some extra facial hair. The Bros. are no match for Ms. Williams’ spunk and determination to break out of her boring Princess #2 routine.
Other characters have hidden depths as well. The warmongering, Princess-nabbing platypus Bruiser (scene-stealer Matthew Anderson channeling Meatloaf) searches for personal insight in probing sessions with Freudian analyst Elgathor (Winter): I just want a coffee date, but every time I go to ask her out, I end up kidnapping Princess Tangerine again.
Bruiser and Tangerine share two of the wackiest songs in the show, “Poor Poor Me” and “The Platypus Song,” and have the audience wondering where that relationship will go. He’s really all, um, …heart – and a platypus is a mammal, he’s adamant to point out.
And watch out for the rambunctious Boof (Chris Sizemore) — attention must be paid or even a mild-mannered eggplant might get broiling mad.
Fornarola and Pailet have a great Fringe show with a solid score, loads of wry humor and a remarkable cast. Some of the humor can be a bit PG13, but as with Looney Tunes, kids and adults take in a scene on completely different levels.
Super Claudio Bros., All New Video Game Musical
by Drew Fornarola and Marshall Pailet
directed by Marshall Pailet
music directed by Drew Fornarola
choreographed by Karissa Swanigan
produced by Charlie Fink
reviewed by Gary McMillan
Read all the reviews and check out the full Capital Fringe schedule here.
Did you see the show? What did you think?