This is what the Fringe is all about! Give Brian Sutow and Joshua Morgan (of No Rules Theatre Company) some credit. They are adorable and nuts and they are just having a blast performing their show Assembly Required: How to Write, Produce, and Stage a Musical – The Musical. They have so much energy that sometimes you wonder what “they’re on”.
OK, it’s a little bit of a rip-off of [title of show] and The Musicals of Musicals – The Musical, with a “Penie’s Dream Ballet” thrown in, and them teaching us about all the elements of writing a musical. It’s fun and silly, and if their goal is to be ignorant, idiotic, moronic, and to make asses of themselves – then BINGO! – give these guys a blue ribbon and a week in a mental ward.
And even though their musical called Penie the Prison Poodle is totally off-the-wall and “ruff” around the edges, and the songs profane like “Crotch of Love”, they deliver it with such confidence and joy that it’s hard not to like it and them. There were some genuinely funny moments: a theatre “dresser’s” nightmare, which made the audience roar, and watching Brian and Joshua’s faces while listening to an overlong overture. I could have done without the “wiggly” stuff at the end (Sorry, I am not giving that one away!)
I am totally grateful that Brian and Joshua didn’t pull me up on the stage to join in one of their weird scenes. The night I saw the show a brave audience member, Mickey Cafarelli, joined them in an audition and did a great job. I would have hired him right on the spot. Darin Ellis and Aaron Bliden – who were “planted” in the audience – joined in the lunacy, with Darin forced to sing a really bad song in his beautiful tenor voice from Penie the Prison Poodle, and Aaron in crutches trying to tap along with Josh (who is a really good tapper).
I’ve seen so many of these types of shows in The Fringe but none of them had the charm and energy displayed by these two funny and crazy guys. I swear that three people after the show told me that they found Brian and Joshua’s class on how to write a musical very helpful and interesting and educational. Is that crazy or what?
Assembly Required: How to Write, Produce and Stage a Musical – the Musical!
Written and performed and directed by Brian Sutow and Joshua Morgan
Reviewed by Joel Markowitz
Running time: 60 minutes
Read all the reviews and check out the full Capital Fringe schedule here.
Did you see the show? What did you think?