Thursday, July 26, 2007


So much more than any of the other shows currently running at the "East to Edinburgh" festival, La Femme Est Morte captures what it means to be a fringe show. A lighter adaptation of the classic Greek myth of Phaedra, La Femme Est Morte balances between the bloody conclusion of Sarah Kane's Phaedra's Love and the rock band nature of Chuck Mee's First Love by gyrating through the seven levels of pop circle hell. Assembler and director Shoshona Currier has the chorus sing "Date Rape" one moment, and has Theseus quoting Patton the next; Phaedra seduces her stepson, Hippolytus, to the chorus's rendition of "My Hump," and not to be outdone, there's ample samples of the Spice Girls ("2 Become 1"), too. It's like an avant garde take on Moulin Rouge: for all the derivations, the energy and creativity manage to sell the show. The show stands out, however, because of the exceptional choreography from Isis Masoud and Marc Santa Maria (bodies crucified and spun in mid-air), and from the multifaceted performance of Joey Williamson, who plays the effeminate leader of the paparazzi chorus with such exuberance that the story itself makes perfect sense. Great fun!

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