Sunday, August 30, 2009

Candide Americana

Photo: Edward Elefterion

[possible spoilers in this paragraph] What if Candide were a modern young refugee in the United States from Bosnia? What if he remained convinced that this is "the best of all possible worlds" despite living through a ferry accident, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina--and seeing his tutor hanged and believing the love of his life to be dead? What if seven people seemed like a cast of twenty? What if no one sang?

You'd have Candide Americana, the Rabbit Hole Ensemble's extremely enjoyable version of Candide at the Fringe Festival. Playwright Stanton Wood's updating of the story is apt and well-done; the minimal props and costumes provide a simple yet effective backdrop for funny and sad story-telling; the cast is protean, talented, energetic, and polished; and director Edward Elefterion keeps everything moving at a pace that parallels the breathlessness of Candide himself as he goes from disaster to disaster.

Two--and only two--complaints: (1) It needs some trimming (as has every Candide I've ever seen), and (2) I really missed "Make Our Garden Grow."

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