At Fringe Festival, 'Finn McCool' makes a classic tale rock
By Stephanie Merry
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
What better way to kick off a rock-and-roll production about a hero of Celtic legend than with a rollicking version of "Danny Boy"? So began "Finn McCool," courtesy of Fringe favorite Dizzy Miss Lizzie's Roadside Revue, and playing at the Baldacchino through Sunday.
For those unacquainted with DMLRR, the group's theatrical tradition involves making musicals out of classic tales. After success with "The Oresteia" and the stories of various saints, the group has returned with the myth of a man who saved the world from his own homicidal father and a malicious fairy.
The production was all over the map in terms of style and subject matter. One moment Finn, played with a childlike charm by Helen Hayes Award nominee Matthew Schleigh, was belting out a heavy ballad from his "blue period," and the next, Finn's druid mother was chanting the lyrics of "I Am the Walrus." But the eclectic approach seemed to work: Of the two big highlights, one demonstrated emotion and the other silliness.
Felicia Curry, who played Finn's mother (among many other roles), captivated the audience during her unexpectedly emotional song about giving up her life so that her son could live. Meanwhile, Jordan Klein as a gibberish-spewing psychic with a collection of talking cans had the crowd chuckling.
Although unrelated to the production, it should be mentioned that the Baldacchino is one overheated venue. The probability of a fainting spell seemed high in the sold-out tent on Saturday afternoon. So if you head there for a daytime performance, wear loose clothing, bring water and plan for a two-shower day.