Performance perfectly in sync in Fringe's 'Irrelevant Acts'
By Stephanie Merry
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
When the pink-haired diva Galactica makes her entrance onstage in a tulle-lined, shimmering blue dress to the tune of "Mambo Italiano," a natural first impression might be that this is the classiest show at the Fringe Festival. Never mind that Galactica is a drag queen, played by Ganymeade Arts artistic director Jeffrey Johnson.
"Irrelevant Acts of Entertainment," playing at the Shop through Saturday, features a slate of lip-synced tunes and monologues complete with costume changes, backup "singers" and choreographed interludes.
Johnson's talent for lip-syncing cannot be understated, and it should be mentioned that there's a lot more to this ability than merely learning words. When Galactica hits Dolly Parton's high notes, her squinting eyes reflect the challenge, and the scatted breakdown of "Blackbird" by Rachelle Ferrell has the diva in a bent posture, shaking her clenched fists. The act looks so convincing, you may need to remind yourself this is all artifice.
And the more challenging the selection, the more Galactica excelled. The performance of Christine Baranski's rendition of the "Yma Dream" monologue was especially memorable with its classic tongue-twisters involving the fast-paced introductions of Ida Lupino, Abba Eban, Ava Gardner and Yma Sumac, among others.
In the end, "Irrelevant Acts of Entertainment" may not, in fact, be the classiest Fringe show; a costume change into the world's shortest choir robe would nix it from that list. But the well-chosen song list and the charming, talented star may make it the most enjoyable.