OPAL OPUS: JOURNEY TO ALAKAZOO from Tangled Leaves Theatre Collective - Photos by Jeff Burkle.

OPAL OPUS: JOURNEY TO ALAKAZOO from Tangled Leaves Theatre Collective as part of the 2011 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. You can read the show description here.

Near the beginning of this play within a play pop opea, The Writer hopes the musical she is creating is “43% halfway-decent.” In that regard, the imaginative OPAL OPUS is more than successful.

What seems to be lacking is a story thread for the “outside” play versus the “play within the play.” I couldn’t figure out the lead character’s motivation for writing such a personal story or the reason for the self-imposed time-limit. I say “personal story” because The Writer actually gets pulled into the play within the play.

Inside the play I found the reason for the children’s journey to be a bit muddled and the characterizations of the four leads to, at times, seem contradictory. Almost every member of the seven person ensemble has great individual moments in the show.

The “muses” of Opal and Opus are a fun concept, however, the relationship between them is unclear. Does Opal represent the story and Opus the music? Are they ying to the other’s yang? Forces of good and evil?

There are good vocal performances throughout. A few small issues with pitch, high notes and technique do appear from time to time.

Favorite moments include father John (Blake Bowden) and daughter Josephine (Callie Schuttera) separated by a persona of Opus (Ken Early). Aretta Baumgartner creates some emotionally moving scenes as mother Joline, especially near the end of the play. Annie Kalahurka stands out as Opal who is a chameleon ball of energy on stage.

The accompaniment is well done, performed on stage by Serenity Fisher (keyboard) and Jenifer Higgins Wheatley (cello.) For me, it is the lyrics that could be tweaked a bit to better define the characters and drive the story forward.

Overall a promising start. I believe some clarity in narrative and theme is needed to strengthen the work.

Two performances remain of OPAL OPUS: JOURNEY TO ALAKAZOO at Henke 2. BTW the entrance to Henke 2 is down the alley between the buildings.

  • Thu, June 9 at 9pm
  • Sat, June 11 at 4pm

Links to all reviews can be found on the BTC REVIEWS page. Blog postings, links to other media reviews and more are available on my FaceBook fan page or you can receive updates on Twitter from @BTCincyRob.


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Filed under Cincy Fringe Festival, Reviews

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