Imagine the results of a collaboration between Federico Fellini and Woody Allen? Let's say it was years ago, before Fellini died and Woody stopped making funny movies. Hilarious, right? And how bizarre would it be if there were any justice for the oppressed of this sorry world? Would we all die of shock if the good girl won for once?
If shockingly bizarre hilarity sounds appealing, look no further than the Fantasy Theatre Factory's Cinderella, Salmonella, Rubella, the heartwarming story of an innocent young woman beaten down by circumstance then redeemed through faith, magic, and some help from a giant dancing chair.
The FTF's take on the classic fairy tale brims with transvestism, sexuality, spiritualism, and ... uh ... juggling. This fractured adaption (by FTF artistic director Mimi Schultz) of Jude Parry's off-kilter treatment has been staged over the past seven years and has toured Florida five times. Saturday's show at the Colony Theater launches a 30-performance run that will spread Cinderella, Salmonella, Rubella across the Southeast -- presumably primarily to children.
Oh sure, actor Ed Allen likes to boast that he gets to wear a "lovely dress and a red bouffant." And everyone knows the plot involves tons of S-M, a kinky fairy godmother, and a late-night assignation. But the appeal to the lollipop set can't be completely perverted, thanks to the outrageous and colorful costumes, standup comedy, acrobatics, songs, the aforementioned juggling, and magic. It's a carnival of sorts, and kids can enjoy carnivals right up to the moment they learn that the real world is full of wicked adults.
The wild plot becomes super-frenetic thanks to Sharon Kremen starring as both Cindy and her ugly stepmom. Paul Lirette stands in (but never stands still) as sister Rubella and the charming prince, while Ed Allen brings depth to the characters of Salmonella and the fairy godmother. Mike Alfano provides rim shots and plays the Duke of Earl. (We can't explain what the Duke of Earl is doing at the ball, but we can give away one punchline: rubber chickens.)
One bizarre thing about this sick shtick is the audience appeal. Allen swears that during outdoor festival performances, crowds swell not because children are drawn to the onstage antics but because adults are. "We like to say it plays eight to eighty," he notes with a wink. As the fairy godmother, Allen breaks down theater's fourth wall and interacts with the audience members. "I wouldn't call it raucous," he hedges, "but I get them to do things."
It may seem shocking, but there's nothing wrong with a little foot fetish in the realm of fantasy.
-- Greg Baker
Cinderella, Salmonella, Rubella plays at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, November 28, at the Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach. Tickets cost $5. An 11:00 a.m. show will be added in the event of a sellout. Call 305-284-8800.