Doomsday Cabaret: It Was The Best of Times, It Was The End of Times
Michael Shaw Fisher's apocalyptic song revue, Doomsday Cabaret, is back for a second fleshed-out run after taking home this year's Best Musical Award at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Fisher's hour-long wonder-spectacle portrays a convention of doomsday scenario experts presenting their impending end of the world theories through music and lounge lizard antics. The show's energized cast injects catchy and weird, brain-penetrating lyrics into the brain as they tease and heckle each other on the last day of Earth. While simple and unassuming in character, Doomsday Cabaret is charmingly seedy, fun, kitschy and infused with local Angeleno underground sensibilities.
The cast of Doomsday Cabaret is quite large and capable, but by and large, Fisher is the heart and soul of the show as Mayan Calendar junkie Ed Suddick. Falling somewhere between Blue Velvet and your endearingly weird uncle that let you sneak sips of beer, Fisher's energy and enthusiasm work like an audience contagion, drawing viewers into his finessed humor and dark reveling. Nic Nassuet is enticingly quirky as Ed's sidekick and I Ching expert, Jerry Cox. As arsonist Kurt Billie, David Haverty is a winsome musical performer with a strong, mellifluous, room-filling voice. Finally, Joe Fria (as TV evangelist Nathan Dugan) and Liza Baron (as Lady Vavoom) render their roles with lots of charisma and theatrical precision.
Chris Raymond's direction of Doomsday Cabaret is perhaps limited a bit by the theatre's physical space and a sparse plot, but overall the production is simple, casual, and fun. We love the kinda sleazy underbelly glam aesthetics that Raymond and set designer DeAnne Millais bring to this rock musical. Overall, at the end of the day, er, um, end of the world, you can't really go wrong with live music, catchy tunes, and quirky satire, all of which and Doomsday Cabaret plays up to the hilt. Doomsday Cabaret is playing at the Blank Theatre/Second Stage through the end of the Mayan Calendar, December December 21. Tickets are $20 and available online, at the door, or via phone at 415-994-4760.