Slaughterhouse Opera is more than you think
KC Fringe Festival
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! This is about a boy and a girl . . . and zombies. There is fun and silliness and sweetness, and it ends with hope.
Sam Wright has written and composed a very good piece. The music is outstanding. There is a variety of moods within the style and the songs tell the story quite well, with feeling and honesty.
Sam and Aurelie Roque have delightful chemistry together. Sam creates a character who is very appealing and open. He is able to communicate a range of emotions through his expressive face and strong singing. I know what he is feeling, and I care. Aurelie has a unique style, with an intriguing haughty attitude and hilarious use of skilled reactions. Their voices belt and ballad and blend with clarity.
I don't have a program to identify others involved with the production, but the ex-boyfriend and politician, in particular, do a fine job with their characters and songs.
The cowbell gun provides a couple of moments of hilarity. The cast handles equipment malfunctions well, turning the problem into yet another hilarious moment.
I particularly appreciate the skill of the sound design. Often I have trouble understanding words in a musical or opera, because the instruments drown out the voices for me. But this show was balanced perfectly, and I could understand all the words of every character except the scientist. These musicians realize that words are all-important; and when the equipment failed, they stayed at the working mic rather than carry out the planned blocking without a mic. Good choice.
Early in the show Sam sings an introductory song while Aurelie silently turns over signs. There comes a point when Sam holds a note and frantically communicates to Aurelie to speed up the signs. That sets the tone for the fun of the show.
There is also the kind of audience participation that I like. We are invited to join in at certain times as a group, but no one is singled out and the show continues even if we don't join in.
I missed a little of the story. I think the narrative could be tightened a bit to improve the show overall, and I need to be able to understand the scientist's part better.
But even with a few story details missing, I had a great time at this show. I enjoyed the humor and was pleased with the serious turn it took, ending with an uplifting song of hope.