On Saturday, November 13, 2010, I drove to the Irvington neighborhood on the east side of Indianapolis to see the first “Q-mmunity” production from Q Artistry, so named because it provides an opportunity for Q fans that don’t normally get to be on stage to be part of a show. It also provides an opportunity for a lot of youngsters to have perhaps their first theatre experience.
The press release that I received from Maria Meschi a while back said that the Q folks hope this will be an annual event “where families from the Irvington community are invited to appear on stage with returning and new members of Q Artistry’s company…This is a great opportunity for us to become more involved with the Irvington community. This neighborhood has embraced us and we’re continually looking for ways to give back.”
What the Show Is About
The Q-mmunity show this year is “Perry Haughter and the Magical Musical.” It is, as you can probably tell from the title, a spoof on the Harry Potter books and movies. All of them. In under two hours.
It incorporates a lot of different popular songs that have the word “magic” in their titles, re-written by director/choreographer Ben Asaykwee and Mindy Winkler.
It is sort of like several pieces of family-friendly “fan fic” come to life, but it is also like watching a show about a show since there are several funny asides related to what is officially going on – lines that are something like “She can’t come help you (do something or other), she’s changing her costume” and “Hang on, I’m doing a special effect.”
It is one wacky show, let me tell you.
I couldn’t always hear everyone because only the leads wear microphones, and sometimes even when I could hear the other people’s voices, I couldn’t understand what they were saying. This is true of a lot of community theatre productions, though, and usually the situation improves during the course of a show’s run, as people relax and learn how to project and enunciate while still maintaining the pace of the show.
Or it doesn’t, and you just enjoy the show for what it is. I happen to enjoy seeing people having a good time on stage and doing their best as part of a team trying to tell a story. The “Perry Haughter” company is fun to watch simply because they are having so much fun giving of themselves to their audience. Their pleasure and good will is contagious.
The three leads – Ryan Powell as Perry Haughter, Abigail Wright as Germione Stranger, and Matt Campbell as Don Geasley – ground the cast well. Even with more than 25 people in the cast (too many to name here), almost everyone plays more than one role. That is fun to watch, too. Ben Asaykwee is a hoot as both Moldawart and the Choosing Cap.
And the little Home Elves! Oh, they are so cute! So irresistibly adorable as they go about their disco-y work.
This is definitely not a high tech production, but that makes the special effects all the more surprising and delightful. Don’t worry: I won’t spoil them by describing them.
Audience and Appeal Factors
This is a family-friendly show for both people who love the whole Harry Potter phenomenon and for people that are ready to make fun of it a bit.
It is also a show for people that love shows with lots of little kids in them: shows such as “Annie” or “Seussical the Musical” or “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
Don’t go to this thinking that it is going to be another “Cabaret Poe” but do go if you are in the mood for something zany and light and endearingly unpolished.
I love that Nuvo reviewer Josefa Beyer called this “a Rocky Horror Picture Show for families.” Here is a link to her full review:
This show was going to run for only two weekends but every performance sold out (or came very close) so everyone involved has agreed to offer one more performance on Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 2pm at the Irvington Lodge. See the www.qartistry.org website for more info or go directly to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/132901 to buy your tickets.
Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to post this review in time (I thought) for people to read it before seeing “Perry Haughter,” I asked Q’s media contact, Maria Meschi, if there was anything she wanted me to share with you about future Q events. Her reply:
“I’d love for you to share our upcoming show, A Christmas Qarol Cabaret, playing on December 17 & 18. It will be a fun night of comedy and holiday music. I’d describe the show as one part A Christmas Carol and several parts cabaret. It stars Ben, and features past Q Artists like me, Renae Stone from To Have and To Hold and Cabaret Poe, Matt Campbell from USO: The Music of War and Perry Haughter, and many more. Tickets are available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/134922 (General Admission $14.00, Senior (55+) / Child (<12) $12.00).”
This sounds like a fun show, too!
‘See you at the theatres!
(Photo and video above by Ben Asaykwee. In the photo, left to right, are Matt Campbell, Abigail Wright, and Ryan Powell.)
P.S. – I fussed with the above video last night until 1:30am and couldn’t get it centered. And then my Internet connection conked out and I decided that was a sign from the Universe telling me to call it a day and get some sleep. If you go directly to YouTube, you can view the video correctly. Here is a direct link: