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Theatre Review (LA): Doomsday Cabaret at the Hollywood Fringe Festival

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The end of the world is here — and it’s a riot — as the Orgasmico Theatre Company presents the world premiere of its new rock musical, Doomsday Cabaret, at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

The date is December 12, 2012, and an eclectic group of doomsday fanatics are brought together by unctuous charlatan Eddy Suddick (Michael Shaw Fisher) and his assistant, Jerry Cox (Chairman Barnes), to await Armageddon.

The attendees themselves represent all factions of extreme society, including Nathan and Lorraine, a rapture-loving Christian conservative couple (J. Todd Howell and Sarah Chaney), Deedra, an ecologically-obsessed “bee girl” (Sarah Kay) and Gale (Jake Regal), a technology geek. Also along for the world’s grand finale is the mysterious, prophecy-reading Messenger (Mark Bemesderfer), Kurt, a fatalistic pyromaniac (David Haverty) and the hypersexual Lady Vavoom (Lauren Andrea Nelson), who wants to end it with a bang.

Their obsessions may be different, but they have one thing in common — their outsider status. And, of course, they all have varying theories about why the end has arrived, and these theories are presented in song.

Writer/composer Fisher’s musical numbers are clever, and he’s got a light touch that prevents them from becoming overdone or preachy. Highlights include the pyromaniac’s power ballad, “If You Love Me Light Your Car on Fire” and the oddly affecting “What Kind of World Makes You Feel Like An Asshole?,” in which the characters decry society’s rejection of them. And as they come around to accepting each other, so too does the audience.

Under the direction of Chris Raymond, the strong-voiced cast is more than up to the task, backed by a solid live band. Occasionally, due to the size of the venue, the instrumentals make the lyrics difficult to hear, but not enough to spoil the performance. It’s a brisk and amusing show.

Doomsday Cabaret plays Thursdays through Sundays during the Hollywood Fringe Festival at the Lounge Theatre 1, 6201 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood. Check showtimes and make reservations online or call (323) 455-4585.

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About Kurt Gardner

Writer, critic and marketing expert whose passion for odd culture knows no bounds.