"The Ghost at the Feast," performed at MuCCC by The Sabotage and Gore Foundation, was a lively, absurdist take on the haunted banquet scene from "Macbeth." In the Fringe booklet blurb, the players promised that "Shakespeare purists will start a protest," but no such rioting occurred. Instead, the company earned giggles and guffaws for continuously spouting creative insults with out-of-place pop cultural references in thick, fake brogues that were periodically dropped.
The setting of the feast provided a play on the meaning and purpose for dungeons, and some very unfortunate eavesdropping terrifies the guests. "Ghost at the Feast" was an innuendo-riddled, gender-bending, clever play on the play's events.
"The Ghost at the Feast" will not be performed again during the 2015 Fringe.
The highlight of my night, however, was "Erik & the Wolf," a one-man multisensory retelling of a Swedish folktale from the 9th or 10th century. Didrik Soderstrom, of the Brooklyn-based Hnossa Project, took the stage at Writers & Books with little more than a mic, an amp, and a looper pedal, and spun what is a fairly simple tale into a magical, immersive yarn through spoken words, song, and vocal layering.
When I say transportive, I'm not kidding: Soderstrom gave us a sense of place for the strange love story with some beautifully layered, looping vocal notes, over which he sang in Swedish and then English. In a dense forest in Northern Sweden, when Christianity has clasped the land in its jaws and pagan traditions have dug in defiant claws, a humble woodcutter meets a skin-walker, or shapeshifter, in the forest.
This performance was expert artistry in storytelling. By whistling and softly breathing into the mic, he set the scene of an achingly pretty spring day filled with birdsong and slight gusts of wind. A blissful summer evening by the fire is constructed of different sounds, as are suspenseful encounters with wild beasts. All throughout, Soderstrom's resonant voice soars and lilts through the story and songs.
"Erik & the Wolf" was lovely and beyond impressive, and half of the magic was watching Soderstrom build the story from scratch. He mentioned at the end that The Hnossa Project will be doing video work soon, in which the source of the vocal effects will be hidden and "it'll all look like magic," but it already did. I hope he keeps performing live, without dropping all of that work behind the scenes. Oh, and I definitely recommend bringing kids, but adults will adore it just the same.
"Erik & the Wolf" will be performed again at Writers & Books on Friday, September 25, at 10 p.m. $7. All ages.
With more than 500 performances taking place Thursday, September 15, through Saturday, September 24, there's a lot to take in. We'll help you get started.
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