Adam reviews 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' 

click to enlarge Hector Manuel in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" at Lyric Theatre. - PHOTO BY ASHLEIGH DESKINS
  • Hector Manuel in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" at Lyric Theatre.
My night covering the Fringe involved heading over to the Lyric Theatre’s Cabaret Hall for a sold-out performance of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” from OFC Creations.

The rock musical splits the difference between a cabaret-style musical and stand-up comedy routine, as performed by genderbending East German singer, Hedwig, and the show’s a smart choice for the Fringe. It doesn’t require much in the way of production value; in keeping with the bargain-basement aesthetic of Hedwig’s tour, the more low-rent the better.

But really, any staging of this show is only as good as its Hedwig, and this production has a great one in Hector Manuel, playing the rock diva with a sly smirk and a leggy strut. The young actor seems to be having a blast playing the larger-than-life character.

Director Eric Vaughn Johnson makes good use of the Cabaret Hall’s limited performance space and tinkers lightly with John Cameron Mitchell’s book, liberally sprinkling in local references — from Cellino and Barnes to Nick Tahoe’s and Eastman School of Music.

Throughout the show Hedwig holds court, regaling the audience with her exploits: detailing her botched sex change operation as well as her antagonistic relationship with her former lover, rock superstar Tommy Gnosis — who just so happens to be performing at an adjoining venue.

Manuel has an excellent partner in co-star Sable Stewart, playing Hedwig’s husband Yitzhak, who’s bristling in his role as Hedwig’s backup performer in life and on stage.

And you can’t go wrong with Stephen Trask’s rocking soundtrack, which boasts one banger after another. Manuel and Stewart sing the hell out of the show’s fantastic songs, backed by the production’s four-person band and wringing every bit of emotion out of this lively, raucous, and frequently hilarious ode to the misfits, losers, and strange rock ‘n rollers.

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” will be performed again on Sunday, September 16, 7 p.m.; Thursday, September 20, 7 p.m.; and Friday, September 21, 7 p.m. at Lyric Theatre: Cabaret Hall. $10-$13. Appropriate for ages 13 and older.

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