Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review of Kokandy Productions' Little Fish

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Little Fish. The book, music, and lyrics were by Michael John LaChiusa, based on stories by Deborah Eisenberg. It was directed by Allison Hendrix. The music direction was by Kory Danielson and the choreography was by Kasey Alfonso. It was about a woman named Charlotte (Nicole Laurenzi) who was getting over her smoking addiction. The show follows her path to recovery. It is about friendship, running away, and finding yourself. I think this is a really moving show. It had good music and a great cast.

Charlotte has a lot of meaningful relationships in this show; some are friendships and some are romantic. The overall most important relationship is the one that she has with herself. Her closest friendship that she had was with Kathy (Aja Wiltshire). I really liked the song that Kathy sang, "Remember Me" about how she wanted Charlotte to remember her. It was really sad because she had just been to the doctor and she had a lump and she was worried about what it could be. I think the reason it was so sad was because she was worried that no one would remember her except for Charlotte. It is kind of bittersweet because she knows that her best friend will remember her, even though she isn't famous and hasn't made a huge mark on the world, like the carvings she saw in Peru. There is another character named Cinder (Teressa LaGamba) who is a drug addict and also the first friend that Charlotte has in New York. They are not really friends because they want to be friends; they are friends because they live together. "It's a Sign" shows us that Cinder sees the world as something that can be predicted according to her own ideas. She never assesses the situation before she flips out. That means she probably won't keep a friendship for very long, and you see that in "Poor Charlotte," which is basically Cinder saying how much Charlotte has wronged her because she stepped on her towel. It shows that their friendship wasn't really meant to be; maybe the sign was that if you walk in on your roommate snorting cocaine the first time you meet, it probably isn't going to work out. "It's a Sign" was sung so amazingly; it was mesmerizing and slightly terrifying because you are so scared for Charlotte and her life in this house. Charlotte also had a male best friend whose name was Marco (Adam Fane) who sang a song called "Little Fish" (roll credits) that was basically about giving her and himself some comforting words, which are about how little fish should stick together and keep moving. If you have a bunch of tiny fish and you are all sticking together, you might eventually be okay in the end. This song is kind of lullaby-ish because it is supposed to be a comfort song; everyone is looking out for each other and that is beautiful. It doesn't mean that everything is ok, but there is a possibility that everything could be. It is like an adult "Mockingbird" lullaby with actual problems, not just breaking a looking glass or if a mockingbird won't sing.

She also had three very different relationships: one made her feel scared, one made her feel good but guilty, and one made her feel worthless. Her last "romance" that we see is with her boss, Mr. Bunder (Carl Herzog), who she wasn't really interested in, but he was definitely pretty interested in her. He took her out to celebrate the anniversary of his ex-wife's death, which I think is a really morbid thing to do, even if she wasn't a very good wife. The song was very Frank-Sinatra-inspired. But whenever I think of Frank Sinatra now, I think of Panic! At the Disco, so it was a very nice Death-of-a-Bachelor tribute. I think it was a really good song and had some very nice light cymbals. I really loved that there was a live band (Danielson, Charlotte Rivard-Hoster, Mike Matlock, Kyle McCullough, Jake Saleh, and Scott Simon); it really immerses you in the show and it makes you notice things you might not notice if you couldn't see the musicians. Mr. Bunder said some pretty disturbing things, but the song was very catchy, like a lot of popular songs. It scares her because she is not sure how to turn her boss down because he is her boss. John Paul (Darren Patin when I saw it, usually Curtis Bannister) was Kathy's boyfriend that Charlotte was sort of going out with, which is not the best thing to do to your best friend in my opinion. She likes John Paul because all the ladies want him and he likes her. John Paul was a player, so whenever Charlotte would step away for a minute, he would immediately start dancing with another woman. I thought the dancing was really good; it was very sensual, which is why Charlotte got so uncomfortable being out with her friend's boyfriend. Robert (Jeff Meyer) was the boyfriend she was with before she came to New York who made her leave where she was. He was not very good to her, especially when it came to her writing. Throughout the musical, whenever she was doubting herself, he would be the voice of that. He would tell her that she wasn't good enough--not just in her imagination but in their relationship. Just because they had a good time dancing doesn't mean he was good for her. So she has to find herself by herself.

She finds herself by herself with a little help from Anne Frank (Kyrie Courter). She has a dream about the historical figure, in the song "Flotsam," and Anne helps her see how some bits of this and some bits of that are good and that things that seem useless can actually be beautiful when you look at them all together. I think it is a very inspiring song because it is very true. And hearing Anne Frank tell you this might help it to be more meaningful. Charlotte had a very powerful song called "Simple Creature" at the end about how all she wanted was to get through life. She talks about how she knows what she wants now, how she can make decisions, and how she really wants lunch. I think that is definitely a good start for her, because now she knows what she wants other than a cigarette. I think that is a beautiful ending because it is not about her solving all her problems; it is about how even the smallest thing is a start. It connects to "Flotsam" because it doesn't seem important in "Simple Creature" that she wants to eat lunch, but it is a small thing that she's decided on her own that can join with other good decisions to help her be herself.

People who would like this show are people who like Anne Frank giving you advice, light cymbals, and lunch. I think that people should go see this show. It's a really powerful story with good actors and songs. I really liked it!

Photos: Michael Brosilow


IBFANE said...

Nice review. Ever keep track of all the shows you have seen?

Ada & Mom said...

Thanks! Most of the shows I've seen are reviewed on this blog. There are more than 500!