The Hustle at San Diego International Fringe Festival
The Hustle. Lion Fludd, from Las Vegas, Nevada, may start out nervous in his one-man magic act. But he eases into his most impressive skill, his humor. His concept is street-style hustling magic, from card tricks to the old three-cup shell game — tricks, he says, he learned in his old neighborhood. He adds that he will try to hustle us all before the show is over.
All the store-bought magic paraphernalia are fine for a children’s party but come across as a bit hokey, and unimpressive, for the observant eye of an intimate audience. However, Fludd’s interjections of his personal backstory, between tricks designed to dazzle only an up close volunteer, are what set this magic show apart.
The hustler angle works well. Over the course of its run my wish is that Fludd will take the premise further: really hustle his volunteers and maybe take his biographic storyline as the hook of his game.
The Hustle is appropriate for all ages.
The True Historie of Prince Prospero. A variation on the life of Shakespeare’s character in The Tempest. What unfolds in Bad Quarto’s production is a story in verse (sometimes Shakespearean, other times modern) about Prospero and his middle-aged love affair with his resurrected wife, Ariel (actually the witch Sycorax), his tumultuous relationship with her son, Caliban, and his growing desire to protect their daughter, Miranda. We are told in song at the start that the story will take place before the prologue. So what starts off seeming like a condensed telling of The Tempest soon becomes a family drama of aging, adolescent hormones, and the evolution and identity and relationships from the play.
Sound and volume issues arise from the disruptive storm surrounding and otherwise intelligent and well-staged one-act. The actors playing Caliban and Sycorax are particularly compelling. A must-see for Shakespeare lovers.
The Golden Age of Burlesque. The Drop Dead Dames revue is a tantalizing showcase of young performers who are not only titillating but also are talented, poised professionals. Priding themselves on being the first — and for a time only — old-fashioned burlesque troupe in San Diego, the group displays impressive dance and strip routines.
A charismatic member of the group riffs and flirts with the audience during scene changes (and the gathering of discarded garments); she leaves the audience feeling as though they didn’t just get an appetizer, they got the ten-course meal! This talented troupe is a high-energy, flirtatious force to be reckoned with.