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Disney Rejects Perform MisSpelled (Fringe Festival 2012)

by Linnea Covington on August 15, 2012

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Have you ever seen something so comically bad you are almost happy you saw it? In two hours, D’Jamin Bartlett’s MisSpelled channels the missteps and bloopers of an Ed Wood movie, mixed with a Disney vibe and theater camp feel. Sounds like a lot? With nine cast members, about twice that many characters, and 15 original songs by composer Mark Bornfield—it is.

First, the songs. Given that most of the tunes focus on love and sound like a Whitney Huston cover band from the early 1990s, it’s not surprising to find Bornfield has accompanied the famous singer on the stage before. Despite this, the synthesized-heavy songs felt more cheesy than tender, and lacked the finesse of any diva, especially when the cast broke out in song with, Don’t Choke That Chicken, which they complemented with a rubber version of the bird.

One line in that song went something like this, “don’t choke that chicken, even if you put him in a pot.” This confused me given that one of the best characters, Sadie, the Jewish mother, played wonderfully by Rosalind Harris, made a batch of Jewish medicine, aka, chicken soup. Sadie also had the best song of the bunch, Sadie’s Seder, which incorporated everything you love about a stereotype, complete with song, and dance. Unfortunately, this didn’t follow through and we never got to see her dinner, which I am convinced would have been a riot.

This plot line falls in with Sadie’s son David, played by Brance Cornelius, who had fallen in love with a young and pretty witch named Celeste, played by the stunning Lauren Hoffmeier. They couple met after Celeste’s mother, the queen of the witches, played by Bartlett, accidently placed a love spell on her daughter. After that, the plot line ultimately revolves around Celeste’s kingly father trying to break the young couple up, and the two families coming to terms with marriage between a Jewish mortal family, and a rich witch family.  There was an unconvincing bad warlock in the mix played by Paul Craffey, who kept forgetting his lines and was as menacing as Tim Gunn.

Perhaps this show would be best cut in half, or at least tightened up so the story line flowed better. Of course, it would help if the actors had more practice too, that way the audience wouldn’t be forced to watch unsynchronized dance numbers and players who don’t know what they are doing. Maybe in her heyday, Bartlett could have pulled this off, but now, in 2012, the whole thing reads more like a grade school assignment for adults.


Borkenstein Productions
Writer: D’Jamin Bartlett and Mark BornfieldTBA
Choreographer: Shirley Johnston
A Gothic tale of power in the wrong hands at the wrong time. Warlocks and witches scheme to further the cause of true love. A Light-hearted view of what happens when a warlock’s daughter falls for a mortal piano player.
2h 20m   National   Hollywood, Florida
Musical   Comedy
Staycation: Ride the Rollercoaster of Love   In Someone Else’s Shoes
VENUE #12: Cherry Lane Theatre
Sat 11 @ 3:15  Sat 18 @ 8  Tue 21 @ 5:15  Sat 25 @ 2:15  Sun 26 @ 3:15

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