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Fringe Review: The Crack Rock Opera

May 18, 2013
By

In 2012 I named Danny Feedback's Crack Rock Opera the “Worst, Worst, Worst Anything Anywhere Anytime” that I'd seen on stage (and yes, I've seen Spider-Man: Turn Out The Dark). So I was understandably apprehensive about returning to the re-mounted show at Fringe; after all, at least the production I saw at the Parliament House allowed you to order alcohol during the show. As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the show has been given a radical overhaul for this incarnation. It may never rise to the level of “good,” but this makeover elevated it from “utterly abominable” up to “intermittently interesting among the awfulness.”

This version of The Crack Rock Opera appears to actually be a prequel to the show I saw previously. Danielle Feedback desperately wants to have a baby, but her paralyzing fear of fellatio (known as “Lovelace Syndrome”) is getting in the way. Aided by a Yiddish hot dog psychiatrist (he got his degree in phallic Rorschach from “Hebrew National University”) and a Reno 911-reject cop, Danielle is finally impregnated during a game of dirty Twister by a time-traveling hermaphrodite with a neon dildo, who knocks her up while getting her hooked on “jenkem,” a halucinagenic made from fermented shit. For the grand finale, Danielle finally gives birth to a werewolf, a frankfurter, and an infant with an enormous penis which she immediately sticks in her mouth. And, scene.

In the plus column, Evan Shafran's art direction has an appealingly amateurish “avant-garbage” circa 1986 aesthetic, and the dialogue includes a few clever single-entendre quips (“You don't have a cervix.”/”I have a colon.”/”More like a semi colon!”) and obscene puns: wait until you see the “kitty porn.” (Or don't.) Sadly, the music seems to have taken a big step backwards, as the drugged-out Floydian songs I semi-enjoyed were replaced with bass-centric tuneless tunes that sound like they were composed in a couple minutes on a toy Casio keyboard, all sung in a tone-deaf falsetto that effs up any chance of understanding the lyrics.

Unlike the last production, this time the cast seems to have rehearsed some (or at least read the script before stepping on stage) but Crack Rock Opera is still the poster child for “hot mess.” At one point on opening night, a technical miscue made the harried stagehand shout “Sorry!” from backstage, and a particularly prurient portion prompted a poor audience member to loudly proclaim “I'm never having sex again!” I know how they both felt. But don't lose hope, Danny Feedback fans: at the rate this show is developing, in a couple years they may have something trash culture cultists can call “so bad it's almost fun.”

 

Crack Rock Opera, The

Danny Feedback (Orlando, FL)

Rating: M (Adult language, Strong sexual content)

Run Time: 60 minutes

Green Venue

$11

Genre: A Comedy, with Music

Websites: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Crack-Rock-Opera/133062356771897

http://orlandofringe.ticketleap.com/the-crack-rock-opera/

Show Times:

Sun, May 19 2013, 11:15p.m. – Mon, May 20 2013, 1:00a.m.

Mon, May 20 2013, 8:30p.m. – 9:30p.m.

Wed, May 22 2013, 9:45p.m. – 10:45p.m.

Fri, May 24 2013, 10:45p.m. – 11:45p.m.

Sat, May 25 2013, 12:00a.m. – 1:00a.m.

Sun, May 26 2013, 9:30p.m. – 10:30p.m.

 

Read all of our Fringe coverage HERE!

 

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  • Chastity Harvey

    I think that this is an unfair portrayal of a production that has expanded and taken flight with that last 3 productions. I think that it is also ”infringing”, no pun intended, on the production to give a play by play of the events that take place. Is it the policy of the Orlando Weekly to give reviews that not only bash local musicians and actors but also gives a review so revealing that it makes taking the time to see it almost moot? I understand that it is merely an opinion, but to go as far as writing about the JOKES and PUNS… Keep that kind of stuff to yourself. I mean seriously, that is about as disrespectful then being on your phone… or in this case your IPAD the whole damn time. Yes, sir. I was at the Fringe last night to witness the opening performance. I was there for the jokes, puns, gasps, and laughs. It just boggles me that you went into seeing this performance with a bad taste in your mouth because of a previous performance you saw; it makes your review biased and unfit to be accurately read. These musicians and actors have taken a risk, and for that I applaud them. I applaud them for making such an impact on you, even though you claim it to be negative, for you to take the time to try and convince a mindless group of people who read your columns and reviews to disreguard such a unique gem as this is. This is something out of the ordinary and not for the faint of heart… or someone who is jaded by a previous performance from almost 2.5-3 years ago. See it! this play WILL make an impact on you… depending on who you are.. you’ll either love it… or have to seek counceling afterwards.

  • Steve Schneider

    The Aristocrats!

  • Lita

    You should see it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=510347980 Rob Del Medico

    It would be nice if these actors didn’t obnoxiously make a lot of noise (with a megaphone, among other things) when pimping their show to people waiting in lines for other shows. Last year, they didn’t even have a show at Fringe, but were advertising their show that was upcoming at Theatre Downtown, and one of them played guitar loudly through a portable amp…right outside Blue venue, during a show. And didn’t stop until a volunteer told them they had to because a show was going on.

    Last night, I saw them outside Green venue. Good thing Skill Focus hadn’t started yet, but one of them was making loud noises w/ a bullhorn. You can pimp your show without being obnoxious. Or at least if you’re going to give a ‘preview’ of your show, make sure you’re outside when you’re doing it (and that the captive audience actually wants to hear it).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=510347980 Rob Del Medico

    Lita Longnips eh? Kind of a shitty sockpuppet name, but whatever, I’ll take the bait.

    “I think that it is also ”infringing”, no pun intended, on the production to give a play by play of the events that take place.”

    This is what’s known as a ‘synopsis’. IE, something found in every review ever. Glad you could join us in 2013.

    “Is it the policy of the Orlando Weekly to give reviews that not only bash local musicians and actors but also gives a review so revealing that it makes taking the time to see it almost moot?”

    Interesting that you see a review that actually claims the troupe improved from last year “bashing”. It’s almost as if you feel like they’re owed gratitude simply because they showed up on stage.

    “I understand that it is merely an opinion, but to go as far as writing about the JOKES and PUNS… Keep that kind of stuff to yourself.”

    The butthurtedness is strong with this one. also lol at drawing a line in the sand at critiquing jokes and puns. Had no idea those were sacred cows.

  • Lita Longnips

    Weird Mr. Del Medico that you would bring up the annoying antics of someone at the Fringe… Last night, while I was sitting enjoying my beer and eating a handful of fries, I had a drag queen come up to me… Sit on my lap… eat my fries… and start kissing my forehead to promote their show. I’m all for antics and getting noticed, but to get into my personal business and eat my food while promoting their show.. fucking disgusting. I’m not butt hurt at it, BECAUSE IT’S THE FRINGE… and that sort of shit happens.

    Also My Dearest Medico; A synopsis is a brief or condensed statement giving a general view of some subject or performance… On the other hand a spoiler.. is completely different.

    A spoiler, by the way if your not familiar, is when someone takes your play, movie, or whatever and states your material.. the main plotline for the play… the order in which EVERYTHING takes place….THAT my friend is what we in the world call a spoiler. By the way the reviews and synopsis’s your talking about that rip productions apart and reveal EVERYTHING, comes from THE NEW YORK TIMES… Not the Orlando Weekly whose whole thing is to SUPPORT local music, local theater and local events… not have jaded and biased views. Seth shouldn’t have went into the production with an already annoyed view on things, and maybe he should have just said.. “Fuck it… I’m not doing this.” Because thats the look he had on his face when he walked in.

    Going back to what I was saying earlier; If you’ve been to the Fringe and know the people who go their, probably like yourself, you know that everyone uses annoying THEATRICS and ANTICS to promote their shows; drag queens running around slapping people on their asses, throwing flyers in your food while your eating, someone rolling around on the ground screaming their showtime, half naked women in heels, etc. How is a bull horn more annoying then the rest?

    As the saying goes… “Opinions are like assholes… Everyone has one..”

    ALSO, Fringe policy is that NO ONE is to use or have on Phones, or IPads during productions… While someone with a certain complex is using his Ipad the whole damn time to record, or whatever he was doing; also, unauthorized recording of productions without the knowledge of the actors or managers is not prohibited. I was sitting next to him and was distracted by the light coming from out of his lap. Not a cast member Buddy, but someone who has enjoyed many productions other than theirs and was completely shocked at this review and a couple others. I am not singling any one production out, but the plays he enjoys he leaves much to the imagination, but those he does not he rips them apart and gives a play by play of events so you wouldn’t see it. Welcome to 2013? Hahaha.. your cute.

  • Steve Schneider

    An honest question here: If you feel the critic has nursed such a longstanding grudge against this show that he did everything in his power to spoil it for Orlando, why would you assume he was using his iPad to record it as a personal keepsake?

  • Lita Longnips

    maybe his mind is going with age, and he needs a “keepsake” to help him remember details. The whole point is that using phones or iPads during productions is prohibited… am I wrong?

  • Steve Schneider

    Maybe he was just taking notes? Since you were seated right next to him, it seems you would have been able to tell — or at least ask politely if it really bothered you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/seth.kubersky Seth Kubersky

    I have a general policy against responding to comments on my reviews, but I make an exception when factual accuracy is in question. So, for the record:
    1) Nearly everything revealed in my 3 sentence synopsis of the Crack Rock Opera’s plot is actually printed in the program viewers are handed upon entering, which includes backstories on every character and an outline of the story. Much of this material is also repeated in the opening narration.
    2) This show is a prequel to the previously performed version, and starts by explicitly saying it’s the story of how the previous show’s lead was born. So to call that info a huge spoiler is like saying Luke & Leia’s birth in Revenge of the Sith was a huge plot twist.
    3) The reviewer’s responsibility is to communicate enough of the show’s story and style so that the reader can decide if it’s something they might enjoy. If you think a 100-word summary singlehandedly “makes taking the time to see it almost moot” then you must have thought even less of it than I did.
    4) Patrons of the Fringe are requested to refrain from using electronic devices during shows, but an exception is made for staff members and working press. If you have a problem with that policy, you should address your concerns to the Festival producer.
    5) I have never used my iPad to record unauthorized audio or video of any Fringe show, which is against policy.
    6) The most important thing to most Fringe artists is getting press for their show as early in the Festival as possible. In the “old” days we we only able to review a dozen or so shows, and it would take until the middle of the week for them to see print. Now with the iPad, I can take notes during the show and have reviews published online hours or even minutes after the performance, which many artists and patrons have told me they appreciate. Without the iPad I would never have been able to review nearly 25 shows by the end of opening weekend.
    6) I keep my iPad’s sound off and screen brightness at minimum, and always sit on the aisle in a rear row to minimize distraction to other audience members. I even turn it off during blackouts to hide the glow, and I’ve only ever had one person ask me to turn it off. Trust me, it’s much less distracting than the tiny flashlight I used to have to use to take notes by hand.
    7) There were only about a dozen other people in Crack Rock Opera when I saw it, and I sat at the opposite end of the row from most of them with no one else sitting within several seats of me.
    8) I’m not old, I’m 37! (Actually 38, but who’s counting?) If you meet someone of any age who can watch a play every 8 hours (on average) for 8 consecutive days, and write 300+ word reviews of each, without needing to take any notes, I want to rent their brain.
    9) The Orlando Weekly’s “whole thing” is NOT to “SUPPORT” any particular artist with unearned praise. Our job is to contribute to the cultural community through uncompromised critiques that serve the best interests of our readers.
    10) Promoting your show by being obnoxious is fair game around Fringe (though it usually backfires). But if your obnoxiousness bleeds in through the theater walls and disturbs paying patrons inside a show, you’ve crossed the line.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have more reviews to write.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=510347980 Rob Del Medico

    “I’m all for antics and getting noticed, but to get into my personal business and eat my food while promoting their show.. fucking disgusting. I’m not butt hurt at it, BECAUSE IT’S THE FRINGE… and that sort of shit happens.”

    ‘Because it’s the Fringe’ is a piss-poor rationale for anything. Yes, the Fringe is known for being over-the-top and having creative marketing, but in most all cases, is done with respect for the consumer. The example you describe above would be considered invasive by most, and your comments are incongruous in that you express disgust a mere sentence before trying to play it off like you didn’t care. Likewise, being obnoxious and making a lot of noise (and in my example, actually interrupting a live performance with sound bleed) tends to put people off of seeing your show. Generally, any kind of ‘audio’ related promotion for a show should only occur OUTSIDE…and even then, only if you have an indication that it is wanted by the captive audience (it is not that difficult to tell these things, speaking as someone who has been in many Fringe shows).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=510347980 Rob Del Medico

    Hope Lita doesn’t read the Sentinel review of this show this morning. Cuz they hated it.

  • Lita Longnips

    I…. don’t…. care.