Go Fest Yourself

Dispatches from the festival frontlines.

FRINGE REVIEW: Archy and Mehitabel

Theories abound to explain why the works of some writers remain displayed in the literary canon while others must be dusted off. Jeff Culbert polled his full house to see how many of us were familiar with the writing of Don Marquis, from which he has “stitched together” this piece. Only about 25% raised their hands; I admit I was not among them. What I have since read about Marquis, a New York newspaper writer almost a century ago, convinces me further that this is a must-see show. Archy is a cockroach with the soul of a human poet. Mehitabel is an alley cat with a string of former lovers – in a past incarnation she was Cleopatra. Culbert’s adoration for these characters is infectious, and his performance is joyous and lyrical. These characters debuted during World War One, and yet descriptions of mankind destroying the earth invoke the tarsands. The text echoes T.S. Eliot, and yet he was publishing in the same era. Two historical truths stand out, though: the insects will inherit the earth, and cats will always get the last word.

Four and a half stars out of five.

more in Fringe Reviews     |     posted Aug 15th, 2010 at 7:30pm     

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