Editor's note: Every year we look forward to the theatrical inspiration from companies across the valley that comes together for the Vegas Fringe, hosted by Las Vegas Little Theatre. Our team of reviewers has worked to cover each of the 10 shows. Here is the third in our series from
Galina Vasileva. The Fringe continues 6/15-6/18. Beat the heat and catch them all this weekend!
“Soundtracks: A collection of short plays inspired by music” ★★★☆☆
A collection of witty,entertaining sketches and funny little stories developed with great imagination provoked by popular musicians and songs, seems simple, but "Soundtracks" is, at same time, rich on material and very close to the individual. I had a wonderful time, laughing and discovering things I`ve thought about before, put up to life out there on the stage.
Matt Martello unites his six short stories with two main themes– music and the various perceptions of different generations. His point of view is in a way universal, deep and honest, as he manages to convey a nuanced sense of life events informed by music, affecting the styles, tests, and times lived over generations. Martello asks spontaneous questions, which produces collective laughter, and makes a strong connection to the audience. The power of the material is that we all have thought about asking those same questions.
Some of the best evidence for the statement above is the first piece – “Our Songs." Everything in this selection felt ordinary to me. But in the short frame of ten minutes, or so, I found some sharp ideas, overlapping with my own, as well as those of the songs, and characters.
“When Songs Meant Something” is a good story about the differences of life meaning, values and perceptions of the generations. Here the writer made a good choice by helping the generations to come together. Little playful winking to the old and young ones.
“Where`s Sinead?” asks a great question! In this story Mr. Martello shows in very elegant way how some remain dead even alive, and some remain alive even dead. Probably one of the funniest stories, also one of the most artful, and theatrically shaped. It seemed like the writer and the director invested more time in this portion build some development, which allowed for more theatrical elements. Again, in a short amount of time the author is asking great questions about who values what, and how people decide what they like, and what they don`t like. It also offered a very original choice for reflecting Ms. O`Connor's appearance and disappearance!
The quickest story, and the shortest on action, stood out the most for me – “Faux Floyd.”
At the end of the night, when my mind sorted through the mixture of all I saw, I realized that “Faux Floyd” captured the essence of the work. In “Faux Floyd” Matt Martello has succeeded to say a lot, with few words, about the generations' differences of perception, life style and values. There is not a big plot, no dramatic changes, few props, and subtle movement. The piece was the most impactful and authentic, because the playwright didn't`t judge his thoughts, or the characters' differing perspectives, whether they be old, or young.
The six stories transitioned well from one to another, though the production was delivered with a straight forward, and simple approach. The sketchy style, in which the action was designed, helped the actors and the director to present quick and clean, experience in a small space. However, it would be great to see the actors have more time to develop a fuller, more nuanced expression of their roles.
“Soundtracks” was filled with laughter and joy, leaving the audience relaxed and ready to see more. Without the opportunities this festival provides, a lot of great, new ideas may not not be realized. Vegas Fringe Festival is a vital opportunity for talented folks and, and a great chance for the Las Vegas audience to catch talent they might otherwise miss. Thank you to all those who have made it possible year after year.