Review: Cinema Fantastique

This exploration of Hollywood movies includes almost completely new material from previous productions by Eagle to Squirrel Variety Hour. The concept fixes the performance to a degree and allows the discursive group to frame material in a more coherent a

Eagle to Squirrel Variety Hour has brought its raucous blend of experimental music, unique poetry and sensuous dance to Cincy Fringe for a second year. Having won a 2008 Music CEA for Best Electronic/Experimental music, the group offers audiences a wide-ranging, eclectic performance.

Cinema Fantastique is an exploration of Hollywood movies and includes almost completely new material. The concept fixes the performance to a degree and allows the discursive group to frame material in a more coherent and theatrical manner.

Boom Boom is the leader. He possesses a voice which moves from a gravelly bass to a clear, edgy tenor. But the cardinal element of his presentation is the passion with which he presents the sometimes political, sometimes hysterical content of his poetry. Keys is the electronic keyboard and saxophone player. The hot keyboards and the cool, melodic sax are integral contributions to the band’s rather funky mix.

The theme of the show really gets under way with a take on Goldfinger (and several other Bondian themes), replete with Eagle to Squirrel dancers Robyn and Mel, each ensconced in a golden, swirling tent-like cloth. They add a strong visual element to the media mix, and their belly-dancing is articulate and sensuous. This was followed by a tribute to pop icons Cheech and Chong by ever-surprising rap artist Typhoid Benny.

Boom Boom’s sensitivity and stage presence is especially in evidence in his tribute to Christopher Walken, with material coming from Walken’s alleged Twitter feed. Boom Boom wails “Christopher Walken is tellin’ me” with an all-out intensity that sells this whimsical number. The combination of his articulation and tonal quality seals the package.

Several other film-related numbers could easily be cited as highlights of this offbeat and exuberant evening. The performance is witty, wise, energetic and largely appealing to the opening night audience.

Performed at Mr. Pitiful's through June 6. See performance dates and preview here.

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