Fringeworthy

Hip Shot: “The Girl Who Waters the Basil and the Inquisitive Prince”

The Girl Who Waters the Basil
The Apothecary – at The Trading Post

Remaining Shows:
July 19th 4:45 pm
July 24th 6 pm

What they say: The tale of a poor shoemaker's daughter and a lovesick inquisitive prince. Based on Lorca's play of the same name, this slightly surreal 'pocket-opera' features performances by Robert Baker and Rebecca Ocampo.

Llewellyn's take: One of the great perks of a show with so many credentials is that the playbill is large enough to use as a multi-page fan.  And heady credentials they are.  These are some classically trained maestros slumming it for us heathens who probably wouldn't make it out to the Kennedy Center on five-cent beer night.  I mean, they have a musical ombudsman listed in the credits for crying out loud.

Even though they list it as a "pocket opera," it's still opera in the end, so expect bel cantos, colla voce, and a supernumerary.  Because the story is so short, you don't get overwhelmed with boredom after three hours of butt-numbing vibrato; these folks keep it to a nimble 40 minutes of well-crafted musicianship.  You're in, you're acculturated, and then you're out.

The story confines itself to a basic he-said/she-said romantic battle, and the tone remains playful throughout the show—even when they're crying on the floor.  The comedy is goofy and maybe strained at points, but it provides a good counterpoint to the music. Rebecca Ocampo and James Shaffran have amazing voices, and the mini-orchestra keeps up with them.  Here's hoping they do a 40-minute Ring Cycle next.

See it if: You're an opera fan on a tight schedule or a cultural heathen feeling guilty.

Skip it if: You don't have the attention span for opera in cartoons

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