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Friday, 22 June 2012 17:17

St. Lou Fringe Capsule: 'Osgood Rex' by Project Wonder Meant

Written by Chuck Lavazzi
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stlfringe.com
stlfringe.com

Joshua Cook’s comedy “Osgood Rex” takes the classic tale of “Oedipus Rex”—or at least its outline—and drops it into the two-dimensional world of a classic black and white cartoon.

Osgood the Scrappy Squirrel is the king of Toonland until the rights to draw him are stolen from his creator, Eckhart Unger, and hack writers dull his comic edge. From Osgood’s point of view, the gods have abandoned him. With the help of his girl friend Mitzi Minx, the embittered former star Eggs the Cat, and the inebriated prophecies of Tipsy Toucan, he sets out to find out why—or get erased in the process.

The dialog neatly punctures the high-falutin’ English of translated ancient Greek while taking satirical pot shots at both theatrical and cartoon conventions. There are even mock-1920s musical numbers (hey, this is a cartoon, after all) to appropriately scratchy record-sounding ukulele accompaniment. There’s no composer credited, so I’m going to assume those neat little touches came from music director Kristin McGuire.

The performance I saw on the first day of the Festival was a bit scrappy in spots and the unison mock Greek chorus wasn’t as unison as it could have been, but that’s minor stuff. This was an entertaining production of a clever and inventive script by a strong cast. I especially liked Nicole Angeli’s liberated Mitzi Minx, Alan C. David’s Dean Martin-ish Tipsy Toucan, Christine Johnson’s Osgood (he’s a cartoon character, so naturally he has to have a high voice), and Chad Little’s sympathetic Eckhart, but they’re all fine actors.

Project Wonder Meant’s “Osgood Rex” is being presented in the Kranzberg Center’s black box theatre as part of the St. Lou Fringe Festival. For a complete schedule, you may visit stlfringe.com

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