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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review: Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Fringe 2011)

Reviewed by Valerie Cardinal

Since Hedwig & The Angry Inch is one of my favourite movies of all time, I was bound to either love or hate this production. Luckily, Antonio Bavaro won me over. From the moment he steps onstage in Hedwig’s head wig to the moment he takes his final bow, Bavaro is mesmerizing. He totally dominates the stage as Hedwig tells the story of how she changed from an East German boy in love with American Rock n’ Roll to a woman hopelessly in love with an American rock star.

From the first song, I was captivated and enthralled by Bavaro’s passion. It helps that the band is extremely talented and obviously has a lot of fun with the material. Together they turn in a dynamic performance that made me want to get on my feet and sing along.

I only wish Peggy Hogan as Hedwig’s reluctant sidekick Yitzak reached Bavaro’s level of energy. Maybe her microphone needed to be turned up, but I feel she fell a little flat in her performance. But then again, who wouldn’t falter next to a drag queen absolutely tearing up the stage?

Punky bar Katacombes is the perfect venue for Hedwig & The Angry Inch. It’s a little like Hedwig, in the way that’s it’s intimidating but kind of endearing and wonderful at the same time.

Bavaro isn’t afraid to get in your face – often, literally – as he sings about finding true love and a sex change operation gone wrong. Be aware there is a splash zone, and don’t sit in the front if you’re allergic to tomatoes.

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