Fringe 2018 – “Disasteroid” is a Charming Take on the End of the World
What would you do if an asteroid was headed straight for Earth and you had only one month to live? What if you couldn’t tell anyone else about the end of the world? How would you live the rest of your days?
Disasteroid, Sacred Fools’ new romantic-comedy musical, sees amateur astronomer Arthur trapped in a meaningless existence working for a tax office with his simple friend and co-worker Pete. When he discovers what he thinks is an asteroid heading toward Earth, Arthur takes life by the reigns and confesses his love for client Mabel, who is in an unhappy marriage to Richard. Told about the asteroid, Mabel throws caution to the wind and accepts Arthur’s invitation to go on an adventure, marriage be damned. But what happens when Arthur and Mabel find out that there is no asteroid, and that life will continue on?
Directed by Guy Picot, the production of Disasteroid is charming in its simplicity. With nothing on stage besides a table and chairs and an occasional projected back-drop, the focus of the piece is on the music and chemistry between the very talented actors. While some of the plot is almost too strange for me (Pete singing about milk), I found Disasteroid refreshingly cute and uplifting. The instantly catchy music is expertly played onstage by writer/composer Zachary Bernstein, Eric Radoux and Gordon Wimpress.
The four-person cast is charming and their enthusiasm infectious. I couldn’t help but sympathize with John Bobek’s Arthur as he lamented about his “Low Expectations” at work. And I was swept up in his zest for life when he enjoyed his “Vacation Days” with Heather Roberts’ giddy Mabel. It was satisfying to see sweet and cautious Mabel take charge of her life and be free of her domineering husband. Matthew Bohrer effectively pulled double-duty as Arthur’s weird co-worker, Pete, and Mabel’s shallow husband, Richard. A lively Dagney Kerr stole all her scenes with her sharp comedy as Arthur’s boss Mitzi, an Observatory worker, and Richard’s secretary. The actors worked fantastically off one another, and their vocals soared in the fun musical numbers.
Disasteroid takes what could be a tragic premise and turns it into something hopeful and freeing, posing the question: If we were able to, what kind of life would we want to lead? I left this heartwarming production feeling full of energy and inspired to live life to the fullest. Such a delightful show!