Saturday, August 21, 2010

FRINGE: William and the Tradesmen

If you want to spend an evening with Morrissey, Joe Strummer, and Paul Weller, look no further than William and the Tradesmen. All three are channeled to remarkable accuracy by Eli James, who also wrote the one-man show.

The three British musicians are Will Bray's idols. Will imagines them guiding him in his quest to be a successful musician, even though his band never shows up for gigs. James has a nerdy appeal as Bray and his Morrissey is particularly brilliant. The songs are well-written, but not so exceptional that you can't see why Will has never had his big break. As both a theater nerd and an Anglophile, I especially appreciated "The Second Song Is An I Want Song."

When the biggest misstep in Francesco Campari's production is that the show opens with Eli James miming typing on a computer when maddeningly there is a laptop on his bed just a few feet away, you know the show is in good shape.

The final performance is Wed Aug 25 at 7 p.m. at The Club at LaMaMa.

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