BWW Reviews: THE FARTISTE Is Simply Asstounding!
The concept of nightclub musicals being performed as if in the Cabaret, or perhaps La Cage if you prefer, has been turned on its rear. "The Fartiste," a clever new musical directed by John Gould Rubin, transforms the entire downstairs area of Sofia's into the infamous Moulin Rouge, complete with can-can girls and a riotous emcee. The talented 7-person cast filled the entire space throughout the 90 minute show fully immersing the audience into the world of Joseph Pujol.Joseph Pujol (Kevin Kraft) was an ordinary Frenchman. He baked croissants and lived a provincial life alongside his wholesome wife (Analisa Leaming) and five children. That is until one day, he decided to abandon his humdrum life to act on a hidden talent he has possessed ever since a sea-related incident as a child. He takes Paris by storm with his uncanny ability to produce symphonies, impressions, and hilarious noises through his butt. His entire story is told through the cabaret setting with appropriately silly and catchy music and lyrics by Michael Roberts, and a funny, though sometimes unfulfilling, book by Charlie Schulman.
Nick Wyman's uproarious Aristide opens the show with the rousing "Montmarte" and maintains this uber-confidant, madcap energy throughout the night with a command for the entire space. The audience is left in the palms of his capable hands as his character spits off modern day references (an occupy wall street line or two) and off kilter shtick including a hilarious bit dealing with the consumption. Kevin Kraft displayed a pleasant voice and gave a truly endearing performance as Pujol, the man with the musical derrière. Of course, the performance would not have been complete without the outstanding live sound effects provided by Steven Scott. In an innovative turn, the comedian performed all fart sound effects in front of the stage with a microphone. Combined with Krafts' body positions, the Fartiste's unusual acts were fully realized.Sumptuous and curvaceous, Lindsay Roginski was a standout in the pseudo-romantic role of La Goulue. Roginski was delightful to watch, standing out in her stirring number "More." However, the end of the show the character was left without a resolution except for a quick lady fart joke. The entire Can-Can ensemble possessed this same ooh-la-la factor making the space's transformation into the Moulin Rouge successful. Rubin's innovative staging put actors throughout the theatre, including behind the audience. Heads would be turned every which way to get glimpses of the talented and eye-catching Can Can dancers, choreographed by Richard Mowe. With a talented cast, inventive staging, and a prevailing "believe in yourself" message, "The Fartiste" turns the lowbrow fart joke into a full-blown night of delightful musical comedy.
THE FARTISTE, a new musical comedy, is now playing at Sofia 's Downstairs ( 221 West 46th Street ). Performance schedule is as follows: Thursdays at 7:30 pm; Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 3:00 and 8:00 pm and Sundays at 3:00 pm. A French buffet will be served with doors opening one hour prior to the performances for lunch/dinner. Tickets are priced at $79.00 (which includes dinner) and $65.00 for show only.Tickets are available by phone at (212) 947-9300 from 10 am to 6 pm and through www.thefartiste.com or www.entertainmentevents.com