The collaboration between legendary science fiction writer Ray Bradbury and Laguna Beach's Gallimaufry Performing Arts has extended across the Atlantic Ocean to Scotland.
Gallimaufry, a regular participant in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world's largest arts event, entered its adaptation of Bradbury's "2116" in this year's festivities and came away a finalist for "best new musical." The show also was named one of the top five shows by Musical Theater Matters, the company that awards achievement in musical theater.
"2112" has its genesis in the 1950s when Bradbury was asked to create a musical vehicle for Charles Laughton and his wife, Elsa Lanchester, but these plans never were realized.
Gallimaufry's artistic director Steve Josephson discovered the script and, with Bradbury's input, adapted it as a stage production, which was produced as an hour-long "Merry Christmas 2116" last June in the Forum Theater on the Festival of Arts grounds.
Josephson directed and choreographed the production and also played one of the marionettes created to renew romance in an aging couple. In Edinburgh, he took over the key supporting role of "Mr. Marionette," originally played by David Stoneman.
Lisa Morrice reprised her role as Mrs. Wycherly in Scotland, with Jonathon Lamer taking over the part of her husband, played in Laguna by Rob Harryman.
Reviews were quite positive. One Scottish critic observed, "This is a slick, well-rehearsed production with some strong dance and a couple of very good voices too. A circus-like feel to the design and staging complimented by use of puppets and creative props all contribute to a magical feel, augmented by the almost musical-box score.
"Josephson is a charismatic figure on stage and this show is at its most successful when he is leading the company," the reviewer noted.
Another critic declared, "Beautifully choreographed and directed, Gallimaufry Performing Arts' production shifts setting and situation with effortless grace. As much physical theater as a musical, one can't help but feel that it's what Tim Burton would do if they gave him 'The Nutcracker' with which to play."
"The script, by Bradbury and Josephson," another noted, "is tight, darkly comic and has moments of genuine lyrical beauty."
This year's Fringe Festival included more than 2,400 different shows and two million tickets sold. While overall attendance was up 5% this year, the number of productions increased by 17%.