The Foothill Performing Arts Council production of FIREBRINGER, is snarky fun musical filled to the brim with tight harmonies and laugh out loud comedy don't miss out on this prehistoric powerhouse.
Presented by (The Foothill Performing Arts Council) with permission by STARKID Productions, with music and lyrics by Meredith Stepien and Marupervision.
Directed by Timothy J Borquez, with Vocal Direction by Matthew Park, Choreography by Anne Marie Osgood
and Music Production by Alex Borquez.
Theatre Unlimited Studios, 10943 Camarillo St, North Hollywood, CA 91602;
Running July 19 through August 25.
https://ticketor.com/TheFPAC. This production is Rated R, (for explicit language and humor).
Not recommended for children under the age of 16, without adults
The story of FIREBRINGER centers on the stone-age society at the dawn of civilization. In particular, It follows the story of one prehistoric Tribe that manages to overcome the obstacles of their simple life under the shrewd guidance of their leader Jemilla(Sarah Cottier), who teaches her people that they are capable of living a more fruitful and harmonious life. One that doesn't include their previous activities of bashing each others' skulls in with rocks or eating the Tribe's newborn babies.
It would seem that life couldn't get any better for the Tribe. That is until Zazzalil(Tiffany Oliver) the group's overzealous and rambunctious upstart who views their safe and straightforward way of life as dull and monotonous. In true human fashion, she is always working as hard a possible, attempting to invent new things to help her and the Tribe be as lazy as possible. More often than not, she is accompanied by her right-hand cavewoman the hilarious and witty Keery(Hope English) who is frequently unsure of Zazzalil's latest ideas.
While she is out attempting to prove her latest scheme correct, Zazzalil stumbles upon the most significant discovery in the history of humankind, Fire; one that will forever change the course of humanity as we know it. This sparks an out of control experience that pits Zazzalill against everyone from her own Tribe, ancient prehistoric monsters that go bump in the night, which ultimatly leads to her own journey of growth and discovery.
The story is propelled forward and narrated by a past leader of the Tribe named Molag(Sabrina Velasquez (Sat & Sun) & Dave Carter (Friday)) whose paleolithic pontification is filled with sarcastic jokes and a bit of fourth-wall-breaking this campy, self-aware form of comedy sets the tone for the entire show. This role is even played by two different actors, so even more reason to return and see the show again.
The production itself is a very fast-moving, tightly scripted piece, and the energy the cast brings is electrifying. The writing itself can be a bit on the absurd side and sometimes far too reliant on the shock humor of hearing the cast say "fuck" a lot. If for some reason that may offend you, this might not be your show. That being said, it certainly in no way detracts from a musicality standpoint; this is truly where the show shines. FPAC has assembled some of the most impressive voices on stage in this production, I was absolutely blown away by the tight and cohesive harmonies produced by the incredibly talented ensemble. If I had closed my eyes, you could have told me I was at the Pantages or Ahmanson, and I would have believed you.
I applaud the extremely focused direction of Borquez, the entire show was staged in a smaller venue, and the production team made great use of the simple but well-staged set design to transport us to a prehistoric era. Additionally, the bright and flintstone-esqe costumes really bring the eccentric personalities to life, and they are different enough from each other that each unique character's personality gets to shine through.
At times the plot can feel a little disjointed as there are multiple interweaving character arcs happening simultaneously. There is quite a bit of shifting around. One scene can take place outside as the Tribe is foraging for food, the next one is one of their members is introducing the group to standup comedy, then a romantic scene where two star crossed lovers discover joy and comminatily in parietal art. It's all a bit ludicrous, but this is the type of silly humor that makes this show so enjoyable to watch.
Overall, FAPC rises to the occasion and does justice to STARKID Productions at the Los Angeles Premiere of Firebringer, come for outlandish prehistoric campy fun and stay for the excellent and well-performed music and vocals. I recommend checking this one out.
The talented members of the "Firebringer tribe" are Sarah Cottier, Tiffany Oliver, Hope English, Corrine Glazer, Luke Martinez, Sabrina Velasquez, Dave Carter, Brian Felker, Cade Stedman, Beth Redwood, Kasey Furginson, Grace Gaither, Justin Taylor, Perla Rodriguez, and Jaiden Oliver