The fun in the fear: a review of “Cabaret Poe” Indianapolis Musical

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“Cabaret Poe,” which was presented this year in the Circle Center Mall entertainment complex by Q Artistry, is an original Indianapolis musical that’s just finished its ninth successful season.

This dark, quirky, hilarious re-telling of Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous works has been repeatedly created, produced and performed with artful, quick-witted, silver-tongued precision. Each season’s production has somehow come off even better than the last.

In an attempt to give future viewers of this zany Halloween musical an idea of what to expect… imagine a tongue twister competition champion. Now imagine three. This is what you’ll see and hear from the actors and the dialogue in “Cabaret Poe.”

Recently recognized by the Central Indiana Community Foundation as a VIP theatre artist, “Cabaret Poe” writer, composer, director and producer Ben Asaykwee lives on the cutting edge of the Indy art scene. He has been writing and producing plays across the Midwest since 2009. And, while it’s difficult not to harbor an inappropriate level of affection for other productions such as “Scary Mary: A Poppins Parody” and “The Chronicles of Yarnia: A Rap Musical,”- –  “Cabaret Poe” has remained a favorite throughout the years, growing in both acclaim and artistry.

Cabaret Poe
Cabaret Poe just finished it’s ninth successful run in downtown Indianapolis.  

The musical’s storyline focuses on a variety of Poe’s stories and poems such as  “The Tell-Tale Heart,”  “ The Fall of the House of Usher” and “Annabel Lee,” just to name a few. Likewise, each performance is staffed by only three performers, each dressed in ornate, black, Victorian clothing with faces painted white to give the illusion of either stark, sheer terror or simply death itself.

Asaykwee is joined onstage in revolving performances by an uber-talented cast that includes Julie Lyn Barber, Georgeanna Smith-Wade, Rebekah Taylor, Renae Stone and Jaddy Ciucci. Ciucci is a special delight, and easily pulls off her blank-faced character’s high-necked performance with a hilarity and a measure of ease that is both surprising and delightful.

“Cabaret Poe” is billed as a production full of music, dancing and classic literature references along with a “seasonably appropriate mood.” This is the perfect live performance for anyone who is a fan of Halloween, fear and fun.

Q Artistry’s mission is to produce and present original works by Indiana artists, and, each year, they certainly fill that bill with “Cabaret Poe.”

For more information on Q Artistry and “Cabaret Poe,” visit their website at qartistry.org, or find them both on Facebook and Twitter.

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