Theatre Review: The Rage Fairy
The Rage Fairy is (if you’ll pardon the pun) outrageously good – a turbo-charged magic wand sparking so much energy that the tiny Sherry Theatre in NoHo is almost too small to contain it. Seriously, the ratio of entertainment value to venue size is almost off the charts.
This is slightly surprising, since the premise (the titular Rage Fairy falls in love with a murderer) sounds more than a little precious – like an undergrad student’s stab at a profound metaphor for dysfunctional relationships. Fortunately, the dramatic conceit is rendered in terms that make it feel solidly grounded despite the supernatural nature of the lead character; the resulting story feels utterly over-the-top and yet nonetheless credible.
The Rage Fairy Review: Summary
The Rage Fairy takes the form of a first-person confessional, with the title character telling her story directly to the audience. In a nutshell, she is a passionate (as fairies are wont to be) girl who cannot find love in any form, starting with her human parents, who see her as little more than unpaid labor for their shop. The Rage Fairy puts herself out there with inevitably disappointing results until she hooks up with a serial killer, who appreciates her ability to make bodies disappear. Needless to say, he is disturbed by the fact that his would-be girlfriend has the power to destroy him at whim, so he makes an attempt to maintain a veneer of interest, but it rapidly becomes clear to us (if not to the Rage Fairy) that her head-over-heels affection not reciprocated.
What follows is a fascinating and hilariously funny depiction of a character, blinded by love, desperately struggling to rationalize away the failings of a “lover” who clearly deserves no such consideration. However, the Rage Fairy is nothing if not dedicated to pursuing her heart where it leads, even into the darkest corners.
Unfortunately for her, there are consequences, which eventually start to impinge on her conscience even if they don’t shake her devotion to the murderer. These consequences take the form of nightly visits by the souls of ever growing number of the killer’s victims, which slides the satirical fantasy into outright horror territory. Eventually, the burden grows to great even for the Rage Fairy, who faces the heart-rending decision of whether to stand by her man or turn him in to the police. But the ending is not a foregone conclusion, because the Rage Fairy has a few magical tricks up her sleeve. Can she exorcise the ghost bedeviling her and still find love?
The Rage Fairy Review: Performances
The weight of The Rage Fairy rests on the shoulders of Holly Anne Mitchell, who gives the sort of all-stops-out performance that could have seemed overdone if it were not pitch perfect for the material. Like a true romantic, the Rage Fairy feels every passion keenly, and she is eager to vent her feelings to her audience with volcanic eruptions of dialogue that pile words upon sentences upon paragraphs that are loaded with intricate detail even while Mitchell’s delivery makes them feel like spontaneous outbursts of rage.
The result feels almost like a one-woman show even though the rest of the cast hit all the right notes, providing a counterpoint accompaniment to the virtuoso lead. Isaac Tipton Snyder wisely goes the opposite route from Mitchell, underplaying to give a clear contrast to his character, whose continued existence depends on hiding his true feelings from the Rage Fairy – even though they are abundantly clear to us.
Likewise, Cassandra Stipes and Max Zumstein are hysterical as the Rage Fairy’s parents, who register emotion regarding their daughter’s travails only when it impacts the bottom line at their store. Morgan Lorraine is also a blast as the Rage Fairy’s True Friend, whose strained attempts to maintain sympathy register as passive aggressive irritation. The only other characters who approach the melodramatic verve of the Rage Fairy are the Murdered Girls, whose creepy torment edges into the realm of the tongue-in-cheek – which perfectly suits a story that somehow manages to feel over-the-top from start to finish without ever growing monotonous.
The Rage Fairy Review: Conclusion
It is a tad difficult to pinpoint exactly why The Rage Fairy works so well. Its metaphor seems too on-the-nose – so much so that it requires little or no interpretation. Despite her supernatural nature, the Rage Fairy is really just a girl in a bad relationship who cannot see the obviously ugly truth about the man she loves. The story could almost as easily have been one of domestic abuse or infidelity, and yet the fantasy conceit somehow works, because it allows the plot to go into impossible realms that stretch to accommodate the emotions at plays.
To put it in less grandiose terms, The Rage Fairy may not be completely immortal, but she is very nearly invulnerable, so the situation cannot be resolved in the obvious way – that is, an abusive lover murdering his spouse or girlfriend. Much as he may want out of the one-sided relationship, the Murderer has to put up with the Rage Fairy, and the Rage Fairy has to deal with something that is not going to resolve itself through an act of violence. Ultimately it’s up to her. The intriguing question, then, is what does a girl do when she cannot get what she wants by conventional means but there’s nothing to stop her from using more magical tactics. A neurotic may lapse into delusion, but perhaps a Rage Fairy can make delusion into reality.
The Rage Fairy Rating
1 – Avoid
2 – Not All Bad
3 – Recommended
4 – Highly Recommended
5 – Must See
Absolutely brilliant – a must-see.
The Rage Fairy continues at The Sherry Theatre through March with performances on Saturday and Sunday at 8:30pm. The address is 11052 West Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, CA. 91601. Tickets are $20.00, available here.
Cast: Holly Anne Mitchell (Rage Fairy), Isaac Tipton Snyder (Murderer), James Fahselt (Bad Boyfriend/Detective Goodman), Megan Colburn (Fortune Teller), Cassandra Stipes (Mom), Max Zumstein (Pop), Lexi Stein (Sponsor), Morgan Lorraine (True Friend), Madison Hubler (Murdered Girl/Rage Fairy Understudy), Lauren Adlhoch (Murdered Girl), and Ayanda Dube (Murdered Girl).
Credits: Written and Directed by Antonia Czinger. Producer and Lighting Design by David Dickens. Sound Design by Trevor Reece. Set Design by Isaac Tipton Snyder. Costume Design by Antonia Czinger. Graphic Designs by Freda Jing. Production Company: Ballview Entertainment. Production Still Photos by David Dickens.