Reach, presented by Nautilus Music-Theater at the Rarig Xperimental, is a buffet of new music, sung by some of the Twin Cities’ best singer-actors. I never miss the Nautilus collaborations at the Fringe. While I enjoy the frantic energy of the “fringier” musicals, it was nice to hear a show where intonation wasn’t optional. Presented as an anthology of five vignettes, some pieces have a self-contained story and some are excerpts from a larger work. But all loosely share the universal theme of aspiration.
In East of the Sun, loosely adapted from the Norwegian folktale, Andrea Leap and JP Fitzgibbons are separated lovers. There was an audible sigh in the audience when Leap sang “and I will love you for evermore”. And when Leap and Fitzgibbons joined their voices together it was glorious. Listed as an “exploratory sketch for a larger piece” in the program, I look forward to hearing more of composer Kurt Metzger’s and writer Christina Ham’s work.
The centerpiece of the show is Erin Duffy’s very intimate and moving rendition of “Let Her Grow Old” by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich. Duffy is a masterful storyteller, on par with many of the spoken-word artists that populate the Fringe. Interspersed with original text by Duffy and director Ben Krywosz telling the story of her mother’s last months, she is heartbreaking.