Monday, August 15, 2022

2022 Fringe Review - The Witchy World of Luna Muse - A Fabulous Drag Ambassador - 5 Stars

“I went to college for theater and this cross-dressing gig is all I got.”

Synopsis: Something wicked this way comes! Twin cities drag entertainer Luna Muse makes her one-woman show debut in this whimsical and kooky theatrical experience. Fantasy and reality collide as our host is tasked with sharing her favorite fairy tale of ‘Lady Luna of the Moon.’ This witch puts her storytelling chops to work, doing her best not to get too distracted with the musings (and hauntings) of her childhood. It’s a cauldron bubbling of equal parts drag show, stand-up, and drag-queen-story-hour. Embellished with glittery costumes, a bold red lip, and just a pinch or two of real-life, make-believe magic. Join Luna Muse in her imaginative witchy world!

Tweet review: #mnfringe The Witchy World of Luna Muse: part drag show, part story time, part confessional, Cam Pederson’s glittery supernatural alter ego creates a charming and welcoming world to kick back in for a while; this witch knows how to put on a show - 5 stars

Additionally (pre-show): #mnfringe And how to you cleanse your mind after seeing Jesus quote Tr*mp? You see a drag queen. Help me, Luna Muse!

Though I am nowhere near what you would call a drag expert, any more than I am an authority on dance or puppets or any of the other art forms I mostly see just during these 11 days in August every year, the Minnesota Fringe Festival has exposed me to enough drag performers over the years that I can appreciate someone who does it really well.  Cam Pederson, in the guise of his supernatural alter ego Luna Muse, does drag really well.  From the costumes to the lip syncing to the consistency of the persona for the full show, Pederson is a fabulous drag ambassador for the uninitiated, and his Fringe offering, The Witchy World of Luna Muse, is a great entry point for Fringe audiences who are curious about drag.

“Welcome to a story so whimsical you’ll hardly believe it.”

Not that drag has to be perfect to be effective.  Messy shows are also fun.  Messiness is part of the experimentation and development of any art form.  And it makes you appreciate the precision of a performer like Pederson as Luna when you see them.  Pederson doesn’t just lip sync to the various musical numbers throughout the show.  Pederson also lip syncs to the sound cues recounting parts of the fairy tale story Luna is telling, and the witchy historical interludes presented as well.  Basically, if Cam Pederson isn’t offstage doing a lightning fast costume change, and they aren’t speaking as Luna, they’re lip-syncing to whoever is speaking or singing, and doing it damn near perfectly - and that is impressive stuff.

“My mother always told me to keep all three nipples covered.”

The Witchy World of Luna Muse has a handy framing device of Luna reading a fairy tale about “Lady Luna of the Moon.”  From that story time set up, Pederson will frequently go on tangents either personal (Cam’s biography as a young, now older queer boy, growing up and discovering himself and his talents) or historical (unfortunate witches in history) or musical (gotta have some song and dance, plus the outlandish costumes to go with them).  The aforementioned narrative sound effects also keep things moving from one part of the show (and story) to the next - whether Luna seems entirely ready for them or not.

“She confuses the distant family but the immediate ones clap.”

The Witchy World of Luna Muse is an outstanding piece of work.  Though the Luna persona never drops, so we never get to see fully behind the curtain and get a look at Cam off duty, it nonetheless reveals both Luna and drag performers in general, as approachable human beings.  You’d think we wouldn’t need the reminder, or the gentle introduction to the concept.  But with some politicians trying to demonize queer people of all stripes these days, it’s good to have The Witchy World of Luna Muse as an example.  It’s fine.  Everybody just relax and be entertained.  Stop taking everything so seriously.  Just let everyone be who they want to be.  It’s not going to hurt you or anyone you love, we promise. (eye roll)

“Excuse me, while I pick up my drag droppings.”

The Witchy World of Luna Muse may be over at the Fringe for now, but you can, of course, also continue to follow her online.  Pederson performs year round.  You don’t have to wait till another Fringe to support their work.

5 Stars - Very Highly Recommended

(You can click on the following links to see a set of links to reviews of all the 5 and 4.5 star shows (VERY highly recommended), 4 and 3.5 star shows (highly recommended) as well as other shows, plus the full Top 10 list, the Top 11-20 list, a list of returning favorites, and the full coverage of the 2022 Fringe on this blog.) 

(Side note: The primary may be over, but the midterm elections are coming up soon. Early voting for the election starts Friday, September 23 (so, not much more than a month after Fringe is over). You can check out what's on your ballot ahead of time on the Minnesota Secretary of State website, as well as other voting services and information - like handy links to all the candidates who have websites so you can learn more.  In Minneapolis, not only do we have the Governor and Lt. Governor on the ballot, but there's our U.S. Congressional Rep., our MN State Senator, the MN Secretary of State and MN Attorney General, as well as our County Sheriff and County Attorney, and two members of the Minneapolis School Board.  These are the people who decide what laws we live under and how they get enforced.  These are the people who decide whether or not we have voting rights.  These are the people who decide how our kids learn.  This is how we change things.  Personally, I'm alternately furious and despairing that my goddaughter and her little sister now have fewer rights over their own bodies than they did when 2022 began. There are things we can do, voting in the general election is one of them - if you're looking to volunteer, here's a place to learn more.)



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