Orlando Fringe Festival review: ‘Joe’s Cafe’

Here's the first of our reviews from the 2011 Orlando Fringe Festival Orlando Fringe Festival. (Many thanks to our audiences so far, who have given us standing ovations.)
From: http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment_stage_theat/2011/05/orlando-fringe-festival-review-joes-cafe.html

By Jim Abbott, Orlando Sentinel music critic

If they told American history in songs instead of textbooks, maybe more people would remember it.

Of course, the songs would have to be compelling and beautiful, like the ones featured in the delicate, folk-tinged “Joe’s Café.”

That wonderful musical revue features the songwriting of British-born New Yorker Rupert Wates, whose narrative storytelling is superb – even by the highest folk-music standards.

These tales revolve around crimes, compassion, nostalgia and social commentary, all wrapped in the exploits of characters that are remarkably well-drawn in compact songs.

Rupert sings some, but distinguishes himself more with his fluid acoustic guitar picking. His partner, singer Kellie Amend, handles most of the vocals in a crystalline voice vaguely reminiscent of Joni Mitchell.

Her voice was sweet in the gentle “Snow in New York,” then haunting in an a cappella interlude in the tragic “Skies of South Dakota.” Together, Rupert and Amend were joyous in “Days of Mercy,” a Dust Bowl ode that ended the show on a high note.

“Here’s to you and here’s to me,” they sang. “Here’s to all we’ve ever seen.”

With graceful words and music, “Joe’s Café” offers yet another look at that incredible past.

Blue venue, 60 minutes, $10.

Remaining shows:

5/23 MON 6:10PM
5/25 WED 8:40PM
5/27 FRI 5:15PM
5/28 SAT 6:50PM

Joe's Cafe performance calendar

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