Reviewed by Aaron Riccio
Just in time for Halloween,
The story, created by Erik Sanko and narrated (on tape, unfortunately) by Gavin Friday, involves a midnight gathering of various evil men who stand to inherit a fortune. However, as the fortune teller in question attempts to discern their fate, Death keeps leaping to the forefront, a jumpy, excitable force that causes the hunter to be impaled upon a mounted rhinoceros’s horn, makes a chef choke on a wishbone (“Be careful what you wish for”), and poisons a ventriloquist (“Everybody just thought he was a bad ventriloquist”). The fortuneteller discerns an unusual death for each of the characters—like a simpler version of the Final Destination series—and the delight of the show comes from watching these evil people come to the end of their rope (literally). It’s not high drama, but it is entertainment without consequences (unless you have an issue with puppet exploitation). The material’s appropriate for kids too—assuming they’ve been raised on Gorey or Snicket—The Fortune Teller is a series of unfortunate events with little moral twists.
For all the clever devices, Elfman’s music remains the lynchpin of the performance, and those who are fans of his work will find many references to his classic scores. The lethal curiosity of his reverberant tunes is what keeps us watching, even when the puppets repeat themselves (which isn’t often). Here’s a prediction for you: go see The Fortune Teller, and you’ll both have a good time and see something new.
HERE Arts Center (145 Avenue of the
Tickets (212-352-3101): $20.00
(Through 11/5): Thursday-Monday @ 7:00