On the Fringe


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The weekend is full of entertainment options, including Terence Blanchard premiering material from his forthcoming CD at the Ogden Museum's Taylor Library tonight and White Linen Night in the arts district tomorrow. But among the options is the New Orleans Fringe Festival's mini showcase at Marigny Theatre. It contains a gem of entertaining madness by the Black Forest Fancies. The singing puppeteer duo of Pandora Gastellum and Nina Nichols (pictured) reprise their November Fringe show, The Tragical Ballad of Black Bonnet, an audience favorite. Black Bonnet is a mysteriously sexed biological anomaly who works as a housemaid in the home of a 16th century Scottish noble. She stumbles into love with the lord's sequestered daughter Lilliana. Gastellum and Nichols work the marionettes, at times play Black Bonnet and Lilliana themselves, and sing throughout the three-act puppet musical. It's a vividly clever and fun fairy tale. It's grouped with two other items, including an off-kilter human puppet drama about a man who seeks fulfillment with a top of the line blow-up doll. Musician Ratty Scurvics and aerialist Oops the Clown combine to stretch the work into a sort of lounge act/trapeze enhanced mash-up. It has some good moments. There's also a set of short films, which you'll have to endure. But the Fancies are worth the wait. Remaining shows are at 8 p.m. tonight and 8 p.m. & 11 p.m. Saturday.

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