What is the Irish Cream? Was it for you, like so many of us, the first liqueur permitted by your parents to warm your round young belly in the winter of your youth? Sour but sultry, you felt a faraway hint of a wisdom you had not yet grasped? Can you remember sitting by the warm fire, when your father took your hand and led you to see the Irish Cream of your wildest dreams: the horse you had always asked for, or the pontoon boat you never would have thought to fall in love with?
With her musical A RIDE ON THE IRISH CREAM, Erin Markey left me wondering what, in fact, is the Irish Cream after all? Well, the objective universe falls happily away from its thin veil and the true face of memory and emotion and experience shows itself at last on the stage, proud and flamboyant, dark and mysterious. It’s there looking into your eyes, looking directly into your eyes, and you feel you have known it your whole life—the way its hair gets wiry near the beginning of its knobby hooves. The way it stands with its outboard motor cocked slightly to the side, and stares into you—you are in love, for the first time real love, and you know it, and it’s really hot. And terrifying.
In other performances I have seen recently, I have felt that the music was a result of the script—with bits and pieces of dialogue crammed into the lyrics to keep things moving and relevant and so on. With A RIDE ON THE IRISH CREAM, although I have no idea what the fact of the matter is, I felt that the script and choreography embodied the textures and lyricism of the music. And the spirit of our humorous adventure was so playfully tinged with such subtle nuance—these undefined realms of mind and feeling that we thought only music could take us to.
Sometimes in music these places are reached by accident or only for a brief moment, and we will happily listen to forty five minutes of Coltrane banging his head against the wall for that one moment when he enters the realm of dreams—that realm is the single grey carpeted set in which these two lovers do the cutest weirdest dance you will ever be so privileged as to witness. Or is she dancing alone in the middle of a lake? “You’ve been waiting for a Coast Guard emergency your whole life.”
[Fringe Arts, 140 North Columbus Boulevard] February 16-18, 2017; fringearts.com.
A RIDE ON THE IRISH CREAM
Music by Erin Markey, Emily Bate, Kenny Mellman
Lyrics by Erin Markey
Directed by Jordan Fein
Performed by Becca Blackwell, Erin Markey, Ian Axness, Chenda Cope, Mike Marcinowski, and Emily Bate
Music Direction and Vocal Arrangements by Emily Bate
Choreography by Cloe Kernaghan
Scenic Design by Barbara Samuels
Costume Design by Enver Chakartash
Stage management by Avery Trunko
Produced by Erin Markey and Jordan Fein
Tour Produced by Caleb Hammons