Dallas — If you like bluegrass music and magic acts, rope tricks and haunted caves, get on over to the Festival of Independent Theatres for Fiddler’s Cave, a charmed 40-minute show created by and starring Dustin Curry and directed by B. J. Cleveland.
It’s the fiddler’s twang.
Curry, the Dallas-based clown, mime, magician and actor, provides FIT audiences a sample of his wares in his adaptation of a traditional Ozark folk story.
The “wordless story,” as Curry calls his piece, begins with a charming conceit: a passing violin player fills the hall and a silver jug with music. When the jug, blissfully kissed by our hero and others in the audience, is poured into a glass jar, presumably holding a little local moonshine—voila!—Blue Grass music emerges.
On a nearly bare stage containing only a vaudeville trunk, a bird cage and a few innocent-looking props, Curry begins his cave expedition, accompanied by fiddle music and a striking stringless instrument. An audience member holds the magic rope as our explorer begins his descent and magically disappears. He reappears to the delight of all, and the fiddling gets faster and faster.
A sweet romantic theme, with a ghostly lover, is conjured from this cave of human wishes, as we learn of a love affair that played itself out long ago against the dappled black and white walls of the cave.
Ozark folk songs rendered on a fiddle are in playful dialogue with a little classical Debussy, as our seeker of ghostly music gets caught up in the story. The loveliest scene in the show features the tentative spelunker dancing with a frilly dress he’s found and slipped on his arm. The perfect partner waltzes perfectly.
Director Cleveland maintains a balance of story over tricks, and we follow the easy narrative of our explorer’s discoveries with interest. Still, Curry’s sleight-of-hand skills with a hat or a simple handkerchief are smooth tricks, and deserve the spontaneous applause they ignite.
In addition to classical music references and tunes from the University of Arkansas Ozark Folksong Collection, additional music in the show is credited to Kevin MacLeod. Curry moves with sure-footed grace to all the notes.
Fiddler's Cave continues in the following performance blocks:
- 8 p.m. Saturday, July 29
- 2 p.m. Sunday, July 30
- 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3
- 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5
Read our interview with Dustin Curry here
See more info about the 2017 Festival of Independent Theatres schedule here.