With all the backhanded insults directed at the current administration, it's ironic that The Deciders, a satirical rock musical of Bush's plan to reinstate Saddam so as to stabilize Iraq and secure his legacy as a peacemaker, most deserves a backhanded compliment: this is pretty good for the Fringe. However, while Cindy Sheehan (Amber Carson) and Condi (Carla Euphrates Kelly) have terrific voices and Dubya (Erik Hogan) has the self-deprecating swagger down, the plot comes across more as a parody of an already existing parody, and, as if the winks to the audience about the "Fringe benefits" weren't bad enough, bogs down the actual message with a sub-story that features Saddam's desire to mount a musical called "Saddamn." The actual plot is tragic and familiar enough, and if Mitch Kess focuses more on songs like "Safer, Stronger" (in which Cheney feeds lines to a deceived and teary Condi) or the protest anthem "Free" and less on building Saddam up as a misunderstood Elvis ("Blues of Babylon"), this show could have some serious legs. (Getting better, less electronic instruments would help the music from being so lounge-y.) Note to the government, in re: The Deciders: there's your innovation. On a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being "Worse than the last eight years of Bush," and 5 being "Yes, we most certainly can," The Deciders gets a 2.5.
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