Best Deployment of the Musical Saw

Happenstance Theater’s Cabaret CooCoo
There was plenty to love in Happenstance Theater’s entry in the fourth annual Capital Fringe Festival: M.C. Scooter Undercroft (Scott Burgess), resplendent in his white boater and charmingly flummoxed by the disappearance of the Flying Zamboni Brothers; Diz Aster (Sabrina Mandell), the girlish music-hall klutz whose eye-batting in the direction of Izzy Aster (real-life husband Mark Jaster) lent the show its considerable heart. Cabaret CooCoo may not have been a splash to rival previous Happenstance happenings (2008’s Manifesto! trumped it in both style and substance), but you’d be hard-pressed to find better clowning this side of Marceau. Jaster’s rhapsodies on the musical saw—including a poignant, side-splitting, note-perfect rendition of the Gershwins’ “Summertime”—speak to the elegance of the concept: that in the hands of a virtuoso, dysfunction becomes an art.