Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fringe Spotlight: The Translucent Frogs of Quuup

Are you ready for some good old fashioned singing and dancing, and a big dose of British silliness? Then The Translucent Frogs of Quuup is one for your theatre schedule at the Fringe. Set in 1922 London, Anthony Marigold-Bentley (Larry Mura), bank clerk third-class, meets Edith (Anna Kate Mohler), a very modern woman, with ideas. Swept up into a world of romantic ideals, they throw caution to the wind and decide to take a trip up the Amazon in search of the legendary Translucent Frogs of Quuup with the help of a witty narrator, a pianist and a canoe.

No Excuses Theatre Company continues its U.S. premiere of the musical comedy at this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival, following a run at the Long Beach Playhouse in March. Originally produced at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the musical won The Guardian’s Best Original Music Award, and features book by Chris Larner and music by Mark Stevens.

It was a trip abroad that Larry Mura says brought the show to his attention, creating an unforgettable impression on both he and his then girlfriend (now wife), Sophie. “We both went to London in 2004 to study theatre for a semester in college, roughly 10 years ago. It was there that we got a chance to see The Translucent Frogs of Quuup at the King’s Head Pub Theatre. The show had been picked up and extended from The Edinburgh Fringe Festival earlier in the year. If I remember correctly, we happened upon a flyer in a window and decided to give it a go not knowing anything about the show at all…and it was just magic.

Everything about Quuup was an experience, right down to purchasing the tickets from an office that looked like a cartoon with papers stacked to the ceiling and being crammed into a tiny theatre in the back of a pub. We were so lucky to see the show with the original creators Chris Larner and Mark Stevens, the musical director, who both played themselves in the show.

We laughed ourselves silly all night, and yet, this screwball of a comedy had such a touching ending. I turned to my wife after it was over and said ‘we have to produce this show.’ We returned home, graduated from college, and continued on with life, always with Quuup on our mind. I spent the next 5 years on and off finding a way to contact the author, Chris Larner, and was finally successful, however it wasn’t until this year that all the pieces were able to come together. With great encouragement from the Long Beach Playhouse, we took to the stage during their collaborative series to a resounding success. We all had so much fun that we wanted to continue to give others a chance to see Quuup.”

Have they ever participated in the Fringe before? “No,” he says, “this is our first time, but we thought there would be no better show to produce than this one. The Translucent Frogs Of Quuup is for anyone who simply wants to laugh and take a moment away from their everyday grind to just enjoy themselves. There is one particular musical number that is a must-see. Without giving too much away, if you’ve ever wanted to see a dance number while going up the Amazon River with a canoe, then you’ll want to catch this. We are truly looking forward to sharing the joy and happiness this show gave us when we saw it 10 years ago.”

The show is directed and choreographed by Sophie Mura and, in addition to Larry Mura and Anna Kate Mohler, stars Andy Zacharias as Mark and Russell Montooth as Chris. 

June 15 & 29, 2014
Complex Theatres (East Theatre)
6476 Santa Monica Blvd

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