Last night I ended up at the Stage One venue of Fairfield Theater Company thanks to learning about the show in the last minute. March Fourth Marching Band is a performance troupe from Portland, OR. I learned about this group from some Left Coast friends so I was excited to actually get the chance to see them live.
March Fourth (drum) rolled, tap danced and stilt walked into Fairfield with human marionettes, disco ball helmets, pharoah flutists, and music no one could stop dancing to. By the end of their second set, the only word I kept coming up with was "fun!" Normally when there are that many horns and saxophones on a stage, you expect ska. However, that was the one genre I didn't hear. Except for one reggae number, to put a name of the musical style on March Fourth is difficult. One minute you're in a 1920's speakeasy and the next your bopping on Bourbon Street to New Orleans jazz or in a 70's club dancing to early disco. The musicians are all masters of their instruments and they work as a tight-knit team. Even when featuring bass saxophone, trombone, trumpet or flute solos the rest of the band provides the perfect background to paint them on.
This is all about interactive performance art. Admittedly there were some points of the show that the audience does observe, like when the stiltwalkers and the dancers/acrobats did the puppets and puppeteer routine. Especially in the small space of Stage One the whole vignette was a bit scary. The audience even got to see, after choreographed falls of the stilt guys, how they get back up on the "big shoes". Another number a mic'd wooden box was set up to show off the tapping talents of one of the troupe's dancers. Most songs though were "audience play-along" and during those it was a complete family affair. Young children in attendance were invited to dance on the stage with the group. At their seats, in the aisles and in the pit people from 18-80 were getting their groove on.
Stage One is one of the best venues in the state and the home of a wide variety performers. March Fourth Marching Band was yet another special evening there. I think everyone left smiling and feeling like they got their $20 worth.