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June 14, 2015:

Sin: A Pop Opera reviewed by Rob Stevens

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Saudia Yasmein is the devilish Santana

Scott Claus’ Sin: A Pop Opera in the Hollywood Fringe Festival covers very familiar ground but is worth a look and a listen. The 80-plus minute sung-through musical has a variety of musical styles from rock to pop to pastiche, all the work of conceiver, composer, director Scott Claus. The disgruntled Devil, herein named Santana and embodied by the sensuous, sexy and gutsy diva Saudia Yasmein, is once again trying to get the best of her creator, herein called Luis and played with basso profondo to spare by Rich Brunner. Santana easily seduces down on his luck former record producer extraordinaire Devlin (Christopher Robert Smith). He eagerly signs a contract with the devil to regain his Hollywood clout and agrees to win the soul of young innocent Faith (Sara Kennedy), a country western singer he soon turns into a Lady Gaga-ish pop star, complete with the fashion and the drugs. Even though she is easily seduced by the fame and brought down by the drugs, Faith believes in love and willingly offers her soul to save Devlin from damnation.

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Christopher Robert Smith backed up by Natalie Williams and Kirby Harrell

Yasmein commands the stage and your attention. This diva should be on everyone’s radar soon. Smith and Kennedy possess fine voices and are a good match. Brunner is a bit stiff and drab as Luis. The cast sings to tracks and live music would be even better for these voices. The show’s one big faux pas is the over the top and repetitious choreography by dancers/choreographers Kirby Harrell and Natalie Williams on the club’s tiny stage. The one song where they should really be involved, a spicy tango for Santana and Luis, they are absent from the scene.

3stars

Three Clubs Stage Room, 1123 N. Vine St. in Hollywood. June 23, 26, 28. www.hollywoodfringe.com

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