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Bloodsong of Love at Ars Nova

Tumbleweeds rarely cross Midtown West, and shoot-outs are now infrequent. But don't tell young composer Joe Iconis, who deems Tenth Avenue a fine location for whiskey swilling and gunslinging. In Bloodsong of Love, directed by John Simpkins, Iconis presents a "Rock 'n' Roll Spaghetti Western" on Ars Nova's teensy stage. The plot concerns the Musician (Eric William Morris), whose true love, Santa Violetta (MK Lawson), is kidnapped by a kazoo-wielding villain, Lo Cocodrillo (Jeremy Morse).

Iconis has created 10 songs, plus numerous reprises, that offer enjoyable pastiches of folks like Ennio Morricone, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton, ably performed by a five-member band. Less happily, he has also supplied the book and lyrics, and while several lines are inspired, most sound feeble. For example, Lo Cocodrillo insists that "It's not the size of the dog in the fight/It's the size of the dick on the dog in fight." This is not only crass, but in my limited experience of fighting dogs, quite wrong. The plucky cast, however, seem to enjoy every dreadful metaphor. They also enjoy dousing each other with gallons of stage blood. Be warned, front row: This spaghetti western comes with extra red sauce.


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