Offbeat & Odd

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To seek theater with a side of adventure, Justin recommends veering off the beaten path to find these quirky, one-of-a-kind performances.

The Wonderfully Weird White Rabbit

I remember reading about the idea to transform a Rent-A-Center into a cabaret in Fountain Square and feeling a bit doubtful of its odds for success. Yet, it didn't take long for it to become one of my favorite venues to discover an offbeat performance. Walk in the small, intimate bar with its quirky and quaint old-fashioned decor, and you are likely to make friends as you take in its selection of craft beers and cocktails.

These days the White Rabbit seems to specialize in turning game shows into performance art. I recently entered The Spilling Bee, an adult take on the contest where contestants earn a free beer for each correct answer, but get it wrong and risk the scorn of frumpy Frau Heifer. I am still ashamed of myself for the word I misspelled. The Burlesque Bingo Bango Show is a popular draw featuring the Muncie Brothers and White Rabbit owner Debra Silveus, or rather her alter ego Betty Alabaster. There is also a dating game show Let's Make a Date and the new variety hour Lloyd & Harvey's WowieZowie Show. Check the calendar frequently or just waltz in and take a chance on whatever wacky event is happening that night

Alabaster Betty and the Muncie Brothers revel in rewarding terrible prizes at Burlesque Bingo Bango. - COURTESY OF WHITE RABBIT CABARET
  • Courtesy of White Rabbit Cabaret
  • Alabaster Betty and the Muncie Brothers revel in rewarding terrible prizes at Burlesque Bingo Bango.

The Always Surprising NoExit Performance

NoExit Performance is always on the move, but loyal audience members track them down show-by-show. Often the space adds to the delightful experience, but occasionally, the location elevates the show to an experience unparalleled anywhere else in Indianapolis. Such was the case in last week's too-short run of Danny and the Deep Blue Sea by John Patrick Shanley. The performance weaved the audience, capped at 20, through the apartment as an exhausting night in the lead couple's new romance unfolded around us. We were so close to the action, at one point I had to jump back to miss getting hit with a pillow. The play is at its best during an intimate scene that takes place in the bedroom, where a couple's baggage and quirks come undone. Under the beautiful direction of Michael Burke, newlyweds Justin Wade and Georgeanna Wade Smith gave natural, unflinching performances. Next up is NoExit's dark and eccentric retelling of The Nutcracker in December.

The Delightful Q Artistry

I am grateful a few times a year Q Artistry gives me reason to travel to charming Irvington. Fitting to the neighborhood, Q Artistry's haunting Cabaret Poe has become an October tradition. Q Artistry director Ben Asaykwee fronts this original musical retelling of Edgar Allen Poe's creepy works and is joined by a rotating cast of terrific local actresses. Q Artistry also commits to bringing the Irvington community into the arts fold with its annual Q-munity Productions. These shows feature experienced and professional actors performing right next to community members and those who've never set foot on stage. The next one, The Thirsty Tournament, is a new family-friendly spoof on the Hunger Games.

Cabaret Poe's cast includes Julie Lyn Barber, Renae Stone and Ben Asaykwee. - COURTESY OF Q ARTISTRY
  • Courtesy of Q Artistry
  • Cabaret Poe's cast includes Julie Lyn Barber, Renae Stone and Ben Asaykwee.

Art In Odd Places -- Literally

This coming weekend the idea of finding innovative art anywhere is celebrated through the Art in Odd Places (AiOP) festival in Indianapolis. Friday and Saturday you'll be able to wander up Market Street to Monument Circle and discover music, art installations, dance and well, who knows what? The surprise of it all should be half the fun. (And to learn more about the inspiration behind AiOP and some of its participating artists, check back here at Sky Blue Window around mid-week to read Jennifer Delgadillo's story about it.)

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