Chicago Fringe Opera’s Lucrezia Credit: Courtesy Chicago Fringe Opera

Chicago Fringe Opera shows off its cast in a warm-up cabaret act of William Bolcom songs in the Chopin Theatre’s cozy underground lounge, then moves into the adjacent black box theater for a deliciously droll production of this one-hour romp of an opera, scored for two pianos and five singers. Composed by Bolcom in 2007—and based on a 16th-century play by Machiavelli called La Mandragola—and benefiting greatly from Mark Campbell’s hilarious lyrics, it’s the story of a woman who likes sex and gets it, along with everything else she wants, by outwitting the men in her life, including her husband and lover. Strong comic performances all-round, and some especially nice singing by Matthan Ring Black, as the fixer with an elixir. As she should, Ashley Kay Armstrong, in the title role, rules.   v