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The Finkles' Theater Show

By Julie York Coppens · June 4th, 2010 · Fringe

Critic's Pick

Meet the Finkles: Carl and Wanda, plus Tinkles Sprinkles, the cutest kitty you’ll ever see outside of a kindergarten production of Cats. They’re theater lovers, just like you. And tonight, for the first (and probably last) time, the Finkles are going to put on a whole darn show, right here at Know Theater, all by themselves. You don’t want to miss it.

The Finkles’ Theater Show, a gleeful hour of stage calamities conceived by Minneapolis-based partners Ryan Lear and Rachel Petrie, could become the breakout hit of the 2010 Cincy Fringe. Cleverly constructed, sharply written and hilariously performed, it’s a simultaneous celebration and lampoon of all that is sacred and silly in the histrionic realm.

Squeaky scenery? Check. Exposition-heavy dialogue? Present. Stagehands we’re not supposed to see? Got ’em. Unappealing yet ridiculously overpriced intermission refreshments? Yup. Musical numbers that go on a few “eights” too long, complete with cheesy choreography and the inevitable miscues from the sound board? You betcha.

But there’s also that moment when everything suddenly comes together, and we feel the love of art and life that’s brought us together in this special place for an experience we’d be unable to have anywhere else.

OK, it’s a fleeting moment. And at other times, those floundering Finkles really do try our patience.

But it’s impossible not to root for Carl and Wanda in their attempt to pull off this theatrical extravaganza — he sporting high-waters, plaid shirt and an overbite; she equipped with ballet slippers, fanny pack and a hair scrunchie. Soft-spoken, self-effacing and oddly adorable, the couple bat away mishaps like Tinkles Sprinkles with so many balls of yarn. Still, this is their first public performance, and as the metatheatrical “opening” of their “show” approaches, the Finkles feel some trepidation.

“What if we go to all this work and it doesn’t make sense?” Carl fusses.

“It doesn’t have to make sense,” Wanda assures him. “It’s theater!”

Carl remains doubtful. He imagines the first critical pan: “This show didn’t make any sense and seemed very contrived and I’m a bitter person. Zero stars.”

Wanda predicts a different kind of review, which happens to be my own: “I really like those Finkles … five stars!”

(Get upcoming performance dates and venue details here.)



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