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Strange Dreamz

By Rick Pender · June 2nd, 2012 · Fringe
Kevin J. Thornton has a following after multiple appearances at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. In 2011 his comic monologue and music act, I Love You (We’re Fucked), was a big draw (as was his earlier show, Sex, Dreams & Self Control), and this year’s Strange Dreamz opened to a full house at the Hanke 2 venue on Main Street. (In fact, the start was delayed briefly because some people who purchased standing-room tickets apparently had to be chased out of seats.)

There’s good reason for those crowds: Thornton tells stories from his life with great humor, constantly connecting with the audience and responding to their hilarity at his outlandish tales of gay life and adolescent sex.

He breaks things up with musical interludes, playing his grandfather’s acoustic guitar with an electric pick-up and singing Pop tunes that illustrate or reflect some of his themes. (He opened the evening with Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.”)

I’ve seen Thornton perform several times and enjoyed each performance, but there’s not much variety to his act. If you’ve seen it in the past and have a good memory, you’ll recognize that some of his stories are recycled. Early in the hour-long performance he told the audience that the material is 90 percent new, “10 percent lazy.” When he asked the audience how many of them had attended one of his performances previously, perhaps a third of the audience raised hands. He amended his statement to, “Well, maybe that’s 80-20.” But I felt as if I’d heard about half of it before, and the new stuff is a lot like the old stuff.

That being said, if you’re not put off by his frank humor about sexuality (his story about his adolescent fling with a store mannequin is a scream), you’ll find Thornton a charming stage performer. I’m not sure why he calls this particular collection of stories Strange Dreamz, but watching him perform again is like listening to songs by one of your favorite musicians — you don’t really get tired of them, and they grow on you.



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