I had not seen the Burying Beetles in action before, but here, under the direction of Cheryl Couch, their approach is manic — they crank up the energy as high as it will go, then toss in jalapeños. While the first half of this “play” (and I use the term “play” loosely) involves audience participation, the collective is kind enough to involve only those audience members who want to participate. So if you’re not in for that sort of thing, rest easy: They won’t yank you onto the stage.
There are assorted game shows in which these volunteers take part — each one proves the superiority of the victor. There is also much video (or film) footage of Rand being interviewed. I’m reminded of when Roy Cohn used to appear on Nightline: Rand, like Cohn, had the beady eyes of the paranoid. Information in this 50-minute romp flies at you faster than the speed of a ticker tape — and very little, if any, of it flatters Rand.
This production is a very physical, even at time swarthy, affair. These actors go at their business hammer, tongs, sweat and navel wax. Though there is a good deal of body heat thrown off by these actors, by the end there’s a discernible chill. As most good theatre is, And the Rand Played On... is a cautionary romp, and the mirror it holds up sets off alarms.
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: 9:15 p.m. May 31, 8 p.m. June 2, 9 p.m. June 4 and 7 p.m. June 5 at Art Academy Auditorium. Find more of CityBeat's ongoing 2013 Cincy Fringe Festival coverage, including performance reviews, commentary and venue details, here.