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Breaking Rank!

0 Comments · Thursday, May 31, 2012
Watching Howard Petrick perform his self-written, autobiographical, one-man show, Breaking Rank! was a bit of a time-machine trip for me. Petrick is just a few years older than I, and his cultural frame of reference — growing up in the 1960s and resisting American aggression in Southeast Asia — was very much the same as mine.  

Blown Up (Recommended)

1 Comment · Thursday, May 31, 2012
The kids are all right. They know everything about the birds and bees, to say nothing of blow-up dolls, and they’ve been watching the grownups. Very carefully.  

Grim & Fischer: A Deathly Comedy in Full Mask (Recommended)

1 Comment · Thursday, May 31, 2012
From the opening moment of Grim & Fischer, presented by Wonderheads, a two-person troupe from Portland, Ore., you know this is going to be something special. A lone figure slinks on stage to the strains of Mozart’s Requiem, carrying a black letter. His movements are precise, with the intense comical elegance you get from the best of the old Warner Brothers animations.   

Methtacular (Recommended)

1 Comment · Thursday, May 31, 2012
Steven Strafford is one hell of a performer. But his young adult life as a promiscuous, gay, crystal meth addict was one hell of a mess. He courageously and humorously lays it all out in Methtacular, a monologue of 80 entertaining and unpredictable minutes.   

Rodney Rumple’s Random Reality

0 Comments · Thursday, May 31, 2012
The Performance Gallery is the only troupe to have presented a show at every Cincinnati Fringe Festival since its inception. Many of those previous productions have been intricate and brilliant, while a few were brave experiments that didn’t quite take flight. Unfortunately, Rodney Rumple’s Random Reality falls into the second category.  

The Sweet, Burning Yonder (Recommended)

0 Comments · Thursday, May 31, 2012
With imaginative but rudimentary costumes and minimal sets and props, the ensemble cast of The Sweet, Burning Yonder, directed by Michael Burnham, brought John Ray’s often poetic, streaming language to vivid life in its opening performance.   

2012 FringeNext: You Will Have 25 Minutes to Complete This Essay

0 Comments · Thursday, May 31, 2012
You Will Have 25 Minutes To Complete This Essay is one of two teen-created shows in this year’s FringeNext category. Written and directed by Alexx Rouse, it is a happy breeze of a piece that plays against teen stereotypes by speaking directly to them and then surprising you again with odd little twists.  

Female Desires

1 Comment · Thursday, May 31, 2012
Female Desires is a collection of monologues expressing the desires, needs, challenges and fears of young women today. Written by Eliza Martin, the piece is organized into four quartets of interwoven stories, loosely connected to each other thematically.    

Quake: A Closet Love Story (Recommended)

0 Comments · Thursday, May 31, 2012
There’s a rift between Joe and Hannah, the couple at the epicenter of New Edgecliff Theatre’s Fringe piece, Quake: A Closet Love Story, by Tyler Olson. Once upon a time, the two were married and in love. But recently, they’ve split.   

Fire … and Lots of It

There’s a ton of fine Cincy Fringe shows still to be seen

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 8, 2011
The 2011 Cincinnati Fringe Festival will wrap up this weekend. It’s been another year of oddball acts and powerful performances. CityBeat’s Fringe review team has been out and about on your behalf, catching the first performances of most shows and posting those reviews on a special Fringe page at citybeat.com for you to read about.  

The Masculinity Index

1 Comment · Tuesday, June 7, 2011
I suspect that the word “dude” has never been uttered so many times in so few minutes. John Ware and William Brown, both drama students at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music, invite you to hang out in the cluttered dorm room that is the 40-minute play The Masculinity Index. This snapshot shows us two aimless, barely post-adolescent, middle-class white males waxing and whining introspective about the “space between boyhood and manhood” and pledging to be each other’s bros/wingmen, a la Top Gun.  

101 Rules for Dating (Review)

1 Comment · Tuesday, June 7, 2011
101 Rules for Dating (of which you will hear 20 or so…), a relationship seminar from the crack comedy team Megan Venzin and Emily Althaus, will make you laugh. An Art Academy lecture hall, complete with flip-up desks for note-taking, is the perfect setting for this informative yet cozy confessional led by a couple of love experts whose credentials seem dubious, despite the fact that they’re both wearing lab coats.  

You Only Live Forever Once

2 Comments · Monday, June 6, 2011
Humor involving puppets and live action, spies and parody can be dicey. It’s easy to slip right off the edge and down the slippery slope of silliness. But the creative talents who comprise Four Humors Theater in Minneapolis (back for their fourth consecutive year at the Cincinnati Fringe) have solid footing when it comes to knowing how far to push things.  

The VindleVoss Family Circus Spectacular! (Review)

0 Comments · Monday, June 6, 2011
Not so fast with that exclamation point. The VindleVoss Family Circus Spectacular!, a charming two-hander from Cincy Fringe favorite Karim Muasher (of Giant Bird fame) and partner Carrie Brown, has all the makings of a great show: An original concept. Memorable characters. Comedy. Pathos. Puppets. Live tigers (sort of). The most inventive use of props you’ll see on any festival stage this year.  

Miss Magnolia Beaumont Goes to Provincetown (Review)

1 Comment · Sunday, June 5, 2011
The art of the improbable premise is a standard at any Fringe Festival. What counts is not the unlikely starting point, but how one develops and delivers from the unreasonable setup. Miss Magnolia Beaumont Goes to Provincetown (presented at the 1423 Vine venue), written and performed by Joe Hutcheson and directed by Cheryl King, shows that style, imagination, intelligence, heart, talent and daring are what make such productions worth the gamble.