Unlike the characters in Peyote Business Lunch, Artemis Exchange’s high-octane entry in the 2011 Cincy Fringe, you don’t have to ingest anything to have your head turned around several times. The cast of four (performing at the gallery space at ArtWorks, 20 E. Central Parkway, enter from Jackson St.) will keep you laughing, furrowing your brow and being amazed for the entire 65 minutes you’re there.
Matt Johnson’s solo improvisational piece, Tooth and ’Nuckle, at the very-out-of-the-way and very cool Hanke 2 space (1128 Main St.), might not be for the faint of heart, even by Fringe standards. The setup is pretty straightforward. A bare stage sports a phalanx of masks and puppets fashioned out of grocery bags, and audience members are invited make a selection for Johnson to use as starting points for off-the-cuff scenes and soliloquies.
The Color of Harmony kicked off the first-ever FringeNext series of shows. FringeNext is a new Fringe category that invites performances produced, created, and performed by high school students. It was presented in the black box theatre of the new School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) by the next generation of theatre artists.
The premiere of The First Book of the Bible was the first sold-out show of the 2011 Fringe. One of three entries in the new FringeNext category (works produced, created and performed by teens), this work by School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) seniors storms out of the gate with all the makings of a successful Fringe show.
Kathleen O’Neill has spent the last eight years writing The God Blog, a corporate-satire-within-a-radio-play, set in heaven and staffed by Old Testament figures (performed at the Art Academy of Cincinnati). She and director Shawn Maus, who also plays the role of God, have assembled an enormous (by Fringe Festival standards) cast and crew to live-produce this radio drama.
For the 2010 Cincinnati Fringe, Jimmy Hogg’s confessional storytelling and precocious, high-velocity comic delivery won him a Critic’s Pick award for his monologue A Brief History of Petty Crime. The Fringe-circuit veteran returns to the 2011 Fringe this year with Curriculum Vitae, a chronology of his humorous and humiliating experiences in the working world.
It’s pretty typical for our culture to be afraid of that which we don’t know. We see it every day on TV news and in daily conversations around the water cooler. But what we probably rarely see is the reaction on the other end, how it affects the object of our fear. That’s one of the principle reasons why Headscarf and the Angry Bitch is so welcoming and accessible. And frankly, so needed.
Ideas and ambitions come in all shapes and sizes, and the three modern-dance works that comprise the triptych of S/M/L, presented by MamLuft& Co. Dance, are each in their own way small, medium and large. The first piece, Small: Restless Hands Under a Trembling Table, opens arrestingly enough with a pair of dancers dressed in white, and wrapped in a long red fabric stretching from the opposite side of the stage.
On first blush, there’s nothing terribly Fringe-y about Denali (performed at Know Theatre). It’s a fairly straightforward play from Iowa’s Working Group Theatre about three childhood friends who get back together for the first time since a tragic mountain-climbing accident claimed the life of the one person who tied the others together. How could one of them profit from the harrowing story by way of a best-selling memoir? What are the others hiding? Will the truth ever come out?
As its puzzling mouthful of a title suggests, Transfringement: Circus Mojo Refudiates the Norm is a quirky show with a few too many balls in the air. Five diverse performers from this Ludlow, Kentucky-based circus troupe and training center take turns charming and occasionally impressing the audience with a series of old-school stunts.
Serenity Fisher, creator of Sophie’s Dream, the 2010 Audience Pick of the Fringe, has again brought her hyper-personal and very sincere brand creativity to a Fringe stage with Opal Opus: Journey to Alakazoo. (It’s being presented at the “Hanke 2” venue, 1128 Main St.)
At the opening performance of Cincinnati-based Performance Gallery’s entry into the 2011 Fringe mélange I was sometimes puzzled at the direction the show was taking. But my attention rarely wandered far from the 14 very competent actors onstage who appeared in situations ranging from the absurd to the tongue-in-cheek. Creative credits are too many to list, including scripting, directing, conceptualization and development.
The seventh annual Cincy Fringe Festival finished last Saturday evening. And in a year when many arts organizations have suffered in attendance and revenue, the Fringe (operated by Know Theatre of Cincinnati) held its own. Sales of multi-day passes were almost identical to 2009, while single ticket sales declined slightly. Overall attendance for Cincy Fringe 2010 was 6,500. Average per-show attendance was similar to last year.
Playwright Fernando Dovalina says 'The Comfort of Anger' is a work in progress, and he's right. It's not there yet. There are big and important topics explored, some of them relatively unexplored, and Fringe is a good place to air them. But perhaps not all at once.
Johnny, a 14-year-old boy from New Jersey, is bullied by his peers and taunted by his Glee Club teacher for being "a little light on your feet." He soon splits for New York City to escape from his miserable life and find something better — particularly people who will appreciate him.