Saga has already provided plenty of opportunities for parody, and the
bare-bones performance outfit, Ornamental Messiah from Newport, adds
another to the list with their 60-minute production of Third
performance based on social activism isn’t in and of itself very
fringy. Lots of artists till that field in their works. But when a
performance ambitiously asks audiences to participate in social
experiments and does so in a strangely uplifting way, well, that’s
mistakes Madeline made, which give title to this 75-minute excursion
into wanton lack of bathing and job despair, are exactly those our
heroine Edna adopts as her personal route to coming of age and
meeting life on its own terms.
how-do-we-get-grown-up story seems appropriate for the annual intern
project at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (ETC), this year the work of
five actors, directed by fellow intern Jenny Estill.
Kevin J. 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.”)
Radio drama was a
distinct art form in the middle of the 20th century, and
Tanya O’Debra’s Fringe show, Radio Star, evokes
that evocative mode of storytelling, complete with sound effects,
with a distinctly modern filter.
you’re concerned about seeing modern dance and not “getting it,”
fear not. Pas de Monkéy Dance Project from Akron wants to keep dance
accessible — friendly, even. The young company affiliated with the
University of Akron might be gaining the training and the chops for
serious dance, but they don’t take themselves too seriously.
A musical based on an
iconic supernatural comedy from 1984 is the kind of show we’ve come
to expect during the Cincinnati Fringe. But there’s nothing
expectable about Don’t Cross the Streams, which begins with
that notion and then processes and reprocesses the idea to a point of
Tommy Nugent is a
familiar Cincinnati Fringe performer: Starting in 2007, he’s been
here with Tommy Nugent’s The Show and Tommy Nugent’s
Burning Man Redux. He’s a monologist grounded in public
speaking — not exactly a theater guy, but someone who’s totally
comfortable in front of an audience. Although in the program for this
year’s Fringe offering, American Badass in Cincy, he writes,
“I’m no longer compelled to put my name in every show title,”
his subject matter is focused completely on … Tommy Nugent.
I’m not inclined to
give you more detail than the program notes about what is “in”
the show. Yes, indeed, there is mesmerizing mindreading, crazy
karaoke, ventriloquist figures, a soulful song (oh my god, it is
really, really soulful) and he does make out with a puppet. You also
learn the secret trick as to how you too can get a one-man show in
the Cincinnati Fringe.
Jeanne MamLuft is a
brainy director and accomplished choreographer (and filmmaker), and
it shows. Latitude, at the Hanke 1 performance space on Main
Street, gives MamLuft & Co. Dance the latitude, or room for
maneuver, if you will, to present modern dance in a fresh way.
box Audrey is trapped in is a theater box office, and she is the
voice on the phone. Audrey’s calling is indeed the theater, but her
goal is the stage itself, not selling tickets to the audience. This
funny exercise in frustration was written by Casey Pilkenton, who
also plays Audrey and recorded all the various voices of those who
an age when social media promotes the notion of conversation over
professionally prepared content, this type of show is definitely in
step with the times, but it fails to recognize that a strong guiding
hand and ready wit are needed to pull off this kind of daring
Chicago-based artist and speaker Rebecca Kling, a transgender woman,
delivers some factual and personal answers as she earnestly covers a
range of trans- and sex-related topics in her one-woman Fringe show,
Storms Beneath Her Skin.
you’re easily offended, this is not the show for you. If you
aren’t, just park your PC-ness at the door. The opening-night
audience members appeared to enjoy the improv comedy antics and
colorful songs … and the quick-turn insults. I’m talking about
the aptly titled The
Screw You Revue,
courtesy of Screw You Entertainment from Naples, Fla.
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.