WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Rick Pender 06.01.2012
Posted In: Theater at 09:32 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: Fringe, 'Avenue Q,' CSC, etc.

There’s more theater and performance than you can shake a stick at in Over-the-Rhine this weekend, thanks to the 2012 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. (In fact, if you stand on a corner in OTR and shake a stick, you could be mistaken for a Fringe act …) You can read about all the Fringe productions that are up and running here, but here’s half-dozen shows that CityBeat’s reviewers have recommended: Grim & Fischer: A Deathly Comedy in Full-Face Mask (this one has a limited run, closing on Saturday, and it’s had brisk box office since it opened on Wednesday); Methtacular (a one-man show about a musical theater actor who’s a gay crystal-meth addict); Sweet, Burning Yonder (an eco-sensitive comedy about the weird aftermath of Hurricane Katrina); Quake: A Closet Love Story (about a broken-up couple trapped in a closet after an earthquake); Don’t Cross the Streams (a full-fledged musical that starts with a movie about busting ghosts and spins way beyond); and Blown Up (a FringeNext production by high schoolers). Go to cincyfringe.com for more information about schedules and tickets. While it’s not part of the Fringe, Avenue Q, presented by Showbiz Players at Covington’s Carnegie Center, has the same zany vibe. It’s an X-rated musical with puppets that might visually remind you of Sesame Street — until they open their dirty mouths. The show was a surprise Tony Award winner several years back, and it promises lots of laughs for those who go. Through June 10. 859-957-1940. If you want something more traditional, try Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s production of The Merchant of Venice, one of Shakespeare’s most difficult plays. It’s officially categorized as a comedy because it has humorous and romantic elements. But the central story about a potentially fatal argument between a moneylender and a businessman is anything but amusing. CSC’s artistic director Brian Isaac Phillips takes on the role of the rapacious moneylender who has faced anti-Semitic discrimination for his entire life. Is Shylock a villain or a victim? Shakespeare gives him aspects of each, and CSC’s production does not tilt in either direction. You get to decide, and it won’t be easy. Box office: 513-381-2273, x1. Be sure to consider downtown’s newest performance venue, Speakeasy Theatre, storefront space at 815 Race Street. Their inaugural production is Paul Baerman’s The Whistler, set in 1965 in an unnamed Southern city awash in racist attitudes. The Andy Griffith Show is in its fifth season, and the guy who whistles the theme (played here by local professional actor Michael G. Bath) is living off his royalties. But life gets more complicated when he meets an African-American trumpet player (played by Tony Davis) who shares his passion for music. The Whistler will be onstage through June 10. Box office: 513-861-7469 Each week in Stage Door, Rick Pender offers theater tips for the weekend, often with a few pieces of theater news.
 
 

Don’t Cross the Streams (Recommended)

0 Comments · Friday, June 1, 2012
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 ridiculous hilarity.   

Where Is My Mind? (Recommended)

1 Comment · Friday, June 1, 2012
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.   

Trapped in a Box (Recommended)

1 Comment · Friday, June 1, 2012
The 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 call.  

Latitude (Recommended)

0 Comments · Friday, June 1, 2012
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.  

The Storms Beneath Her Skin

0 Comments · Friday, June 1, 2012
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, The Storms Beneath Her Skin.   

Cecily and Gwendolyn’s Fantastical Anthropological Inquisitorial Probe

0 Comments · Friday, June 1, 2012
In 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 endeavor.   

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.   

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