KC Fringe Festival
My highest hopes for the 2010 Fringe Festival were realized on opening night. I have great expectations for the rest of the week, but no matter what else is out there, "Good-bye Kansas" is definitely a show not to miss.
Directed by Seth Golay, a top-notch five-member cast created a fantastic and decidedly Midwestern world of metaphysical dimension that was downright mind-blowing. Writer and lyricist Frankie Krainz appears as William Inge, disporting himself with agility in Dorothy's rubiest slippers as a kind of wizard with a direct line to the divine. Merle Moores is our Everywoman seeker, spurred by revelation — or was that a psychic break? Spinning around them is a company of characters more numerous than the outstanding actors who create them: Katie Kalahurka, Vanessa Severo and Matt Weiss. Their performances are simply amazing, but by no means simple: we can pour ourselves into this play and hardly know where we've been when we come out the other side.
And it's a musical! Jeremy Watson on piano and Brad Athey on violin, sometimes singing, weave a magical world of sound from center stage that sweeps into the foreground in full-scale musical numbers choreographed by David Ollington. At other times, plain Kansas harmonies express deep truths to wonderful effect.
As does this entire theatrical experience. The first-night curtain was late, but well worth the wait. Give yourself time afterwards to let it keep working on you: I'd have liked to lie in the grass and look up at the stars with someone who'd seen the show, too. As it was, it's been working on me since, and I mean to go back. Save me a seat!
read the review at KC Stage