Head Aims High, Sometimes hits its target
KC Fringe Festival
There's a lot going on in the ninety minutes of Head. Sometimes too much. Queen Herodius is bitchy because her subjects are fomenting revolution. New husband (and new king) Herod thinks he has things under control. Salome, Herodius' daughter and Herod's niece is beloved by all. A mysterious prophet seems to be stirring up the revolution. Salome, desired by all, is attracted to the prophet, the one man who doesn't desire her.
Into this mix, writer/director Kyle Hatley throws players in this ongoing political and sexual struggle. The court fool is used as a pawn between the King and Queen. A movie star is being groomed as Salome's husband. The court Chef knows more than he says. There are bishops, scientists, politicians,poets and soldiers. Many, many soldiers. And outside the palace walls, a gasoline soaked rabble is waiting to make the country burn.
But it is a large bowl of stew we have here and not all ingredients work. And the ending seems as if it were tacked on, not in line with the rest of the piece.
There is some very fine acting in this play. Natalie Liccardello gives a brave and passionate performance in an essentially unplayable part. How does one act as the object of desire for all? Natalie gives it an awful good try.
Grant Prewitt is quite wonderful as the Fool, traditionally the only honest man in the court. His rage builds through the show to give a strong patina of menace. Zachary Andrews is perfect as the Movie star, as is Kelly Gibson as his overly officious assistant. Alan Boardman gives a remarkably soulful performance as the Chef. Boardman has been giving tremndous performances for years and is finally getting his due. Also noteworthy are Pete Weber as a government thug and Andrea Morales as a maid with the responsibility of cleaning up escalating messes.And Keenan Ramos's scenes as the prophet are powerful and moving.
This play looks into the nature of power and desire and makes some pithy observations about how the two easily overlap, but with so much going on, sometimes the message fails. However, a worthy try and easily the most professional looking performance I saw at Fringe.
read the review at KC Stage