Saturday, July 31, 2010

Actor's Theatre "True West" review by Robert Trussell

Kansas City Actors Theatre offers a meticulous production of Sam Shepherd's "True West" anchored by two performances that can only be described as extraordinary.

Fringe Festival "Hanky Panky" review by ajennings

Hard to review
Rating: 5

Hanky Panky
KC Fringe Festival

For me, this show hit very close to home, and is quite hard to review. Let me explain. "Hanky Panky" is the story of the Gunther family, Joe, Mike, Ed, and Lorraine, who gather around the deathbed of their father. Having lost my grandmother in Nov, this was an eerily familiar sight.

Joining the family are Shelly, the nurse, Rev. Jess, and Kathy and Phyllis, who are Ed and Mike's wives. Everyone's character was well played, with Joe's performance being one of the best. Phyllis was very overprotective and negative, and Kathy's a fun clueless ditz.

I was crying at the end, and heard the rest of the audience sniffling along with me. I would like to say more, but can't find the words to describe this touching show. I encourage everyone to catch the final performance tonight (Sat) at 9:30pm.


read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Grind: The Musical" review by ajennings


I want to see it again!!!!!
Rating: 5

Grind: The Musical
KC Fringe Festival

I can't say enough good things about "Grind: The Coffeeshop and Comic Book Musical"!!! I loved it!!! This is the story of Coco who runs a coffeeshop in Minneapolis, MN, her brother, Dylan, her one employee, Perk, and all the regulars that come in and out of the coffeeshop. They're all dealing with their own lives and problems, like Coco's losing the shop space due to impending building demolition, and Perk's problems with helping support his family after moving from New Orleans after Katrina.

The cast consists of Maia Rodriguez (Coco), David Kornfeld (Dylan), Max Collyard (Perk), Alec Scott (Dan), Siri Hammond (Libby), Laura Stratford (chorus, writer), Diasuke Kawachi (chorus, orchestration), and Cari Jones (chorus). Every one of their performances is wonderful.

My favorites were Max (Perk) and Siri (Libby), and their song 'Something Brewing' is not to be missed. David (Dylan) on keyboards and beatboxing (sometimes at the same time) entertains the ear, and he's not bad to look at either! Siri (Libby)'s song 'People Watching' is funny.

My only concerns with this performance were that it didn't seem like Maia (Coco) had her mic turned on when she was singing, and the drum, played very well by Laura (chorus), overpowered the singing at times, especially in Alec (Dan)'s song 'The End of the World' (he's a street evangelist...what do you expect him to sing about?).

As I'm finalizing my schedule of shows to see this evening, I'm fervently wishing that I could see "Grind" again. Since I can't, you definitely should! Their final performance is tonight (Sat) at 6:30pm at The Pearl Living Room.



read the review at KC Stage

A look at the Lyric Opera's summer camp

When Emma Witbolsfeugen first attended the Lyric Opera’s summer camp four years ago, she was not excited.

more at The Examiner

Fringe Festival "Cirque du Gay" review by ajennings

The Happy Circus
Rating: 5

Cirque du Gay: The Happy Circus
by KC Fringe Festival

"Cirque du Gay: The Happy Circus" is the funniest circus I've been to in years! Dennis Porter and Peyton Westfall put on one wonderful performance after another, and dealt with technical problems well when the storm outside blew a breaker and the lights didn't come on, even quipping that we were in for the "Helen Keller performance".

'Magic To Do' opened the show, and got the audience smiling, laughing, and clapping from the very beginning. Other stand-out pieces were 'Never There', featuring Peyton, 'BBQ Burlesque' and 'Dances of All Times' featuring Dennis. They both interacted with the audience continually, especially when they decided to hold 'The Audition'.

I couldn't help but smile, laugh, hoot and holler through this wonderful circus. I encourage everyone to catch their final performance is Sun at 3:30pm at The Pearl Living Room!

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Driving the Body Back" review by ajennings

Introducing the family
Rating: 4

Driving the Body Back
KC Fringe Festival

Karan Founds-Benton is a wonderful soft-spoken storyteller in "Driving the Body Back". This wonderful introduction to her family, and stories about each member, are sweet to hear, as is her voice when she sings. I enjoyed the music, which was a mix of folk and Irish.

As she introduces each new family member, Karan pulls their photo from a care-worn box. Some of the family members were a little off-the-wall, like Uncle George. Julia's story is sweet and sad, and Aunt Nell is a character. I loved hearing about the Uncle (name forgotten) who ran alcohol for Al Capone during the Depression.

If you have time, I would suggest this quiet show. Remaining performances are tonight (Sat) at 11:30pm and Sun at 2pm.


read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Brawny Britches" review by WatchNSee

A second serving would be nice please?
Rating: 3

Brawny Britches
KC Fringe Festival

"Are you ready for something different, KC?" the ad for Brawny Britches asks us? "Yes We Are" I replied, as did throngs of people who poured into the Off Center Stage at Crown Center for a presentation of "Brawny Britches",  a male review of talented professional singers, dancers and actors that promised to bare all to an egger audience. This "BOYlesque"  show had some very handsome gentlemen and promised to be a very sexy show, and the promised nudity of these hunks of man flesh had the audience wiggling and wild in their seats wanting more.

Now by saying wanting more, I mean they wanted to see more titillation, a peek of firm backside or a tease of the possible flash of well hung manmeat, but it never happened.

The acts and skits were fun to watch, and the dances well performed, but this seemed rather tame compared to other BDU and other burlesque shows that filled Fringe goers viewing pleasures. All these men have grand physiques and are proud to show them, so show them off a wee bit more! Deliver the package to your waiting audience you Studly Men of Action, and I'm sure you will have your audiences coming again to see you over and over!


read the review at KC Stage

Cheryl Kimmi, Fringe Festival interview by Blake Hannon

When finding out about the groups performing at a particular event, you don’t expect to hear about a band of musicians and hoop spinners with the moniker Dumptruck Butterlips. Curious? Cheryl Kimmi, executive director of the KC Fringe Festival, has an explanation — a short one, anyway. “It’s fringe,” she simply states.

more at News Press Now

Fringe Festival "Myths and Bricks" review by WatchNSee

Can't Beat 'Em, Watch 'Em Anyway
Rating: 3

If You Can't Beat 'em Join 'em/ The Myths and Bricks Project
KC Fringe Festival

The Journeymen Theatre Company's presentations of "The Myth and Brick Report" and "If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em" was an experience I'm still trying to process. While the actors in each story shared with the audience a peek of the human psyche, the presentation itself was plagued with tech problems that kept distracting me. I also want to apologize to the performers for not listing your names here, but without a program I have no idea who you are, sorry.

The first story "The Myth and Brick Report" had a man sharing a deep and heart to heart conversation, the type of talk shared between lovers and soul mates ... with a brick. Could this be symbol of how sometimes a relationship is like talking to a brick wall? Could it be relating the struggle of man's fear of expressing himself to a partner? Could it be a fetishist confronting his darkest desires? Or could it be a nutter talking to a brick? To this reviewer, I had fun just watching him work through his process, which was real and heartfelt, making me wish the brick wasn't so cold and hard toward him. The premise was interesting and the actor gave us a performance that was memorable, but the presentation still was hurt by the technical bugs.

The next story given us "If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em" took the exploration motif to the psycho/social trek of the story's characters Lewis and Clark, as they explore drug interactions, community issues, family matters, and what this costs us as a society. This sometimes absurd and sometimes profound piece flowed into subjects and thought groups much like sand in a drainpipe when the actors were on a roll; the sand pours and fills the space, but after awhile too much slows it down. Personally, a little social commentary goes a long way. This story was a little too much making the story drag on longer than I think it should have. The actors did their parts well with high energy and grand presentation, but I still felt it was too much. Maybe the medicated world has made me "normal like the rest of us", but at times I found myself not listening to the message but distracted by the actors romping on stage or the tech issues.

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Myths and Bricks" review by TheatreDiva

WTF???
Rating: 3

If You Can't Beat 'em Join 'em/ The Myths and Bricks Project
KC Fringe Festival

Absurdist theatre is not my cup of tea. And like classical theatre, the acting has to be top-notch to even start to follow.

The two productions put on by Journeyman Theatre were both absurdist productions, and I'm still not quite sure what they were about.

Yet another Fringe show without a program for names, the first production was "The Myths and Bricks Report". According to the Fringe program description, "a man sits in a room, his only companion a brick that refuses to speak". The lone actor did a good job in interacting with the brick, but it was hard to understand the point of it. Not being able to hear the last line delivered at the back of the theatre didn't help much.

A long scene change between this and the next, "If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em" didn't help the show. It's about two characters named Lewis and Clark, who sit in a room with 'placebo blow' and have a Godot-esque conversation for most of the production. "Good thing we're normal now," says one of them after they are given 'anti-depressants' to "make you normal, like the rest of us". The writer interprets anti-depressants as the opposite of speed, as the two characters when 'normal' are quite boring to watch.

Plagued by tech issues throughout, it was well acted, even if I have no idea what the two scenes were about.

I'm not even sure if I could recommend it. It definitely fits the bill of a 'Fringe' show, and if you like absurdist theatre it might be right up your alley. But then again, trying to understand absurdist theatre is like talking to a brick.

Angie Fiedler Sutton

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Brawny Britches" review by TheatreDiva


That was it?
Rating: 3

Brawny Britches
KC Fringe Festival

When your preshow music includes a song from the stage version of "The Full Monty" and your show is touted as the male BDU, you're dealing with a pretty high set of expectations. Unfortunately, "Brawny Britches" never quite lives up to them.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a big fan of burlesque. In fact, I raved about "Naughty Knickers" in 2007 (which was BDU's first Fringe performance). And I've been looking forward to this before it was even suggested: in fact, last year, I had the idea of doing male burlesque myself, but couldn't afford the entry fee - and so was glad to see someone who could afford getting into the Fringe (and has a following) trying to pull this off.

Starting with "Eye of the Tiger", the first dance number set the bar for pure dirty fun. And there were a couple of skits and dances (most notably the strip juggling and the one with the top hat which will make me never look at them the same way again) that were really on the ball. However, there were too many others (such as the Bob Dylan "Like a Rolling Stone" where the signs of the angel and devil weren't quite in sync and far too much going on) that just left me flat.

Considering how much skin we normally see in a typical BDU production, I was also under-impressed with the actual strips offered by "Britches". It wasn't until the eighth item to where we even got some sexy underwear, with most of the others being baggy briefs or boxers. While I can understand the hesitance of showing full-frontal, at the same time showing a little ass isn't too much to ask for in a production that has 'guaranteed nudity' (according to the description). Couldn't they afford g-strings?

I was, however, impressed that BDU continued the tradition of casting a wide range of visual looks for the performers, and all the men had Attitude with a capital A that really sold the production. And BDU at least was smart enough to have their performances at a time and in a place where the booze can help loosen the audience up (and boy, were they loose).

Compared to what I've seen them do in the past, BDU's "Brawny Britches" was a bit too tame - and while it was an okay show, it had potential to be so much more.

Angie Fiedler Sutton

Read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Head" review by ajennings

Kyle Hatley tells more storiesRating: 5


Head
KC Fringe Festival

As a big fan of Kyle Hatley's work ever since I saw "Six" 2 years ago at the Fringe Fest, I couldn't wait to see "Head" this year, even though I had only the vaguest idea what this religious story was about.

"Head" is the story of King Herod who has just married his dead brother's wife, Queen Herodias. King Herod lusts, like every other man in the kingdom, for the Queen's daughter, Salome. Meanwhile, the Prophet is creating civil unrest outside the royal house, and the Queen is calling for his death. Anyone who knows the story (as I found out), knows that it ends with Salome dancing for the king and court, and in return she asks for the head of the Prophet on a silver platter.

The cast was wonderful, but a few players stood out in particular. Queen Herodias (Manon Halliburton) speaks very fast, and is very sharp-tongued, but despite both of these I had no problem understanding anything she said. The Alone Mother (Cynthia Rider) drew my attention as soon as she walked onstage. Her reasoning for calling King Herod a vampire seems funny at first, but as the story unfolds, I found it to be an apt description. Salome (Natalie Liccardello) is sneaky, sultry, savage, and almost snake-like at times.

All of these characters were worth mentioning, but I have yet to mention my favorites. The Fool (Grant Prewitt) is crazy and creepy, and I perked up every time he appeared. Lastly, the Waiter/Scientist (Todd Carlton Lanker) and the Caterer/Poet (TJ Chasteen) stole any scene they were in. They provided the comic relief and had me rolling with laughter.

I highly recommend "Head" to anyone who isn't extremely religious. I can't guarantee that Kyle Hatley followed the original story, but as the Fool says, "We fools don't tell stories as they are written. We tell them as we remember them."

Remaining performances are Sat at 10pm and Sun at 5pm at the Unicorn Main Stage.

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival recap by Robert Trussell

You may not have noticed, but the Kansas City Fringe Festival and the local theater community enjoy a symbiotic relationship that benefits everyone — the festival, local theater artists and audiences with a taste for the new and unusual.

Fringe Festival "Squeaky Wheel" review by ajennings

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Reliving memories
Rating: 4

The Squeaky Wheel -- LIVE!
KC Fringe Festival

When Brian Shaughnessy first rolled onstage in his electric wheelchair I didn't know what to expect. The obvious question I was thinking was "what happened to you?" He tells us "I used to tell people (the truth) until I came up with 3 versions...3 lies."

But the truth is the most compelling and believable of all: a botched spinal surgery made him a quadriplegic.

Having helped my sister through her own spinal surgery last year (and missed Fringe because of it), Brian's story was my worst fear in front of me. Through Brian's tales I relived memories of my sister's struggle, from first waking up unable to feel her legs, through long hospital stays, intense rehab, and tough-as-nails primary care nurses.

Brian has gone onto do so much, including traveling to KC for Fringe from Hawaii and writing a book. His story is uplifting and makes me very grateful that my sister's surgery turned out ok.

Remaining performances are Sat at 7pm and Sun at 2:30pm.

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Hefner Monologues" review by ajennings

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Thine own personal Vagina Monologues
Rating: 5

The Hefner Monologues
KC Fringe Festival

John Hefner puts on one of the funniest shows I've ever seen in "The Hefner Monologues" at the Arts Incubator. His first monologue about Tammy, and his description of how she's like plutonium had me rolling with laughter...and I never stopped!

Without giving too much away, I'll tell you that yes, John IS related to Hugh Hefner, but all he's gotten from that familial connection is "the name, a story, and a Pepsi."

Through his stories, and his life, John tells of his awkwardness growing up as a Hefner. After all, "how can you make a name for yourself when someone already has?" His awkward-chic drunken dancing, and adventures as Captain Buzzkill are not to be missed!

John, your friends were right when they told you to put your stories into a show. This is definitely "thine own Vagina Monologues."

Remaining performances are Sat at 10pm and Sun at 4pm.

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Resting Places" review by ChaimEliyahu

"Resting Places" Review
Rating: 4

Resting Places
by KC Fringe Festival

    "Resting Places" is an enlightening documentary about a specific cultural expression: the construction of roadside memorials. "Resting Places" is an engaging and wonderful tribute to an act of regionalism that is spreading throughout the world from the Hispanic Southwest that otherwise might have had its fifteen-minute treatment as "tackiness."
    Some people may not understand why anyone would want to erect roadside shrines that commemorate the last place a person was alive before being killed in a car crash and the cultural expression of "descanso." "Resting Places" makes sense of what might otherwise seem a nonsensical cultural expression, describing with clarity what would drive someone to remember a loved one where they died.
    At first, Villanueva's motivation felt unfocused:  the idea of "Resting Places" seems foreign to her vision as a filmmaker. But what may have begun as a student film project becomes disciplined as she tells stories of sorrow, loss and hope, in contrast with roadside danger and legal efforts to ban roadside memorials, countering stories of loss with assertions of government duty to inhibit people from "destroying public property," with no clear bias. Villanueva leaves it to the audience to decide how they feel about roadside memorials. She uses stories from all sides of debate over the controversy surrounding roadside memorials, using her direction to guide and educate the audience. As a result, "Resting Places" ends up as homegrown expression of a cultural expression unfamiliar to people in the Midwest.
    Villanueva is a local Kansas City filmmaker, using modest budgets and limited resources to turn out an enlightening documentary. Liam Neeson's narration gives the film added weight. "Resting Places" is an example of ethnography harnessed to a heart-wrenching story. Considering that the media usually smooth over the harsh realities of daily current events or filter them as a battleground of interests, this film carries us beyond ignorance and feels like homegrown enlightenment.

Matthew Frank

read the review at KC Stage


Friday, July 30, 2010

Fringe Festival "Hanky Panky" review by Robert Trussell

Vicki Vodrey’s “Hanky Panky,” receiving its world premiere at the Kansas City Fringe Festival, offers a comedic view of family relationships at their worst in a cleverly constructed play that sneaks up on you.

Plastic Sax looks at the Folly Jazz season

Word that Folly Theater executive director Doug Tatum was stepping down was greeted with a great deal of consternation in the Kansas City jazz community. Tatum, a genuine advocate of jazz, had curated the series for years. It turns out that the hand-wringing was seemingly unnecessary. The quality of the forthcoming season is incredibly strong.

more at Plastic Sax

Fringe Festival "Bathroom Confessions" review by juzwant2play

Rambling
Rating: 2

Bathroom Confessions
KC Fringe Festival

Saw this show on opening night and it lasted about 30 minutes. The humor was very juvenile and not very funny.  The acting was mostly stumbling around and obvious missed lines.

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Assemblage" review by juzwant2play


Well done
Rating: 3

Assemblage
KC Fringe Festival

The dancing was wonderful.  The sets were short but very well done.  I thought the show last year was better, but they have a very nice performance.

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "I Am My Imaginary Friend" review by ChaimEliyahu

I Met My Imaginary Friend!
Rating: 4

I Am My Imaginary Friend
KC Fringe Festival

The rich environment of The Fringe had me stumble into a chance meeting with "I Am My Imaginary Friend."  Well, I had it on my list, but hadn't figured out when. Then a misprint in the schedule made me miss a curtain: rather than waste an hour, I dashed over the XS Lighting on Broadway and sat myself down, with little expectation and too-few neighbors in the audience.

Too bad for those who weren't there, because we met an intelligent new friend in David Csontos of Lincoln, Nebraska, who dragged along his reluctant parents, his idiosyncratic gay identity and half of Hollywood. But this show was no drag: I was delighted to find it clever and entertaining, revealing and ultimately surprising.

Accompanied by a fellow actor from Lincoln and two from Kansas City — and Joan Crawford on film — this film scholar-turned-actor led us through an inventive series of scenes that gradually showed us what was said, what was not, what was seen, and what was admitted in the crucible of family. Though David escaped, there was more in his family closet than the usual skeletons. Our path of discovery came through shadowy noirish scenes on screen and stage, and a funny TV quiz show, all the way to the gun going off (though not really) by the end.

I'm even more interested now in seeing this company's other Fringe show, "My Night with Rock Hudson."  Thanks, festival organizers, for helping me stumble into a not-so-imaginary new friend.  Repeating Friday at 8, Saturday at 6:30 and Sunday at 3:30.

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Ogrot Presents: Take My Breath Away" review by J.A.Stowers

Comedic Timings of Ogrot Presents
Rating: 4

Ogrot Presents: Take My Breath Away
KC Fringe Festival

I've never quite seen a show, of any kind, start in the manner of Ogrot Present's "Take My Breath Away". The show opened with a fat man in a pizza suit and the words, "Hi. We're Ogrot Presents." The awkward silence that followed was quickly blown away by a series of amusing and culturally shocking sketches put on by the six Ogrot performers.

Memorable moments in the first half include a sketch about a pharmaceutical drug with the world's worst collection of side effects, a sketch about the way the world would appreciate commercials to be done, a riotously funny sketch about Bush's Baked Beans and the commercial dog after the secret recipe, and a quasi-vulgar, you-might-get-wet sketch about an inappropriate replacement to Prozac (a sketch that I'm still not sure if it was mocking people that need Prozac or simply used it as an excuse to perform a visually horrifying sight-gag.) Wrapping up the first half was a sketch that brought to life the Internet's Pandora Radio and all of the things we hate about it.

Following the Monty Python-esque intermission were sketches about what not to do in Vegas, James Earl Jones' worst day in voice acting, what happens when you listen to lame music, culturally offensive social networking, and a closer that illustrates the trying life of a comedian.

Starring in the show are;

Brad Bricktower: I think I've seen Brad (under a different name) in a number of plays and musicals around the Kansas City Area. Each time he appears on stage his ability to correctly interpret comedic timing and the quality of his vocal impersonations improve exponentially. In this show he wailed like a three-year-old who just watched her kitten be strangled by Santa Claus, beautifully portrayed a culturally insensitive stoner, and affected multiple different accents and personas flawlessly. He can be quite a bit too loud and sometimes it is obvious he's over-reaching at times but if you watch a show that has him in it and don't laugh at least once you might need to check and make sure you still have a pulse. Brad seems to be one of the ringleaders of this rag-tag group of comedians.

Allen Chaney: Allen's girth only seems to be matched by his sense of humor. I've met beautiful people that wouldn't have the courage to walk around in a pizza suit let alone try and make a living out of poking fun at every race, ethnicity, religion and creed. This is the first time I've seen Allen in any form of a performance. As far as I know this could even be his debut in the Kansas City Stage. He's rough around the edges and has a great distance yet to go, but he's funny and that isn't something that can't be picked up. Allen appears to be the other ringleader of this comedy troupe.

Ken Koval: Why does this mediocrity continue to show up in KC theatre. Ken Koval, is as always, indomitably Ken Koval. He seems to have no comedic timing. During the course of the show he seemed to drop lines and provided a stale, anemic performance that made my inner-comedian weep. There's a saying that says, "Those who can't teach" but I wouldn't let this poor man's comedian within twenty yards of a public school's improv class. In this instance I think we should be telling Ken to move to Branson. With all his faults in this show, I can say I appreciated how he could command the audience with his physicality and goofy facial expressions.  Most of the writing seemed to stand on its own without resorting to slapstick, but Ken was one of the only ones up there that fully physically adopted his characters.  Personally, though, I find his performances hard to watch, sometimes.

De'Markcus Howell: De'Markcus has a booming voice and a stature that makes David's goliath look like an anorexic midget. He provides a passing imitation of James Earl Jones (which is a lot harder than it sounds) and a great imitation of Bill Cosby (which is exactly as easy as it sounds). De'Markcus didn't get a lot of the show-stopping lines but the few he did he delivered competently and with great gusto. De'Markcus carries himself with a larger-than-life attitude that bleeds into his performance making him entertaining and believable. In this show that pokes fun at the topics that the politically correct comedians avoid, De'Markcus is far more than the token black guy.

Sean Yeung: He's the token Jackie Chan. Take that as you will. Beyond that, Sean seems to be the metronome for the show's tempo. He seems to be the most normal guy on the troupe.

Kate Pereverezva: Definitely the prettiest thing in Ogrot Presents. She provided an amusing if quiet performance and Ken's lines should have been given to her, De'Markcus, or Sean. She was only in three sketches but two of them made the second half of the show, proving that she is intended to be more than just eye-candy for the audience.

You can definitely tell that this is one of Ogrot's early performances. There is plenty for them to work on if they want to be a successful comedy troupe. But the show is filled with absurdist humor reminiscent of Monty Python or Gilbert and Sullivan. And they way they will address any topic in the most offensive manner reminds me a bit of George Carlin. This comedy team may have just clawed out of the comedy womb, but, much like Ridley Scott, they have a great deal of potential, and I, for one, intend to follow the natural extension of their career with interest. The missed lines and dropped jokes are endemic of the first tentative performances of any group and Ogrot is no exception but bear in mind that they are starting at a Fringe Festival not opening at the Apollo. Some of the greatest comedians, authors, and actors have come from humble beginnings and I give Ogrot a pretty good chance of making it.

read the review at KC Stage




Fringe Festival "Lot o' Shakespeare" review by ChaimEliyahu

One Man, Many New Looks at Shakespeare
Rating: 5

Lot o' Shakespeare!
KC Fringe Festival

For the last two years, I've caught Alan Tilson at the Fringe, and i highly recommend seeing his show this year.  This year, he's joined by another outstanding Shakespearean one-man-showman— Tim Mooney of Chicago — whom I also highly recommend.

In fact, how about  a double-header: seeing both Mooney's and Tilson's shows?  Then you can weigh in yourself on the KC Stage site as to whom (if either) you liked better by leaving your rating here.

The energetic and engaging Mooney introduces an element of chance to his show:  his program is set by the Bingo balls he draws randomly from a spinning cage containing 38 of them — meaning he has this many scenes ready to go!  One woman took away a Lot o'Shakespeare! T-shirt (also on sale) for her luck on the Bingo card we picked up with our tickets, and another  took away a CD (also on sale) for her yeoman's work in volunteering to read a couple of second parts on stage.

Along the way, we all were treated to a 54-minute tour de force comprising no fewer than 19 Shakespeare scenes and sonnets. A couple of times, the entire audience chimed in for a line or two by another character, in addition to the audience volunteer who joined Mooney onstage.

Mooney's interpretations were outstanding, and not infrequently cast new light on obscure corners of Shakespeare's work.  Why did my high-school English teacher never point out Mercutio's jealousy of Juliet, as Romeo's spurned gay lover? Or the flagrant queen's-ass-kissing in "Henry VIII"?  Or the sexual-harassment element of Angelo in "Measure for Measure"? Sure would have spurred our adolescent interest in the not-so-boring bard of Avon!

Mooney's interpretations were introduced by short, but illuminating commentary.  Spur yourself over to the Off Broadway theater for this: Friday at 6:30, Saturday at 8 or Sunday at 3:30.

read the review at KC Stage

Actor's Theatre "True West" preview by Steve Walker

There are many theatre roles – say, Romeo and Juliet – that should probably be retired from an actor’s repertoire by the time they’re 30. But what happens when actors return to roles they played much earlier in their careers? 

listen at KCUR

"Star Trek" writers to join "Khaaaaan! the Musical"

Fresh from Comicon in San Diego, "Star Trek" authors Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore will join "Khaaaaan! the Musical" for two special Saturday night performances. They will be available to autograph books and chat with theatre-goers before the play. The first showtime is 9:30 pm with a special late show at 12:30 am. Arrive early and meet Khan's special guests. Ward and Dilmore have published several novels that expand on the "Star Trek" universe. You can find out more about them at www.daytonward.com.

more at Khaaaan! the Musical

Fringe Festival "The Event" review by ChaimEliyahu

Paging Bertolt Brecht...
Rating: 5

The Event
KC Fringe Festival

"The Event" is the most completely archetypal Brechtian theater I've ever encountered.  Brecht posited that the theater should not cause us to become unconscious of its own illusory nature, lest we lose our critical awareness.  Bob Paisley has taken this all the way out, and the experience is far-out indeed.

Woops! A phrase from the past: he has something to say about that, too.  But I'm getting ahead of myself, because I — in my role in "The Event" — am a moron.  That is, I have the temerity to write and post my opinions — pardon me, my judgment — of this and other theatrical experiences, thus influencing who might decide to attend "The Event." (And I promise to share my judgement at the end.)  Actually, Bob said I *might* be a moron, and I must say I know what he means. (For instance, I've read interesting artistic work in this town written off as "uneven," like some ill-kept Midwestern lawn. What does that even mean, when one's deciding whether or not something's worth experiencing?)

But I digress, because unlike Bob — and as he points out later in the show — I have no script.  The distance between art and life winds up being a major theme of this piece, which is surprising.  This is because "The Event" is so much about itself — and events as a class — that it might remain purely self-referential.  But as we've all been told, all the world's a stage, and by the end of our 70 minutes together (this is a little longer than an hour) Paisley takes us back to the world in a way that resonates deeply with the audience. He's is gracious in suggesting that we in his audience are good actors in a much less well-made play than "The Event." (And here I must thank him for giving us the benefit of the doubt.)

It may be hard to believe, but as in "The Event" itself, it's very funny to have someone point out all the roles, relationships, mechanics, and ironies of the theatrical experience.  You'l just have to experience it yourself.

I won't say more than that my judgment is that this simple yet well-crafted play is the most substantively interesting I've seen so far at the Fringe — and it was my eleventh!  (And one more since.) Despite what he tells us toward the end of "The Event," I think Bob is quite trustworthy:  don't miss him!  He's back at the MET on Friday at 9, Saturday at 6, and Sunday at 2.

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "US & THEM Reunion" by roadrhythm

US & THEM
Rating: 5

The US & THEM Reunion- A Musical Battle of the Culture War
KC Fringe Festival

Jack Phillips has put together the 'Perfect Storm' of characters. Through brilliant song lyrics and performance, each character provides a vivid exposition of who they are in the puzzle of life. A web of intrigue draws in the audience to both the comfortable and uncomfortable. Masterfully we are exposed our judgment and assessments of others. Be ready to be fundamentally moved by US & THEM

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Goodbye Kansas" review by timlovestheatre

Say hello to 'Goodbye, Kansas'
Rating: 4

Goodbye Kansas
KC Fringe Festival

Are you Fringe-ing?  If not you are missing some of the best arts and entertainment that will happen in KC this year.  The festival enables a lot of productions to be done that normally would not see the light of day.    The process is basically a "how-to" for would be producers.  Okay, plug over.  Tonight's selection: "Goodbye, Kansas".  This show is exactly the kind of creative kernels that the Fringe was meant to foster.    From the fertile minds of Seth Golay and Frankie Krainz it is no exaggeration to say that this is not your father's musical.  Not unless your father's tastes lean heavily to Sondheim-ian, dark, disturbing and odd musical numbers.  Add in some deep emotional moments that feel like they are torn out of someone's real-life trauma and so personal to be almost uncomfortable.  But, don't let that scare you off there is plenty here to enjoy.

If the Fringe is the how-to, there are plenty of lessons on display in this show.

1.       If you are going to produce a new kind of musical get Jeremy Watson to be your musical director.  It doesn't hurt that he plays an excellent piano (although sometimes louder than the singers) and can ably provide some vocal assists.  Adding the violin and voice of Brad Athey doesn't hurt either.

2.      Next, enfant producers don't forget able and interesting lights from Jayson Chandley, because theatre in the dark is radio.   It doesn't hurt that the show had the luck (?) of landing on the Unicorn's main stage.

3.      Next, cast some of the best talent KC has to offer: Merle Moores, Frankie Krainz, Katie Kalahurka, Vanessa Severo and Matt Weiss.  This group brought a lot of talent and energy to the stage.  Individually or in ensemble they were a delight to watch, they all looked great and sounded great.   Some notes: For god's sake someone stage "Willy Wonka" and get Krainz in it stat!   Does anyone do a filthy hick better than Weiss?  Kalahurka can easily be the "go-to" actress in KC theatre's future.  Dear producers- more of Severo, onstage, singing!   Sweet, sweet, Ms. Moores- lovely at the Rep, lovely at the Shakespeare festival, lovely at the Dinner Theatre and lovely at the Fringe, welcome!

4.      Get some help with the details.  Don't overlook the need for a good choreographer (David Ollington), maybe a dramaturg (Justin Shaw) and a good stage manager (Amy Eisele).

Not all is perfect in "Kansas".  The music is well done, but not all of the numbers serve the plot very well.  The musical numbers are stylistically all over the map as well.  This might be defended as a compliment to a story that takes place mostly inside an addled mind but they seemed to serve a political purpose rather than the story.  Like the musical numbers the plot has a tendency to wander away from the point and sometimes club you over the head with the "message".    The show seemed to lose focus in the middle and then rushed to the close.

This production is getting lots of buzz at this year's festival and it is well deserved.  You don't have to attend this primer of Fringe production for the lessons- attend to see some great acting, lovely music and experience a completely different kind of musical.

read the review at KC Stage



Fringe Festival "Morphotic" review by Guildenstern

Don't let "Morphotic" go unnoticed
Rating: 5

Morphotic
KC Fringe Festival

I understand that anything you label "Kafkaesque" isn't going to appeal to a lot of people, but Butcher Block's reconstruction of Franz Kafka's life is a fantastic performance piece done in an expressive style that is rarely seen on Kansas City stages.

It's a shame that more people aren't seeing it. Ten actors on stage performing for six people in the audience isn't very welcoming for this group from Las Vegas (which just held its very first fringe festival).

Shawn Hackler's script is polished, studied and dense - highly intellectual. The ensemble is tight, well choreographed, and offers characters with distinct personalities, which is impressive in a play this abstract. Cynthia Vodovoz plays Kafka as a wholly physical creation, using every muscle of her body to display the character's monstrous condition. This is solid, serious theatre.

That said, "Morphotic" is a heady chunk of brain candy that requires considerable concentration. It will challenge any audience member, esp. if they're not familiar with the life or work of Kafka, which I suspect is most people (including myself).  Then again, it's a play for people who want that challenge. The expressionistic story doesn't follow an obvious thread, and confusingly fragments between real events in Kafka's life and his literary creations. Rather than offer a standard bio-drama, it's more like crawling into Kafka's head.

What I got out of it was a powerful impression of persecution in Nazi Germany, when Jews were considered vermin to be destroyed (which Kafka takes literally). It has the feel of a dream - the subconscious made real - perhaps the only way to rationalize a world where the Holocaust is possible and you are the target of totalitarian aggression.

I know this sounds like a deadly serious affair that reeks of academics, but "Morphotic" isn't so much pretentious as it is obtuse. There's plenty of humor, but it's buried deep in East-European absurdism that finds irony in the worst circumstances. Several modern touches help alleviate the earnestness, and although I felt it could have gone more in the direction of avant garde physical theatre, it strikes the right balance between real emotion and expressionistic presentation.

My only real complaint is the constant soundtrack - lovely music, but with the speakers placed between the actors and audience it was doubly difficult to focus on the dialog. Then again, perhaps making it more challenging was the point?

Certainly there's still some people out there who think anything "Kafkaesque" is cool. They really need to check this out and make it worthwhile for Butcher Block to come back next year.

read the review at KC Stage






Fringe Festival "Cabaret Voler" review by lenin1991

Great performance, distracted by the awkward emcee
Rating: 4

Cabaret Voler
KC Fringe Festival

Cabaret Voler was a great collection of mini-performances, each having distinct music and choreography.  While it might seem like there are only so many ways to spin around in fabric frighteningly suspended over a hardwood floor, it was consistently enthralling.

Crosstown Station was a great venue, with comfortable couches spread around the room.  However, the couple tables in the middle of the floor seemed ill-conceived to begin with and proved to be so.

One distraction was the emcee -- the program listed Lucky DeLuxe, but it was someone else (at least on Tuesday night) -- who filled the moments transitioning from one number to the next.  She wasn't terrible, but her jokes were amusing yet not laugh-out-loud funny; she started blaming the crowd for not reacting enough, which made for an unfortunate and uncomfortable distraction.

read the review at KC Stage

Creative Arts "Annie" preview by Shea Conner

In more ways than one, the upcoming Creative Arts Production children’s theater presentation of “Annie Jr.” at the Missouri Theater will be multidimensional.

more at St. Joe Live

Fringe Festival "The Event" review by SweetScience

The Event - GO SEE IT!
Rating: 5

The Event
KC Fringe Festival

A man stands in a pool of light and addresses a group of strangers sitting silently in the dark ...

And so begins the event - both in word and in deed.  This hour-long soliloquy, performed flawlessly by MET founder Bob Paisley, examines the acting trade, the psyche of the theatergoer, the nature of entertainment, and ultimately, the nature of human existence.  Never preachy or pontificating, this part stand-up comedy, part diatribe, part rumination starts as a humor-filled reflection on "The Event" and builds to heights rarely scaled in the KC theater scene.  Doubly so for the Fringe.  Well rehearsed and performed with uncommon professionalism, this is a must see for anyone who likes theater.  Or who likes to be entertained.  Or who likes to think.  Don't miss it!

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Khan! the Musical" review by Piddums

kcstage_logo3.png
Khaaan-ceptual fun.
Rating: 4

Khan! the Musical
by KC Fringe Festival

Just saw Khaaaaan! the Musical at The Off Center Theater. Lovely space, comfortable seats. This is a nerd-centric concept of the Enterprise crew (Kirk, Spock and Bones, everyone else is voiceover and apparently, the red shirts are all dead) attacked by Khan in the future and returning to a 1980s culture where he is President of the world. Downsides of this production are weird structure, under-rehearsal and nobody's going to go home humming the tunes. Upsides are the cast and the fact that you're going to love it anyway. The cast is a delight, particularly Jay Coombes as Kirk (who dances marvelously, giving hope to portly gentlemen everywhere) and Steven Eubank as Khan (whose rock star numbers are pure joy.
This is simply a fun show and I'd tell you to go see it, but you're probably going to anyway.

read the review at KC Stage



Fringe Festival "US & THEM Reunion" review by mmcinnis

Us and Them Reunion
Rating: 5

The US & THEM Reunion- A Musical Battle of the Culture War
KC Fringe Festival

I loved the satire. Pay close attention to the lyrics of each song. Compelling message in every song. Jack Phillips is brilliant as the Producer, Director and Writer of this very unique show.
The entire performance was both fun and funny. Each actor performed brilliantly.

read the review at KC Stage



Theatre in the Park "Cinderella" review by Russ Simmons

As the "stars in the hazy heaven tremble above you," it’s easy to see how young girls could fall under the spell of "Cinderella" at The Theatre in the Park.

more at Sun Publications

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fringe Festival "My Girdle is Killing Me" preview

The Kansas City Society of Burlesque presents: "My Girdle is Killing Me! A Burlesque Murder Mystery". 3 Nights. 4 Shows. 4 Different Endings! On a dark and sexy night, Daisy Buck√ęt is hosting a masquerade cocktail party...when the debauchery turns deadly! It's up to Detective Kitty Von Minx to solve the crime! Presented at The Skylight Room at Crosstown Station, 1522 McGee St, Kansas City, MO

Jazz happenings this week

Plastic Sax keeps the beat.

Fringe Festival "The Event" review by Robert Trussell

First, the easy part: You've never seen a theater piece quite like "The Event." Bob Paisley, co-founder of the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, first saw John Clancy's one-actor play at the mother ship of all fringe festivals in Edinburgh, Scotland. It fascinated him, as it should have, and he resolved to learn the piece and perform it himself.

Fringe Festival "KConsciousness SLAM" review by watchNwrite

Slamming your Brain; a poetry slam.
Rating: 3

KConsciousness SLAM
KC Fringe Festival

KConsciousness at Crosstown Station was a calm and rather understated poetry slam. Given that the main topics of poetry slams are politics, religion, gender issues, and lifestyle of people who continue to fail as human beings, it is easy to understand why it always comes off as angry and with an air of "I know more than you."  And of course, they do. They know more words, more rhymes, and more statistics than the average person, and that is part of the reason why being preached at for nearly an hour and a half turned out to be quite entertaining.

 Technically, the night was a bit of a misfire. The desperate search the lighting operator went on every time a poet decided he or she wanted to perform on the floor instead of the stage so as to give a different feel to his or her piece was, to say the least, annoying and a little bit comical.  It is hard enough to keep up with the quick words and rhymes without seeing random lights throughout the room go off and on in the lighting guy's conquest to light the poet.  Eventually, he noticed he was just being a distraction, and he let a couple poets perform in the dark.  But on stage, we had problems as well.  There is a small difference between finding your light and just plain avoiding it. A couple poets decided to scoot over just enough to wind up in the 10 inches of darkness onstage. Maybe that's how poets like it? Eh, that's neither here nor there, but it was incredibly distracting to this audience member.

 Another technical issue was the use of the microphone - or the lack thereof. Certain artists were very hard to hear without the microphone in the big open room at Crosstown Station, and it's a shame, too, because from what I could hear of those artists, the whole of the poem would have been very thought-provoking.

 The audience caught some of the some-odd 10-15 poets' names at the end through a quick, informal introduction, but this reviewer was not quick enough with her scribbling to catch all of them. But are poets really no more than their words at a poetry slam anyway?  If that is true, there exists not one inch of guilt talking about the ones whose words stood out using their own words as their introduction in this review.

 "The food is too fast to bless..." This man was the first to be introduced at the end, so scribbling "Robert" was simple enough. Robert found the right speed, the right words, and the right feel every time he stepped in front of the mic. (And thank heavens he DID step in front of the mic).  This man made some excellent points, and was one of the only poets to actually make the other poets verbally and excitedly express themselves during his pieces.  He was more than his words, though. He was a strong performer, and seeing his eyes (in the light!) was like being in a trance - he kept the audience more than just interested in what he was saying. Best of luck to anyone who sees them and then wants to, for any reason, leave during his poem.

 "F*ck the State of the Union."  Someone should have told this man to grab the mic and take it with him while he darted across the stage in rapper-like form for his first piece. He was one of the ones who surely had a good poem coming out of his mouth, but for lack of hearing him, he was lost to most of the audience. For his second piece, though, he stood, nervous as a 1st grader on show-and-tell day, right in front of the microphone and became one of the better "actors" of the night while using his nervous and introverted stance and speech to contrast so miraculously from his first piece.

 "I should have called myself Sojourner Lies."  This lady started out the piece telling us that she was being possessed by ancient spirits. It did not take long, however, for the audience to stop wanting to run out of the room for fear of a crazy person pulling a gun on them to realize that this was only the premise of her piece. And a great piece it was. She used 2 mics to signify her changing personalities. What a great idea. However, it would have been a stronger execution had she chosen to do some sort of character for each person for whom she was speaking. Instead, she used her own voice and her own body, and what could have been a great 5 or 6 minutes turned out to be just okay. The audience definitely kept her alive, though, by whooping and offering its usual poetry interjections "Ookaay!" and "That's right!" throughout her piece. The words were very entertaining.

 "What's your ism?" The fact that this golf-hat-wearing, knee-sock-sporting awesome white boy always had his poems written down in front of him did not detract at all from his performance. It is odd to say that having his poems in hard-copy may have even helped his cause because he came off as a nerd in every sense of the word. (oooh, that rhymed.) Just thinking about this poet makes me want to watch the Hardy Boys. He was funny, to the point, and charming. He often chose to stand with his legs wide open and bent (I'm guessing that had something to do with his "being rooted in realism"). The room may not have been feeling him after his 3rd installment of "What's your ism?" but this reviewer certainly was. Maybe he got into a dictionary and wrote down every word that ended in "ism."  However he came up with all those words, any word cono surs in the audience stayed enthralled whenever this boy took the stage.

 "Nucular" I did not catch any Bush references in his piece, so this artist said it this way all on his own. It is sad that this is why I remember him.

 "Strumming my pain with his finger." This girl sat at the back of the stage for what seemed like an eternity; even the question of whether she was performing at all started to emerge. And then she gets up and gives one of the most heart-felt performances the audience has heard all night. Though she did have trouble, soft voice that she had, being heard even WITH a microphone, the audience was on pins and needles as she sang those famous Fugees' lyrics and gave them a different meaning than has ever been given before. It was expected that, at some point, someone would sing something just like in high school forensics where the winner was always someone who sang at the end of their 8-minute piece. This reviewer cringed at the thought. But connecting those words with domestic abuse... she gave that whole room a slice of magic.  That being said, however, the singing should have stopped after "finger." That was enough and stronger than doing the whole chorus (even though her vo!
 ice could not have sounded more like Lauryn's).

 "2 parts rubber, one part glue" This soulful, at-ease, and beautiful woman sounded the way a coffee shop poet sounds. Any insomniac could peacefully fall asleep to the sound and tone of "Princess's" voice. This is not to say her poems weren't well worth the attention they received. Her preview on Sunday was, afterall, the reason this reviewer even came to see the show! By saying that we all need to be more parts glue, she opened a lot of ears. And is that not the point of slam poetry?

 Ultimately, if you don't mind being preached at outside of church, KConsciousness at Crosstown Station won't be that bad for you. But if you are entertained at the thought of being preached at from strictly opposing sides, KConsciousness is definitely the place for you. Two girls, one without a "God" and the other one with a "God," sat next to each other the whole night long and listened to each other. Both got applauded. Both got the spotlight. And neither one ended up persecuted. That was the most pleasing thought of the night, and it was not offered by a poet. It was sitting there in front of everyone's faces while they clapped and drank beer.

read the review at KC Stage

A mural for the Kauffman Center

As the shell-like concrete curves take shape on the $414 million dollar Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the building is about 75 percent complete. The most noticeable change last week – installation started on the first pieces of exterior glass for the grand lobby. 

listen at KCUR

Fringe Festival "Lot o' Shakespeare" review by asp0414

Lot o' Shakespeare Rocks
Rating: 5

Lot o' Shakespeare!
KC Fringe Festival

Clever genius, giving Shakespeare a new spin!  I found myself thinking "oh yeah, that's by Shakespeare too"  Sparked my interest for more! Amazing how much this one man can remember and deliver effectively leaving me highly entertained and having FUN!!!

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Driving the Body Back" review by T.Winchester

Not Your Typical Fringe Production, but Worthwhile
Rating: 4

Driving the Body Back 
KC Fringe Festival

Anyone who is a midwesterner or interested in family history would like "Driving the Body Back," a one-woman show written by Iowa's poet laureate and based on her book. Alas, when I attended on Tuesday, there were only about five people in the audience, but the show deserved more audience members. The performance is in the form of a memory play about several characters from the playwright's past, and is akin to a scrapbook or family album of her relatives whom she has known or discovered through tracing her past. Nothing racy or controversial, but a lovely and interesting play for the whole family which will make you recall all the people from your past and maybe even make you want to delve further into your own family history.

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "When We Were Queens" review by T.Winchester

Too Bad!!
Rating: 1

When We Were Queens
KC Fringe Festival

I was really looking forward to seeing this production, and I hightailed it to Just Off Broadway Theatre to see it on the first night of the Fringe--only to find out that it has been cancelled for the duration of the Festival and will not appear this week . . . If you are not aware of this, don't waste your time trying to see it, since the doors will be locked (ALAS)!

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Head" review by Robert Trussell

Kyle Hatley gives us an apocalyptic interpretation of a familiar Bible story in "Head," a show that impresses with its audacity and the quality of its performances but can find no better way to resolve a potent dramatic set-up than to litter the stage with corpses.

Fringe Festival "Fitzcarraldo" review by you&night&music

this is how to make something incoherent play well
Rating: 4


The House of Fitzcarraldo
KC Fringe Festival

I thought of 'Goodbye, Kansas' when I saw this. Why? As I wrote, 'G, K' is incoherent. Is that necessarily a bad thing? No. But it is if you've little else to offer.

'House of Fitzcarraldo' is more or less incoherent. It ever-so-thinly hinges on the filming of Werner Herzog's 'Fitzcarraldo'. Avid film fanatics have seen that film. It's less likely that the same can be said of avid theatergoers.

In the case of 'HoF', that hardly matters. The creators have made sure that you get the small amount of info necessary about not only the film but the love/hate relationship of its director and star.

And from there, you're on your own. And that's not a bad place to be. 'Hof' sets out to entertain - period. With that aim, it largely succeeds.

Does everything work? No. A few segments (i.e., the interview sequences & a few others) could be funnier, given their potential. But, for the most part, 'HoF' is a very entertaining show. (One very clever bit has a cast member speaking with the show's director - who, here, is a somewhat foul-mouthed hand puppet. Another inspired bit comes in the form of a phone call from a library re: an overdue fine.) The ensemble is very much on the same silly page, clowning around wonderfully. And occasionally they take us to esp. hilarious heights. (The 'Das Boot' song is so successful that you might wonder why there aren't more original songs in the show.)

While 'HoF' suffers a bit from padding, that is ultimately easily forgiven. Overall, the feel of the show is infectious. And it has a great finish!

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "My Fragile Family Tree" review by ajennings


My Fragile Family Tree
Rating: 3

My Fragile Family Tree: A story of fathers & sons
KC Fringe Festival

The stories of crazy or off-the-wall family members are easily recognized whenever anybody talks about how dysfunctional their family is. This is no different in "My Fragile Family Tree" at the Unicorn Jerome Stage.

"An exploration of what it means to be a father, what it means to be a son, and how to mix the two" is the description the Fringe Fest program gives for this show, and is summed up by my favorite line of the show "I am a father, I am a son, and I have no idea what that means."

This play started out a little rough. The story tends to jump from one point in time to the next, with no definite timeline. The only 2 points of reference the audience is given is when Matt (the main character)'s father was diagnosed with cancer, and when Matt himself became a father. It was also very confusing to have phrases like "my father can't curse" and "Christmas at the hospital" thrown in, only to realize later that they are titles of the next part of the story. Once I figured this out, it was a lot easier to follow along.

The highlights of this play were the stories about Copper, the family dog who has tried to murder every family member except Dad, and when Matt's trying to tell his parents that he and his wife, Jeanette, are expecting their first child. This was my favorite point in the story, as it was clearly depicted which character was talking (Mom, Dad, Jeanette, and Matt). This was achieved by picking up different drinking glasses, and really made this point in the story easier to follow.

As a whole, "My Fragile Family Tree" is an enjoyable show, and I encourage more people to give it a chance. Remaining shows are Thurs at 7pm, Fri at 10:30pm, and Sat at 8:30pm at the Unicorn Jerome Stage.

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "SenoReality" review by Reviewasaurus


That's what I'm talking about.
Rating: 5

SenoReality Short Films Presentation
KC Fringe Festival

Great films. Each one unique, each one extremely well executed. I'm not sure what else to say. One thing is for sure Patrick Rae has a wonderful storytelling ability, and is on the rise. He's got the the goods, for sure.

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Fitzcarraldo" review by Sherwood

Not a Dull Moment
Rating: 4

The House of Fitzcarraldo
Buran Theatre Company

This production is entirely entertaining. Avant-garde, but no pretenses to having great artistic merit, which lets both the cast and audience members to relax and have a wonderful time. Quite an interactive show, but NOT (as it states in the content rating) suitable for everyone, as there is semi-nudity and simulated masturbation. If you are open to a polished, entertaining performance with some great musical numbers and hilarious gags, this one's for you.

read the review at KC Stage

Fringe Festival "Tallahassee" review by SwizzleStick

True Fringe
Rating: 4

Tallahassee
KC Fringe Festival

Tallahassee is Patrick Dulaney's brain child to perform an album by the same name from the band The Mountain Goats.  It is the perfect Fringe show in that it combines dance and music and acting into a strange brew.

Also typical Fringe in that there are big sound problems and it is too hot in the MET space.  But this one is worth it.  It's cool.  Dulaney and Vanessa Severo go at it tooth and nail with Stephanie Roberts (director) and Cody Wyoming providing the excellent musical quotient.  When viewing, you feel like you are in the heart of the Festival.


read the review at KC Stage