Sunday, July 31, 2011

KC Fringe "Jason Has Mommy Issues" review by timlovestheatre

"Jason" Has More Than Mommy Issues
Rating: 3

Jason Has Mommy Issues
KC Fringe Festival

Pardon my rant.  I know there are lots of terribly talented people in KC.  I also know that our KC Fringe planners have searched the Fringe-o-sphere to bring us some of the best shows from other festivals.  I think it is time for these people to realize you cannot really do it all.  Let me explain.  There are plenty of great actor/director/ singers or playwright/director/actors and other combo talents on display at this year's festival.  It is my belief however than when you try to do TOO many things on a single performance you get less than 100% results.   Can you really give a 100% performance in a play that you have also given 100% as a director and 100% as a playwright?  I don't think you can.

In some cases these performers can hit in the high 90s but you lose a little something.   Some examples of this are "Hexing Hitler" presented by a director/playwright and "Rocky and Bullwinkle Horror Picture Show (a parody)" where the director also performs, choreographs, music directs, pulls curtains, takes tickets and caters the green room snack table. (I exaggerate, slightly).  Both are great shows but they lose some depth because they have either diluted their efforts or are too close to the material.  That is also the case in "Jason Has Mommy Issues."

Jeremy Gassen, Amy Eisele, Gregory Roberts, Cassandra Whitney, Matt Leonard and Stephanie Charlton all do a good job in their respective roles.   The script, from Michael Ruth is very good and walks a fine line between being about the real gay people you work with and a quiet episode of "Will and Grace".

I think Ruth stumbles in directing his own work.  Playwrights focus on the words.  Directors have to find the meanings and emotions that are both on the page and between the lines.   A good director could have pulled more out of the show and out of the actors.  (Not to say Ruth can't direct; just that I think he has blinders on.)  As a result, the nuances of the script and the performances were left behind.  I hope the show finds a new life.  I would love to see a reinterpretation.

Don't agree?  See the final performance of this show Sat 7/30 @ 9:00 pm.

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