Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Starlight "Aida" preview by Robert Trussell

Here’s a concept: Starlight indoors. It might take a bit of getting used to. Starlight Theatre, after all, is one of the few remaining outdoor theaters in the country, and attending Starlight shows has become a local tradition — a multigenerational family experience which, when the weather cooperates, can be memorable and charming.

more at kansascity.com

Steven Stucky, Mizzou New Music Summer Festival interview by Aarik Danielsen

This week, Steven Stucky has brought his considerable experience to bear during masterclasses, rehearsals and, no doubt, informal interactions surrounding the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival. One of the festival's guest composers, Stucky has been present as something of a mentor, engaging with the eight resident composers who will have works premiered by vanguard chamber group Alarm Will Sound tomorrow night.

more at the Columbia Daily Tribune

Jennifer Mays, Jeanne Averil "Bingo" interview by Joel Nichols

KMBC's Joel Nichols talks with Jennifer Mays and Jeanne Averil.

KC Chorale releases new recording "Life and Breath"

The Kansas City Chorale, conducted by Charles Bruffy, has released a new Super Audio CD from the distinguished British label, Chandos.

more at kansascity.com

KC Fringe photos for Friday, July 27

A Night at the Opry by Joe Maino
Rope Play by Joe Maino
Burlesque and Beggars by Joe Maino 
Burlesque and Beggars: Lola va Ella by Joe Maino
Burlesque and Beggars: Violet Vendetta by Joe Maino 
Burlesque and Beggars: Sammich the Tramp by Joe Maino
Motor City Mayhem by Joe Maino
Motor City Mayhem Audience by Joe Maino
4Play! by NCivitello 
The Recipe by NCivitello 
The Melancholy Monologues by NCivitello 
Kicking the Bucket by NCivitello
Tack Driver by Micah Husereaux
Bar Natasha Reunion Revue by Micah Husereaux
Burlesque and Beggars by TJohnson
Lucid by MGeana
Vintage Fringe Fashion by JMStrange
Dances of India by JMStrange
Surrender Dorothy by JSumma 
Skillet Tag by JSumma
Missouri Momentum x3 by JSumma
Signals by Steve Thompson 
Burlesque and Beggars by Steve Thompson

River City Community Players "Happy Days" review by ghostpug6

Happy Days is Here Again
Rating: 5

Happy Days - A New Musical 
River City Community Players

The RCCP has a hit with "Happy Days."  The set is amazing.  Who would have thought of framing all action within a giant TV screen?  Very funny and enormously imaginative.  There were several superb performances.  Chris Foglio is excellent as "The Fonz," an American icon.  How does one do justice to a character who is known by all?  It's a challenging role because the comparison between the original and the next generation is guaranteed.  At any rate, Foglio's excellent comic timing and general warmth win audience approval.  Rachel Szmed's portrayal of Marion Cunningham is also a very high point.  In the play, Marion is conflicted; the roles of housewife and mother limit her and she appears to want more from life.  Whether the director's vision Marion clashes with expectation will be up to the viewer.  Regardless, Szmed charms the audience and shines in several scenes.  David Varner plays a hilarious version of Ralph Malph, demonstrating superb comic timing in both speech and  body language, as well as great range as a singer.  Traci Kohl brilliantly plays Lori Beth, Richie Cunningham's girlfriend.  She dances well throughout the play and steals a heartwarming scene near the show's end (no details offered due to spoiling the show).  Two other actors deserve mention.  Danielle Sachhse is very funny and likeable as Joanie Cunningham, and Raphael Tate is a riot as a skittish Jumpy Malachi.  Stay alert--there are many very comical lines that address what's happened in the years since the show.  Opening night was a huge success.  I highly recommend this musical.

"Spotlight on Marcus Mull" by Jeanne Beechwood

This article is from the June 2012 issue of KC Stage

Rumor has it the Martin City Melodrama is being renamed the Marcus City Melodrama. Is this true?
This was originally a joke because every once in a while I would answer the box office phone at Martin City with “Marcus City Melodrama, how may I help you?”.

Is that your job for the Martin City Melodrama, to answer the phone?
I help Jeanne run the theatre business and act in all the shows.

Can you describe a typical day at work?
Running a small business has new surprises every day. Helping run a small theatre business never has a typical day. Last weekend, we took Rumpelstilskin ... Recycled!?!, an original show for children that I co-wrote, to the Great Plains Mall in Olathe. We brought in the sets, costumes, and music and I play the title role of Rumpelstilskin. After performing the show, we tore down the set and so forth and drove back to our Metcalf South location to perform our evening show. All the while we are still answering the phone and selling tickets. After the load in, we prepared the Metcalf theatre to be audience ready. Sweeping, cleaning the bathrooms, getting the snack bar ready, setting the cabaret tables and chairs and then perform Completely Hollywood with as much energy as required. After that show, we cleaned up the theatre along with cast mates Nino Cassi and Dianne Brown, then you and I had a production meeting to cover some issues before the next day’s performances.

Was that considered a long day?
Running a small business reminds me of my recent time in college. There are times when everything is crazy and deadlines are due and you keep going and going to make sure everything gets done. Other times are not so crazy and we continue writing our original productions and marketing our unique theatrical product. Even when I am out of the office, I continue to think of show ideas and really enjoy that creative process that keeps spinning and spinning.

When and where did you graduate from college?
I graduated from Sterling College, in Sterling, Kan., spring of 2011 with a BA in theatre communications.

So how did it happen, you weren’t out of college for barely a year and now you are helping run Martin City?
It happened all at once. I graduated May 13, 2011 from college and by May 15 I was hired by the Great Plains Theatre in Abilene, Kan. I took on work as an actor, set construction, and the box office. I also worked with stage management in the company. This contract lasted until August 14. During my employment with the Great Plains Theatre, I made a trip up to audition for the Mystery Train Theatre. I couldn’t audition for you yet, because you were in New York performing at the International Fringe Festival. The Mystery Train Theatre offered me work as a stage manager. The next week I received a phone call the day before I moved to Kansas City that the lead quit in the mystery production and I would be playing the lead role in Extra! Extra! Murder All About It! The Mystery Train helped me realize I could think on my feet and improvise in front of an audience. It also helped me realize I could learn a lot of lines in a short amount of time. Working at the Mystery Train was a stepping stone for my work at the Martin City Melodrama & Vaudeville.

When did you start to work for the Martin City Melodrama?
Two days after my first rehearsal with the Mystery Train, I auditioned for Martin City Melodrama. After checking my references, you offered me a lead role in the Christmas show playing eight different characters. You also offered me part-time work beginning in September. I accepted. I was working at the Mystery Train and Martin City Melodrama at the same time. I was literally running two different directions. By November, you offered me full time work with your company that included actor housing. In January of 2012, a position opened up and I became the associate director for the Martin Melodrama & Vaudeville. Co.

Do you like wearing all those hats?
I am very lucky. Being associate director is nothing short of a miracle. I have the opportunity to grow in so many theatrical areas. When I graduated from college, I envisioned the stereo-typical actor’s life of waiting on tables and praying the phone would ring. Instead, everything fell into place so quickly, that I am completely convinced that this is the life for me.

It sounds like you wanted to be a full time actor and now you are a full time actor and helping run a theatre business. Do you like doing both?
I knew nothing about theatre as a business before working at the Martin City Melodrama. Now I love being immersed in the business side of theatre. Most actors think theatre is a way for them to express themselves and it is. However, you have to accept the reality that it is show BUSINESS! We treat our non-profit theatre business like a for profit theatre business. We use our earned income to pay bills, pay the staff, and produce shows. We know the ultimate payoff is that we can perform all the time shows that we create.

What are your next shows?
The theatre begins its 17th year of comedy camp June 11. I am thrilled to get to learn how to throw a cream pie and work with the students. Our Martin City, Jr. production of Rumpelstilskin....Recycled!?! is being extended through July 31. We are going to start casting for our original holiday 2012 show that I will be directing. Auditions will be set with actors calling me at the theatre and/or sending me a resume by July 1.

Anything else?
We are in rehearsal for a full length original show with the mentally challenged adults at Lake Mary in Olathe and Paola. Creativity knows no boundaries. The melodrama has been working with this group for two years and now we will be producing and writing a show with this wonderful, creative group of adults.

When is the show?
We hope to mount the show for fall of 2012. We received some generous donations to put this particular production together and we are having a ball.

Based on all your new experiences, what would you advise theatre students to do upon graduation from college?
Have a good attitude and work ethic, first and foremost. Be grateful for what work you do get, don’t expect that you deserve anything. If you choose a professional life in show business it is not an easy ride, but if you love theatre, nothing else will do.

Jeanne Beechwood is the artistic director for the Martin City Melodrama & Vaudeville Co. and is currently mentoring Marcus to one day rule the world of melodrama.

Black House Improvisors rehearsal

Hunter Long rehearsing his piece "drunk on noise and addicted to sadness" in preparation for the Fluid Fracture performance at La Esquina August 3rd.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Scott Richardson "Jayhawkers" interview by Eric Mellin

Thursday is the last day for the upcoming feature film “Jayhawkers” to receive much-needed funding from the community whose story it tells.

more at the Lawrence Journal World 
and at Infozine

Michael Mackie, KC Live interview by Jonathan Bender

Before I got this sweet gig, I traveled a lot for my previous job. I always thought being a flight attendant would be a cool career — but only if I got the plum assignments like Paris, London and Rome. I’d really rather not fly to Poughkeepsie three times a week.

more at the Pitch

Quality Hill Playhouse 2012-2013 Season preview by Paul Horsley

One of the highlights of each holiday season in Kansas City is Quality Hill Playhouse’s annual New Year’s Eve Cabaret, which executive director J. Kent Barnhart and friends have been performing for 18 years. This past New Year’s Eve, Kent was joined by vocalist Molly Hammer and double bassist Brian Wilson for a program they called Back on Base. 

more at the Independent

New invention a threat to piano tuners

Don Gilmore, a Kansas City mechanical engineer, has invented a self-tuning piano kit that could revolutionize — if not destroy — an industry headquartered in his hometown.

more at the kansascity.com

Renaissance Festival crowns king and queen

A new king and queen were crowned at the KC Renn Fest on Saturday.

Prairie Village Jazz Festival photo preview

I hold a vested interest in this one. I booked the talent for this year’s Prairie Village Jazz Festival, with the mayoral-appointed committee’s advice and consent. The festival takes place September 8th in Prairie Village’s Harmon Park (at 77th and Mission Road, next to Prairie Village City Hall and Shawnee Mission East High School).

more at kcjazzlark

Sunday, July 29, 2012

KC Fringe "Experimental Music Showcase" performance

The Kansas City Fringe Experimental Music Showcase is a new music festival produced in collaboration with the Kansas City Electronic Music Alliance (KCeMA) and Charlotte Street Foundation. Charlotte Street is excited to share the work of composers and groups creating ‘music on the fringe’ with a broader audience.

KC Fringe photos for Thursday, July 26

Thank You Notes by JSumma
Belly Dance United by Micah Husereaux
Foreign Bodies by Joe Maino
Fear and Trembling by JMStrange

KC Fringe "Burlesque & Beggars" review by kellyluck

A thoroughly enjoyable wink back
Rating: 5

Burlesque & Beggars
KC Fringe Festival

Did I ever tell you about the time I went to a strip club?

It was... oh, well, ages ago. Decades, probably. A friend was going, and I thought I would tag along, see what it was like. I'd never been to one before, so I wasn't sure what to expect as paid the cover and found a table near the stage. What followed was one of the dreariest things I'd ever seen on stage: a parade of world-weary dancers swaying halfheartedly to extinct hits of the 80's before disappearing backstage only to re-emerge with big flesh-colored pasties and do it all over again. It was stunningly unerotic. After a few hours of watching it over and over, I swore off on ever darkening the door of such a place again.

This, on the other hand... this was not like that at all.

"Burlesque and Beggars" is a joint production between KC & St Louis Burlesque groups. And they do mean Burlesque -- this s a gleeful throwback to the golden age of vaudeville. Fanciful costumes, an emphasis on humor and athleticism, and the sheer delight the performers have for the material invoke the Moulin Rouge more than the concrete block "gentleman's club" on the outskirts of town.

The performers are all very talented, some in astonishing physical condition to perform the tricks we saw. The costumes are elaborate and gorgeously made, and the dancers make a point of playing "in character" throughout the program. Of particular note ar the "clowns" who sweep in after each number and collect the discarded garments. Running gags are introduced and followed through to the end, all along a sense of fun is preserved; one really gets the impression the performers are enjoying the show as much as the audience, who laughed, hooted, stomped their feet and generally had a ball.

The Fringe is all about uncharted territory, trying new things, stepping out of one's comfort zone. This is why I ended my Fringe experience with my first burlesque, and I am glad I did. The KC burlesque scene is apparently thriving, and now that I've seen what can be done with the medium in skilled hands, I can understand why. If you get an opportunity to see what they are up to, by all means do so. Leave your expectations behind, but by all means bring your sense of humor.

KC Fringe "Can't Ain't Nothing But a Four-Letter Word" review by badbarbie

Rating: 5

Can't Ain't Nothing But A Four-Letter Word
KC Fringe Festival

In this funny and moving performance, Malcom Grissom skillfully portrays his younger self and some of those who have influenced him on his journey from a happy-go-lucky child struck by Reye's Sydnrome to a man pursuing his dream as a stand-up comedian. One of the best performances of this year's Fringe.

KC Fringe "SlaughterHouse Opera" review by alanskoalas

Weird story line about zombies but great musical performances
Rating: 4

SlaughterHouse Opera
KC Fringe Festival

This is a rock opera about zombies and the attempt to bring them back to life. Weird story and nothing great as  a story. Probably worth no more than a 2 on the rating.  However, the musical ability of the group is outstanding and easily makes the play worth a 4 for the music alone.  If they were to perform a concert without the silly  story, they would probably get a 5 from me.

KC Fringe "Dandelion Chains" review by alanskoalas

Powerful story of a torn family and forgiveness, but confusing at times
Rating: 5

Dandelion Chains
KC Fringe Festival

This is a one woman play in which the actress plays the part of many characters, all connected. Terrific acting and convincing in each character that she played. However, the script could be improved by making it clearer how each character is connected. According to  her website, she plays six characters. She plays the  role of a 16 year old pregnant girl. The baby is  adopted by a gay male couple, who finds themselves at  the heart of an investigation into child abuse for an  accidental injury when the baby falls out of the bed  while having her diaper changed. The social worker  assigned is determined to prevent the couple from  regaining custody of their daughter because of issues  that she has with gay people. The play ends with the  baby, now an adult, reconnecting with family. However,  Doreen has died. It is unclear who Doreen was. Might  have been her biological mother, but not sure. Also,  not clear if she is talking to her adoptive gay  parent(s) at the end, but it deals with how she has  overcome the evil in her life and forgiven the people  involved. The performance gets a 5, the script gets a  4, which is rated down slightly because of its lack of  clarity.

KC Fringe "Amish Project" review by alanskoalas

The Power of Forgiveness
Rating: 5

Amish Project
KC Fringe Festival

This is a one woman play exploring the school house  shooting rampage at an Amish school and the healing of  the community through forgiveness and compassion for the  shooter's wife. A fictional story inspired by a true  event. The performance is so compelling, that you forget  that it is a fictional account of the event. The issues  presented her are already being explored the Aurora,  Colorado shootings in the CNN interviews with those  victims and their families. The play gives you a little  historical insight into the Amish community and their  beliefs and culture. This play has been published as a  book. I strongly recommend you buy the book.

KC Fringe "Surrender Dorothy" review by banders

Don't Surrender Dorothy, keep her going!
Rating: 5

Surrender Dorothy
KC Fringe Festival

I saw the Surrender Dorothy show on Wednesday.  Michelle Stelting and Darin Stelting play Judy Garland and Kansas playwright William Inge, respectively.  I don't know much about William Inge so I can't speak for accuracy in the role, but Michelle's portrayal of Judy Garland was spot-on, in speaking, singing, and even gestures and body language.  Darin's portrayal of William Inge is certainly emphatic and serious.

I liked the use of songs and stories to handle prop and costume changes. Neither one of them leaves the stage at all during the production, but one of them is always giving the audience something to enjoy while the other one changes.

I thought the script wasn't as cohesive as it could have been.  While the opportunity to hear Judy Garland return to life on stage was worth the price of admission in and of itself, and the individual stories themselves were quite interesting, there didn't seem to be a steady common thread linking all of the play together as a whole.  The device of Judy Garland's autobiography as a link between Mr. Inge and Judy Garland was good, but more emphasis should have been made on how each story fit into the story arc of the autobiography.

Overall I found the play quite enjoyable, and well worth seeing just to catch Michelle Stelting's fantastic portrayal of Judy Garland, and Darin Stelting's brilliant portrayal of so many of the characters in Judy Garland's life, as well as playing William Inge as the moody, intellectual individual I understand he was. Judy Garland might think that there's no such place as home, but this play will make you feel like you've finally come home.

KC Fringe "7 (x1) Samurai" review by Rabid_Reviewer

7 (x1) Samurai Hits Like a Choo-choo Train
Rating: 5

7 (x1) Samurai
KC Fringe Festival

Okay.  This is my personal pick for Best of the Fest.

Amazing doesn't even begin to cover it.  The sheer artistry that David Gaines demonstrates to retell an all-time classic is amazing.

If you are familiar with Kurosawa's original film, you are in for a real treat.  If you are familiar with the American remake (Magnificent 7), you are in for a real treat.  If you know nothing about the original, you will still love this show.

I think the best way to describe it is to make the comparison that David makes in his program.  It's the Bugs Bunny version of Seven Samurai.

Not only is it vastly entertaining in and of itself, the sheer energy David brings to the show is amazing.  As I watched his performance alone on stage for a solid 60 minutes, I was amazed at his stamina.

I never lost the story line.  I never was unclear about the characters.  I never failed to laugh and enjoy myself.

If you haven't seen 7(x1) Samurai already, work it into your schedule.  It's THAT good.

KC Fringe "Buck Hoss" review by Rabid_Reviewer

Buckin' Horse
Rating: 4

Buck Hoss
KC Fringe Festival

This is an amazing adaptation of the Greek play, "The Bacchae".  For those not up on their theatre history, the Cult of Dionysus (Bacchus to the Greeks) had a nasty reputation.  Bacchus was the party god.  Sex, wine, and human sacrifice.  In an attempt to bring these religious cultists under control, the Greeks made a bold move.  They declared the cult an official state religion, and as such mandated that real human sacrifices were verboten.  Only simulated sacrifices could be performed officially.  These simulated displays eventually became more elaborate, strayed from their original intent, became scripted and eventually turned into the theatre we know in Western civilization.  Cool, huh?

If you understand these early beginnings, as the Greeks did when they watched the premiere of The Bacchae, the drunkenness, the cannibalism, the killing, all made sense.  Because it was brought on by the religious frenzy of a cult out of control, the participants could be somewhat forgiven for their participation.

Buck Hoss is a very clever and well-written retelling of the story of The Bacchae, set in more modern times.  As an adaptation, I think it is extremely well done.  Instead of separate religious cults, it deals with separate Christian sects.  The point is valid.  However, with modern sensibilities applied, I don't find the participation of the Christians to be all that forgivable.  I find that the chorus is just as culpable and guilty as the mother.

I don't find redeeming qualities about any of the characters, large or small.  There are no innocents. Even the heroes are despicable.  And maybe that's the point of the show.  The revenge doesn't really seem all that justified in terms of modern values.

The performances were great.  The writing was excellent.  From a technical standpoint, this show was incredibly well done.  The subject matter just didn't sit well with me.  It was almost too much of a Greek tragedy rather than a modern one.  Then again, I wasn't all that wowed by "Brother Where Art Thou?" either.  (That was an updating of "The Odyssey")

KC Fringe "Getting Lucky" review by Rabid_Reviewer

I Got Lucky
Rating: 5

Getting Lucky
KC Fringe Festival

I have a soft spot for Lucky DeLuxe.  She is sweet, irreverent, unapologetic, sassy, and smart.  Her show is burlesque stand-up comedy, complete with audience participation games and fun prizes.

When you expect her to make a right turn, she turns left.  The show sparkles because of her personality.  It's hard to say much about this show without giving away surprises, so I won't say anything at all, other than you will be entertained.

If you have mildly prudish impulses, you may be a bit uncomfortable with parts of her presentation.
If you are a prude, you probably should just stay away.
If you have no sense of humor, this is not your cup of tea.

If you do not fit into the above categories, and even if you do, you should see this show if you haven't already.  And if you have, come see it again.

Lucky is just too much fun to pass up.

KC Fringe "Roast of Jesus Christ" review by alanskoalas

Disappointing, but some funny scenes
Rating: 3

The Roast of Jesus Christ
KC Fringe Festival

There were many boring scenes that were not funny and were not inspiring. Not a well written play and not great  delivery. I saw the three minute teaser on opening night.  They did the right thing by picking the best scene to  include in the teaser, which is why I went to see the  play. However, the other scenes did not measure up to the  teaser. Many scenes were just to silly in a childish way  to be even remotely funny to an adult. The second portion  of the the play was better than the first half. Toward  the end, the play does  begin to ask some philosophical  religious questions and show some of the absurdities of  Christianity.

KC Fringe "4Play!" review by kellyluck

Interesting combination of plays
Rating: 4

KC Fringe Festival

Part of the Fringe was a showcase of sorts at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre. Four plays, written and performed by local talent. Each one presents a brief but unique tale. Taken together they are funny, sweet, and surprising.

The first was "A Matter of Faith," in which handyman Jesus -- pronounced "Hay zoos" -- (Philip Hooser) drops a statue of Mary on his thumb, getting a bruise on his nail which, to the church at least, appears to look like Mary. Suddenly he finds himself in a whirlwind of hoopla and fanaticism. When a reporter comes to interview him, she raises uncomfortable questions about faith, the nature of things, and just what he's doing with that hand, anyway? Jose Faus' script is a punchy, wickedly funny one which takes a good hard look at the world of "miracles" and the efforts by vested parties to perpetuate them.

Next was Ken Buch's "A Perfect 89," in which number-obsessed Sam (Sean Hogge or Ken Buch) and his girlfriend Justine (Bree Henderson) spend the night in together. She wants to make up for falling asleep on him last week, but discovers to her horror that she was in fact drugged so that he could... well, measure her. The proportions of her body, the ratio and angles of her various parts, number of pubic hairs, and on and on and on. I'm not sure what disturbed me more, here: the man's insistence that this was necessary to prove she was mathematically perfect, or the fact that the whole sequence was played for laughs. Still, it didn't seem to lose the audience, so perhaps it is just me.

Third was my personal favorite, "As the Guiding Light Turns." Church momma Grace (Sherri Roulette-Mosley) comes home in a fury, having been told she's been taking off running the church talent show because she likes to watch soap operas. Son Jerome (Even Lovelace) does his best to console her, and when the Reverend himself (Jay Smith) shows up, the sparks fly. Now, I must admit that, as a former preacher's kid myself, I'm all too familiar with the dynamics of church politics. Michelle T Johnson's script is right on the money with this, and she writes very well for the characters--the line about Grace preferring to watch soaps "Where I know they're real people playin' fake, than go to church and see all those fake people pretendin' to be real" absolutely made my night. As Grace's husband (Jahi Boseda) says at the end, with all the things that have happened, who needs soaps?

Finally, there is "Breeding Stock," a satire of sorts in which a business show hosted by Randy Smirk (Allan Hazlett) presents Wanda Green (Mary Ruth Gunter), who runs a clinic selling "certified" sperm from so-called perfect specimens, beginning with their first "exclusive", Bruno Johnson (Jeff Smith). The show is interrupted by a group of terrorists (Rozanne Devine, Bree Henderson and Chelsea Almeida) demanding Green put a stop to her company. There is a tendency in Fringe productions from time to time to get  a bit "preachy," for less skillfully crafted productions to beat you over the head with whatever point they are trying to make. Sadly, this is another of these, with the "terrorists" seemingly being played straight as they deliver the Moral of The Story yet so ridiculously pompous that one honestly cannot tell if they are meant to be satirical figures or not. I see this is by Jack Phillips, whose "Cultural Confrontation," sadly, is similarly afflicted.

So. Overall a mixed bag, but there are enough gems to keep a body going. The Kansas City Playwrights League has put together an interesting combination of stories, showing the diversity of talent and ideas here in the city today. And while the talent is uneven, there is enough here to give lovers of good stories hope for the future of drama in Kansas City. These playwrights are worth watching as their talents foster and bloom.

KC Fringe "Burlesque Bloodbath" review by fringereviewer1

More Dancing! Less Hoola Hoops!
Rating: 3

Burlesque Bloodbath
KC Fringe Festival

Seriously- TWO girls using hoops? Really? Some of the bits were really good- mostly the burlesque ones, but there was too much lighted hoop action, too much time spent on magic tricks, and the opening introduction was too long. Cut from the other stuff and add one or two more good burlesque numbers (drop the one where she rips her skin off [eewwww!!!] and just gets naked without even dancing) and the girls don't really have to look that gross- it kinda takes away from the sexiness. You can be evil, creepy, and murderous (or even dead) without open sores all over.

KC Fringe "Fear and Trembling" review by kellyluck

Everyone should spend a little time in the dark
Rating: 5

Fear and Trembling
KC Fringe Festival

Phillip Low is an interesting person to listen to. A spellbinding storyteller with a darkly humorous imagination, he took us on a tour of his imagination at the Red Room of Nica's 320. Using a series of original stories, histories, and personal reminiscences, he kept the audience captivated from beginning to end.

Storytelling is a delicate art. To be able to build a story form beginning to end, to keep the structure and flow going smoothly, to develop interesting, well-rounded and memorable characters, these things take years of dedication and practice. Throw in the ability to tell your stories, to perform them in a way that leaves your audience spellbound, and you're looking at an all too rare set of skills indeed. There was a time the storyteller was an exalted position: before radio, before Tv and movies and the mass-manufactured story machines of today, a person who could get up in front of others and weave a tale or two was a prize to be much sought after. Mr Low is a callback to those days, a raconteur in the traditional mold whose stories are anything but typical.

He has a very poetic sense to his writing: he works easily with imagery, patterns and symbols. He creates his own myths,draws up new world with new rules and sets his characters loose in them to find out who they are. Sometimes horrifying, sometimes tragic, sometimes even darkly beautiful, his stories run the gamut of emotion and consequence. Interspersed with his stories are a series of remembrances, of travelling to China, of old histories, tales of his hometown. These, while certainly quite interesting in and of themselves, cannot quite hold a candle to his fictional output, so one rather wishes he had adjusted the ratio of material a bit in their favor.

In any case, he provided a most enjoyable evening. It would be interesting to see his works developed into a full-length performance, weaving us through one tale after another; I have no doubt he could pull it off admirably. For now, we who attended have been given a glimpse into his mind, and must be content.

KC Fringe "Secrets of a Gay Mormon Felon" review by alanskoalas

Great show and well delivered
Rating: 5

Secrets of a Gay Mormon Felon
KC Fringe Festival

Kimball Allen wrote and performs this one man play. It is  the story of a gay Morman and how he is introduced to the  gay scene, his relationship with his family, and how he  deals with rejection by using drugs. He ends up in jail  and the play takes you through his redemption and his  need for his family's support for the healing process.  Sounds serious?? You would think it would be a sad play,  but not at all!! Kimball is a great storyteller that is  able to take a sad story and make it totally hilarious.  You wont stop laughing. Go see it tonight!! It was one of  the best performances I saw at the 2012 Fringe. Only two  other plays got a five rating from me.

KC Fringe "Buck Hoss" review by Guildenstern

Best of Fringe
Rating: 5

Buck Hoss
KC Fringe Festival

"Buck Hoss" is the best of the 13 plays I've seen so far at Fringe. Updating "The Bacchae" to early-20th Century Appalachia works perfectly and makes the play accessible to a contemporary audience. The language is rich and colorful without being pompous or out of character. The large cast is superb, with many strong lead performances, and not a single weak actor in the bunch. The direction is exciting and the cast is full of energy. The play offers opposing views of religion, a powerful tragedy, a band of scary women, and a little bit of magic. And through it all, a thick vein of humor and witty exchanges that keeps the entertainment level high. Not to be missed.

KC Fringe "Motor City Mayhem" review by MMEAD

WOW!  What a entertaining show!
Rating: 5

Motor City Mayhem
KC Fringe Festival

Just turn off your brain and enjoy the shiny, sparkley show....  Sexy babes, comedy, singing and dancing! My friends and I very much enjoyed the show.  Looking forward to seeing another show from you Gorgeous Gals again.

KC Fringe "Amish Project" review by radziejeski

A World of Sadness
Rating: 5

Amish Project
KC Fringe Festival

I read this script a few months ago and really loved what the playwright did to integrate the various characters in  the story. I did not, however, think it was possible for  one person to adequately define each character for an  audience, particularly since the actor is directed to  wear only the clothing of the Amish people.  Jessica Franz proves me wrong. She made the people of  Nickel Mines come alive, each a distinct person with a  particular point of view. The story explores the human  reality, the truths behind the headlines of the  schoolhouse shooting in 2006, a story that unfortunately  plays out too often in our world.

KC Fringe "Greatest Speech of All Time" review by asp0414

Greatest Speech = Greatest Show
Rating: 5

Greatest Speech of All Time
KC Fringe Festival

I loved the choices made in selecting the material and the delivery is thoughtful, keeping with the intent of the original speeches.  The show is energetic and engaging.  I laughed a little, cried a little and at one point thought, huh!  That's just the way things are today.

KC Fringe "Film Classics Presents: Suspicion" review by asherman

Rating: 5

Film Classics Presents: Suspicion
KC Fringe Festival

Fantastic cast. Chadwick Brooks as the telethon host was hilarious, as was Ryan Chambers as the Devil. All the cast was excellent. Great plot, great execution.

KC Fringe "Sexing Hitler" review by alanskoalas

Who is the superior race?
Rating: 4

Sexing Hitler
KC Fringe Festival

Sexing Hitler was a fun comedy to watch. Don't go there thinking it is a play about sex. LOL It's not. The play is about how Hitler saw various classes of people as inferior and his desire to cleanse the German population of any inferior races and how that might be accomplished.

Andy Garrison had a strong performance, but the others were just ok. The best part was when it drew the parallels and comparisons of how Hitler treated the Jews, Polish people, and other "inferior" groups with how Americans treated Blacks and American Indians.

KC Fringe "Pilgrimage" review by SoulQuest

Could Go Far..
Rating: 5

KC Fringe Festival

This was one of the "must see" shows this year. The songs were all written and performed extremely well. I don't think there was any weak link in the cast at all.
I honestly would love to see a CD release of the songs. And honestly there is enough interesting here to add a bit of dialogue and make this a full length musical.

KC Fringe "Prairie Village Home Companion" review by FauxFreak

Hilarious Sardonic Wit
Rating: 5

Prairie Village Home Companion
KC Fringe Festival

Having come from Los Angeles for the sole purpose of performing in KC Fringe, you'd think a show with very location-specific satire wouldn't have much appeal to a person like me. Not so in the case of A Prairie Village Home Companion. I grew up with a transplanted Midwestern Lutheran family in California, and as such I have been listening to Garrison Keillor my whole life. My good friend from Shawnee needed only to whisper a quick few words about Prairie Village into my ear as the show was beginning and I was in on the joke.

Anyone who appreciates A Prairie Home Companion would enjoy this reverential tongue-in-cheek parody of its format. Like the classic court jester, one easily gets the impression that, although the humor is cutting, dry, and direct, it comes from a place of intimate knowledge (though I wouldn't go so far as to say affection). And fortunately the show's humor was broad enough that an out-of-towner like myself could easily feel like part of the gag.

The sketches and pseudo-ads (elitist truffle oil anyone?) were well-written and well-timed by Jim Sturgill (clad in red shoes of course) and Suzanne Welch. The supporting cast of "radio sound artists" and musicians rounded it out nicely, including a rather surprisingly hilarious and subtle performance by the main sound-effects woman whose dry use of dog barking and muffled phone gibberish created a memorable role out of an otherwise tiny bit part (it's not easy to make the simple use of an "applause" sign funny, yet she did it).

The only critique I would have is that there were perhaps one too many songs and one two few sketches. The musicians were amazing, the music well chosen, but to keep the energy of the piece moving along a little more smoothly, the audience could've used another skit. However, all in all this was a brilliant production, deserving of far more attention than the very location-specific humor might initially allow.  for.

KC Fringe "Father, Son, and Holy Truth" review by alanskoalas

Great ideas, but poorly written and performed
Rating: 2

The Father, the Son, the Holy Truth
KC Fringe Festival

This play examines a lot of ideas, both factual and  mythical about Christianity and organized religion, and  their impact on the history of humans since Jesus was  born. I expected better, but this play was poorly written  and very poorly performed. The performer showed not  excitement or passion in his delivery. He had to hold the  manuscript in one hand the entire play, often referring  to it and reading the lines he could not remember. As an  agnostic, I was really looking forward to this play. It  was the biggest disappointment of the 2012 Fringe  Festival. I am giving it a #2 rating only because it had  some good ideas and philosophical questions about the  hypocrisy of Christianity that he was trying to express.  Otherwise, it would a #1 (the worst) rating.

KC Fringe "Kicking the Bucket" review by lighthouse12

Rating: 5

Kicking the Bucket
KC Fringe Festival

What a treat of a show. I find most things at Fringe are hit and miss - this is by far a hit. This smart, quirky, original show was a great mix of song and story. The stories were original, funny, touching, and personal. The storyteller had a great delivery and connected very well to the audience. I wasn't sure what to expect - an hour on spectacular deaths - but this was a great journey from Catholic school to safari. The show makes you look at life, and death, through new eyes. We can learn to see the humor and irony in death, the heroism in every day acts. What an original and fun evening.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

KC Fringe "Skillet Tag" review by Rabid_Reviewer

It's a whole new game show.
Rating: 5

Skillet Tag
KC Fringe Festival

Skillet Tag is an uproarious, outrageous romp through corporate politics and personal responsibility.  Okay, the plot device of foreign markets and their sinister bands of hit men seems a bit weak, but it doesn't really matter.  It's just a McGuffin to allow our characters to panic instead of doing the right thing.

The cast for this show is uniformly strong in their performances.  Laura Jacobs displays strong comedic timing and delivery as the perpetually drunk cynic.  Aurelie Roque is unexpectedly convincing as the lawyer who only wants to do the right thing.  If you thought this show had any reality to it, you know that goes out the window when the lawyer wants to do the right thing.

Kenna Marie Hall is the adorably hysterical secretary (excuse me, personal assistant) who completely flips her wig over the pressures of both the job and her unfulfilled adoration for her boss.   Matt Leonard shines as the skillfully psychotic boss who must find a way to balance the scales between satisfying his higher-ups and fulfilling his own agenda.

Phillip Shinn is over-the-top cute as the computer nerd whose only real skill is the ability to turn on a computer, which is more than anyone else can accomplish.  He does a great job at being over-eager to please and constantly on edge about doing the wrong thing.  J. Will Fritz rounds out the main cast as the level-headed practical employee who lacks a knack for planning.

Kyle Wallen and Chelsey Tighe appear in supporting roles as the private security officers who have had to cover up far worse than murder at this offbeat retreat.

It's not a murder mystery.  There are no doubts about who did what to whom and why.  It's a frolic about the pressures of corporate America in and ever-increasingly global economy.  And it never lets up on the fun.

It does have a few gross-out moments in it, which achieve the right level of groanage from the audience. It's wrong, but in the right way.

Once the show ends, it still manages to deliver through the most clever and entertaining curtain call I've seen in years.  I have been reliably informed that the producer, Kelsey Marjorie Kallenberger is to thank for that cherry on top of this theatrical hot fudge sundae.

Kudos to the entire team for this production.  It's tied my personal pick for Best of the Fest.

KC Fringe "5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche" review by Detailer

5 Lesbians campy fun
Rating: 3

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche
KC Fringe Festival

If you like the flavor of an expanded Saturday Night Live sketch, I think you will find that these gals serve up a tasty treat.

I like the well-defined characters.  They connect with each other in a way that feels real even as they are reveling in the campy style.

The concept that the audience is with them in a meeting is used very effectively without being threatening or manipulative, and the ongoing spotlight on one audience member is very well done.  Often a dangerous thing to do, but they make it work very well.

There are times when I find the blocking static, and I long for some levels and more varied stage pictures.

The script doesn’t have much meat, but then, it doesn’t want any.

KC Fringe "Scarborough Fair" review by Detailer

Scarborough Fair excellent
Rating: 5

Scarborough Fair
KC Fringe Festival

I really have nothing new to add.  I just want to be part of the chorus of praise.  Prejudice alert:  I do like Simon and Garfunkel.  So this singing comedy duo has a head start with their music choices.

Then they add such fun humor, both between songs and within songs.  The evening is a pure joy, and I wish it wouldn’t end.  If I had anything to suggest, it would be to differentiate personalities a little bit more, and add even more funny bits.

Their costumes and pre-show activities set the mood well.  Their voices match in unison and blend beautifully in harmony.  When they sing Bridge Over Troubled Waters in complete seriousness, it is very effective.

KC Fringe "Lies, Phalluses and Fairytales" review by Detailer

Lies and Misconceptions
Rating: 2

Lies, Phalluses, and Fairytales
KC Fringe Festival

I completely disagree with a previous reviewer, and I celebrate that.  This is what art, and especially the Fringe, can provide—varying experiences to suit varying tastes.

This shows feels like an acting class to me.  The very short scenes seem like acting exercises rather than a performance piece.

I do not see the connection between most of the titles and the pieces that follow each, including the title for the entire show.  One in particular struck me as out of sync:  the title sounds humorous to me, but the piece is very serious.  I don’t see the point of that contradiction.

The sound level is annoying to me rather than exciting; I get very tired of the shouting between pieces.  I would rather see an improv exercise to cover the preparation for the next piece.  Embrace the idea of an acting class and try out everything associated with that.

I also have a strong reaction against the gimmick for the audience to yell out numbers which supposedly determines what scene is done next.  It takes up time which they could spend giving us more scenes.  Since they are going to do all the numbers, anyway, the gimmick just feels manipulative rather than inclusive.  Perhaps if the titles were also listed, or the program had numbers beside them, and by that we had some sense of what we thought we were choosing, I might tolerate it a little better.  But I’d still rather get more scenes in the hope of finding more things to enjoy.  I applaud their adding a piece, but I think it would have been more effective to send us out with that one at the end.

Too many of the scenes have a point that is too obvious and overdone, without a new insight or unusual twist.  Been there, done that feeling.

In general, it just seems like they try too hard.  They try too hard to be funny or silly or shocking or profound; but especially they try too hard to make me feel like they are spontaneous and they try too hard to make me be spontaneous with them.

That said, I do appreciate their skills.  I like their interpretive dancing.  Those scenes are the highlights for me.  The one place I like the varying sound levels is in Listen.  Same has punch line I enjoy.  I don’t know the proper title for that one, but it’s the word they repeat.  There are good connections in Quick Like a Bandaid, with a meaningful ending.  I like the clever dialogue and unique ideas in the one about God.  Sex and Candy has a funny surprise ending.  My Worst Nightmare is especially funny after seeing Sexing Hitler.

But as with any review, those are just my two cents.  Others have different tastes and will enjoy different things.  Obvious point, but maybe needs saying again.

KC Fringe "Four of Us" review by Detailer

Four of Us well done
Rating: 5

Four of Us
KC Fringe Festival

Very well-done buddy show.  It presents a sampling of events forging the relationship between two artistic young men through several years.

Doogin Brown and Dan Hillaker use their excellent acting skills to bond these two with a strong and delightful chemistry.  Doogin’s facial expressions and exuberant personality are met with great effect by Dan’s understated eloquence.

The script is fascinating in its use of time.  Scenes jump forward or flash back at differing intervals; but they are tied together by a new revelation that provides deeper insight into a topic previously explored.

I like the way scenes flow smoothly, with a brief description flashed onstage while the actors quickly move furniture into different configurations to suggest a new space.  Very economical use of set pieces.

KC Fringe "Lessons from Marlene" review by kellyluck

Lessons well learned
Rating: 5

Lessons from Marlene
KC Fringe Festival

If there is one thing I enjoy about the Fringe, it is the solo show. Being able to sit back and watch one person put on an entire performance for us is always an impressive thing, and when the manage to do it with wit, skill and panache, it's nothing short of amazing. So it was when Katie Kalahurka gave us her "Lessons From Marelene" this week at the Fishtank. It is sweet, smart, riotously funny and ultimately entertaining as hell. It just goes to show what one person can do.

The story.... well, it's like this: Marelene Dietrich -- oh, come on, you remember: femme fatale type? Shanghai Express? The Boys in the Back Room? That's right -- comes down from Heaven, where she now works as a guardian angel for a collection of eccentric personalities. These she introduces to us in turn, slipping seamlessly into one character after another. Along the way, she performs a number of songs, both classic and original.

Ms Kalahurka has a sharp observational eye, and has put it to work in creating these characters. Each is uniquely different, yet utterly believable. She moves form one to another and back to Marlene with consummate skill, keeping the audience with her all the way to the end. This is a very witty show, but not without its touching moments. She does a good job of setting the pace of the mood.

Complaints? Well, none to speak of, really. In other circumstances I might note the venue seemed a bit cramped, but here...well, it worked. Cramped became intimate; it was just Marlene and us. She made excellent use of the space that was available, and even dipped into the audience from time to time.

"Lessons from Marlene" was an excellent show by a very talented woman. I'm glad I got a chance to catch it this year, and I sincerely hope she will be back with us again next year to show us what new world she has created. In the meantime... well, there is always Marlene...

...I wonder where I can get a copy of Destry Rides Again?

KC Fringe "5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche" review by kellyluck

Love, Lies, and Recipes at The End of The World
Rating: 4

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche
KC Fringe Festival

Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche is an unusual play. Set in an idyllic alternat 50's universe, we find ourselves members of the Susan B Antony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein, a Women's Society of widows together to share fun, fellowship, and quiche. Lots of quiche.

The troupe (no artist names given) rely mainly on ensemble humor and camp, bringing us into the pastel world of the idyllic advertisements that peppered the magazines of the fifties. It's time for the annual meeting and quiche bake-off, a pean to the egg in all of its perfect glory. They waste no time establishing characters and interrelationships between the five club officers, which is just as well because it isn't too long before World War III starts, and the clubhouse is rocked with a nuclear blast.

Fortunately, the ladies are not unprepared. The house has been reinforced with multi-layer protection, radiation proof doors, and canned goods enough to last the whole club four years. Faced with four years of life together in this enclosed space, old facades are dropped, forgotten histories dragged into the light, confessions come thick and fast. Fortunately, the production never loses its camp sensibility, reveling unashamedly in the up-to-eleven bathos of its situation.

Generally speaking, the ensemble is quite tight, the five players embodying their parts down pat. The story is delivered well, and the audience interactions are handled well (I'm always a bit leery of the device of singling out one member of the audience, but it is handled here well). The set design was a bit rough, probably designed more for portability than for aesthetics, but it does the job and sets the scene.

There is one more performance of this show on Saturday night at the Just Off Broadway theatre. It is an interesting production, and in the right company a very enjoyable evening indeed.

KC Fringe "Sexing Hitler" cast and crew talk about Fringe

The cast and crew of "Sexing Hitler" talk about the Kansas City Fringe Festival

KC Fringe "7 (x1) Samurai" review by Robert Trussell

David Gaines is an exceptionally skilled clown who creates vivid images on stage with nothing more than his own body, a couple of masks and vocalized sound effects and faux dialogue.

more at kansascity.com

Starlight "Peter Pan" review by Mark Edelman

Forget Broadway’s Spider-Man. Smack down Cirque du Soleil… Cathy Rigby blows them all away, twisting and turning as she careens overhead in Peter Pan, now through Sunday at Starlight.

more at KC Confidential

KC Fringe "Best of the IFC" reviwe by kellyluck

An interesting distillation of the local indy scene
Rating: 4

Best of the IFC
KC Fringe Festival

The Independent Filmmakers Coalition is a small group of amateur filmmakers here in the Kansas City area who have clubbed together to help each other make their own films. The indy scene in America and indeed around the world has been flourishing with the advent of new and increasingly inexpensive "prosumer" technologies, so more and more would-be auteurs are getting the chance to bring their visions to life. The result is on display here, with ten of the best works to come out of this talented group.

The films run the gamut of genre and mood: we start off with a quite satisfyingly wicked comedy, move to a odd little black and white quickie, and then on to documentaries, slice of life, suspense, and so on. There are many hands and many visions on display here. And while there were inevitably some I enjoyed more than others, I can honestly say that the majority of them boasted a good story competently performed.

Funnily enough, if there was a theme to the evening, it seemed to be humor. With the exception of the documentaries, nearly every entry, regardless of genre, had at least a humorous undercurrent, even if it was just a smirking black wit in some of the darker pieces. Sound was quite often problematic, but of course this can be down to equipment issues and so on, and of course when shooting in an uncontrolled environment such as outdoors it brings its own set of problems.

All in all, this is an ultimately satisfying summation of what is being done in the Kansas City independent scene. It is encouraging to see these creative minds at work, and this reviewer is looking forward eagerly to seeing what else our local talent can accomplish.

The IFC meets Wednesdays at 7:30 in the Westport Coffee House. They may also be reached at www.ifckc.com or Facebook.

KC Fringe "Sexing Hitler," "Buck Hoss" review by Robert Trussell

Oh, those crafty Nazis. In 1940, designers and fabricators at a factory in Dresden set to work making inflatable sex dolls for the troops because fine young specimens of German manhood were falling prey to the ravages of syphilis via Parisian prostitutes.

more at kansascity.com

KC Fringe photos for Wednesday, July 25

7 (x1) Samurai by Joe Maino 
Bar Natasha Reunion Revue by Joe Maino
Bar Natasha Audience by Joe Maino 
Divine Divas by Joe Maino
Vibe Tribe by JMStrange
Surrender Dorothy by Micah Husereaux 
Pilgrimage by TJohnson
Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre Audience by MRodriguez

Charlie Piper, Mizzou New Music Summer Festival preview

Completing the international contingent at this year’s Mizzou New Music Summer Festival is resident composer Charlie Piper, who’s from London, England. Born in 1982, Piper completed his master’s degree with distinction at the Royal College of Music and currently is doing doctoral research at the Royal Academy of Music.

more at the Mizzou New Music Initiative

KC Fringe "Loganheim, the Clock Smasher" review by sunny

A Cut Above the Fringe
Rating: 5

Loganheim, the Clock Smasher
KC Fringe Festival

Wonderful play and winner of the Young Playwright's Award from the National Playwriting Competition. It's a pleasure to see a talented playwright who is also just as talented as an actor, speaking his own words. Zachary Weaver brilliantly emphasizes the words he wants us to chew on for a bit, and the words are both profound and also hilarious at times. Are we doomed to be slaves to clocks? Would we have it any other way? Richard Alan Nichols is perfect as the clockmaker on the other end of time, both literally and figuratively. This is a rare chance to see a play that has already been performed and lauded in New York and is being performed for the first time here in Kansas City for just $10.00. It isn't often that we're motivated to think in the midst of thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Go to this play, and you will do both!

KC Fringe "Amish Project" review by Detailer

Amish Project inspires
Rating: 4

Amish Project
KC Fringe Festival

Jessica Franz plays several characters to explore emotions after a shooting in an Amish schoolhouse.

Jessica makes good distinction between the characters, and balances the show with humor, drama, poignancy, and gentle lightness.  I am glad I came.

Her style is interesting.  There are moments when she actually comes out into the audience and speaks to its members, but most of the time she directs her monologues with a more general focus on a defined physical stage.  The two approaches work well together and allow me to feel close to her characters immediately while giving me privacy for the emotional moments.  I feel like she is speaking honestly, naturally, to me personally.

I appreciate the seamless way she flows from one character into another, usually starting each character in a specific place on stage, which is that character’s home base. That helps me identify who is talking.  She is able to intersperse her characters quickly because she doesn’t need to change costume—she defines her characters by voice and physicality, and often the location in which each character starts speaking.  This ability is especially helpful later in the show when her characters start interrupting each other; she is able to make that work with good effect.

Jessica uses the small space so well, with interesting placement and levels.  I particularly like how she uses the literal elements of the space to complete her environment—the entrance door to the theater becomes her door, the narrow space between a column and the wall becomes a unique area just right for how she uses it.  I always like levels, so I appreciate the multiple uses of the bench.  I was glad that she opened up the space farther than I have seen it; I like the added depth of an upstage area.  That makes me feel less claustrophobic, and gives her space to use different movements like running and jumping.  Her staging of the shots is very effective.

It is a wise choice to open with a child’s delight.  I like drama which lets me feel close to the character and happy about the character before anything bad happens.  She returns to the child often to lift me up from the darker moments.

Jessica presents several different viewpoints about the crime and the person who committed it. These offer varied perspectives and reveal prejudice, judgment, and forgiveness.  The wife of the killer talks about the miracle of still loving him and how she misses him, and the poignancy with which she admits this is very moving.  That makes an insult hurled at her even more horrible to hear.  I like the child’s explanation of what JOY means.  There are many other powerful, poignant, inspiring moments.

I learn some things about Amish belief and way of life, and I get some inkling of why some outsiders have negative feelings about it.  I would like a fuller exploration of why they forgive, and I missed the word that was so all-important.  I care enough about the child that I want to know what happens to her, but I don’t get a resolution of the incident.   I was never bored, but at the end I had an unsatisfied feeling that I didn’t quite get closure.