Sunday, July 29, 2012

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.

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