Monday, July 23, 2012

KC Fringe "Ice Cream Social... Issues" review by kellyluck

I scream, You scream, We all scream
Rating: 4

Ice Cream Social... Issues
KC Fringe Festival

The plan is simple, almost foolproof. Set up an ice cream social for the guest of honor. Invite his friends and family. Then, when he least suspects it, pow. Intervention time. The time and place are set, the invitations sent. Nothing can possibly go wrong.

Pat (Manon Halliburton) bustles into the church basement, her daughters (Meredith Wolfe and Hannah Cowger) in tow. Shortly afterwards Aunt Jen (Karla M Fennick) arrives, fretting and fussing over every detail. Her son Jordan (Maxwell Fredrickson) has lately gotten into heroin, and so the social is to get him to seek help. Finally comes the grandfather, Pop Pop (Ari Bavel), his extremely young wife Shelly in tow (Danelle Drury), much to the chagrin of Pat. The tables are set, ice cream at the ready. The family members are all gathered... and the guest of honor is nowhere to be found.

It's not long before things begin to fall apart. Pat, popping Xanax after Xanax, tries desperately to keep the event going despite its Jordanless state. Jen is constantly stuffing her face with anything she can get her hands on. The daughters, meanwhile, have indulged in a bit of herbal tranquility. By the time Pop-pop has crept upstairs for some sacramental wine, the time is ripe for a bit of old-fashioned gloves-off family fracas. Old skeletons are dug up, accusations fly, and generally the whole event turns into a shambles in the best comedic tradition.

The script is a fun one, building up over the narrative as incident builds upon incident until reaching a grand trainwreck of a climax. The performances are generally quite able, extracting the laughs from the material. There was some question as to one character who seemed to have a bit of an on-again, off-again accent, but generally really very little to complain about.

Overall, this makes for a deliciously wicked farce. It is lighter fare than one generally gets at the Fringe, but nonetheless enjoyable for that. Think of it as a palate cleanser, something light and enjoyable between more 'serious' events.

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