Saturday, July 28, 2012

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?

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