Wednesday, July 25, 2012

KC Fringe "Pilgrimage" review by Detailer

Pilgrimage is entertaining
Rating: 3

KC Fringe Festival

An updated Canterbury Tales told in modern verse and songs.

Ry Kincaid has written and composed an entertaining evening that makes the classical Canterbury Tales come to life with fun and zest.

Coleman Crenshaw as the friar starts with a rendition of the beginning of Chaucer's work in Ye Olde English speak, with Ry as the poet giving a modern translation of the strange sounds. Eventually Coleman gives up and Ry takes over the introductions in rhyming verse. That is a fun way to start and sets the tone well.

Ry introduces the cast, in modern dress, who arrive with coolers and lawn chairs, and lounge in a semi-circle to listen to each other's stories, and often participate in the telling.

All of the actors making this pilgrimage seem to delight in the journey. Their joy is infectious. Damron Armstrong is particularly notable with his reactions. He is fun to watch during the entire show. Coleman Crenshaw breaks out into dance, and I was hoping for a Dueling Dancers moment between him and Damron. Ben Byard has a deep resonant voice. I enjoyed Amy Kelly's reaction to a moment of audience laughter: roosters can be funny. Eryn Bates Preston as the nun lectures the bawdy group with righteous indignation, and the different style of her song is a fun surprise. I especially enjoyed the humor in the dove song. Katie Gilchrist sends us off with a rousing inspirational song celebrating and embracing our differences. Other actors include Celia Gannon, Sean Hogge, Jerod Rivers, Vi Tran, Nick Uthoff, and Cody Wyoming.

Bob Paisley directed the show; other crew includes Michelle Gutierrez as stage manager, Andrea Hatch as assistant stage manager, Eryn Bates Preston as musical director, and Danny Rotert as poster artist.

I liked the times when actors participated in someone else's story, and I think the show could benefit from even more of that.

This is a delightful idea, carried out by a very talented and enthusiastic cast. Unfortunately, the instruments overpowered the voices for me, and I could not understand quite a bit of the show. What I did understand was very clever, and I'm sure those who could make out all the words were delighted with the show. I still had a good time, but I couldn't enjoy it thoroughly without knowing the words.

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