Sexing Hitler hits a homer Rating: 5
KC Fringe Festival
Wonderful in every respect. It is hard for me to single out specifics because I liked every moment so much. The entire show is well-conceived and ably executed, and that is an understatement. Writers / directors Bryan Colley and Tara Varney crafted a splendid script, and nurtured actors and designers to bring it to life with perfection. Kudos to everyone involved with this outstanding production.
Heinrich Himmler decides that the soldiers need dolls to keep them from contaminating themselves with lesser humans. The program identifies resources for the true story about how the Third Reich invented inflatable pleasure dolls.
With that idea, we are in for rollicking good fun that hides the evil beneath. What I especially like about this script is that the evil is gradually exposed. There is a moment that punches me in the stomach, very similar to how I feel at the end of a certain song in Cabaret.
Andy Garrison as Himmler appropriately takes command of the stage, and sets the bar extremely high for excellent acting. He starts the gimmick of ending every scene with an actor's gesture, and others follow suit, including the doll even when she is motionless during the scene. This gimmick fits the style of the show beautifully and humorously. It is very meaningful when Andy quits doing this gesture. His Johnny Carson-style monologue is one of the highlights. Starts out hilarious, and ends with thoughts to stop my breath.
Marcie Ramirez and Parry Luellen as the scientists who manufacture the doll build their humorous interplay into a sweet relationship that becomes an important symbol of hope at the end. Their opening scene in which they discuss how to design the doll is filled with their own awkward attraction, and the technical talk is very funny because of the well-defined subtext. One of Parry's funny lines is questioning what he can tell his mother when she asks about his work. Parry's thinking scene is a wonderful moment. He takes long enough to make me uncomfortable, which is the point. Yet he fills it with enough variety to keep me hooked. I can tell he is thinking because of his acting skills.
Eric Tedder and Christian Hankel portray various characters with distinctively different personalities, all very well done.
Amy Hurrelbrink plays both Himmler's love interest and the doll, and does both parts with perfection. She choreographed the dances, as well, and all of her movements as the doll are amazing to watch. Her doll's movements show different personalities and moods.
The crew also includes Ryan Puff as stage manager, Shane Rowse as technical director, and Diane Bulan as archivist. Kyle Dahlquist, Christian Hankel, Sergio Moreno, and Richard Walker provide music which adds to the fun. At one point Marcie and Parry react to a music cue; another time the band plays Somewhere Over the Rainbow when the soldier is dancing with his doll Dorothy.
The directors' notes say that they allowed the cast to come up with the ending, and that changed from their original writing. As well as the rest of the script is done, I would imagine the writers' original ending is excellent. But I do like the juxtaposition of Himmler's perfect baby with the couple's decision. Two visions of what the new Germany should be.