Tuesday, July 24, 2012

KC Fringe "Skillet Tag" review by Detailer

Skillet Tag Entertaining
Rating: 3

Skillet Tag
KC Fringe Festival

Overall, this is well done.  It is a satire on corporate team-building, HR, and related legal issues.  The theme is well-conceived and the resolution is very satisfying.

The humor gives a little something for everyone, and yet each style feels appropriate for the moment.  There are verbal puns, clever zingers, facial expressions, sight gags, physical stunts, sex jokes (both innuendo and right out there), and sophomoric silliness.  The execution of some of the physical humor is sometimes forced and predictable, but I suspect that is due to limited rehearsal time in the space.

As its title suggests, skillet props are essential.  The choice of skillet styles fit each character's personality.  One character found a unique way to carry her skillet.  It would be fun to see the show after more rehearsal would allow them to explore different ways of using and handling their skillets.

Performance standouts are Aurelie Roque as the lawyer, Laura Jacobs as the drinker, Matt Leonard as the boss, and J. Will Fritz as the IT guy.  Laura starts the show with a high bar, as she commands the stage and my attention for quite a while without saying a word.  I immediately knew a great deal about her character, and cared.  Her nonverbal bits of business keep every moment interesting.  Aurelie also nails her character immediately and earns my respect from the top.   Her facial expressions as reactions draw laughs every time.  Matt exudes the confidence his character needs, and Will's appeal makes me care about him immediately.  All four actors create characters who are distinct, and whose actions and words seem true to those characters.  They seem real and honest within the craziness of satire.

I disagree with Kenna's style as the secretary.  I did not think it fit with the others mentioned above.  Her delivery did not strike me as coming from inside the character.  I think the second part of the show might have more impact if she tones down her early scenes to a more natural level, to match those mentioned.  Later in the show her style is fun and appropriate.

The second part of the show is not as focused as the first.  Either the writing is not as tight or the lines are not as solid. The pacing and content are not quite as good as the earlier part of the production.  It is still entertaining and offers many fun moments right through the curtain call.

Which deserves a line by itself.  The curtain call is delightfully creative and fun.

This is a show I would enjoy seeing again after it has been workshopped and fully rehearsed in the performance space.

But in its present form it is worth seeing at the Fringe.

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