Sunday, July 29, 2012

KC Fringe "Surrender Dorothy" review by banders

Don't Surrender Dorothy, keep her going!
Rating: 5

Surrender Dorothy
KC Fringe Festival

I saw the Surrender Dorothy show on Wednesday.  Michelle Stelting and Darin Stelting play Judy Garland and Kansas playwright William Inge, respectively.  I don't know much about William Inge so I can't speak for accuracy in the role, but Michelle's portrayal of Judy Garland was spot-on, in speaking, singing, and even gestures and body language.  Darin's portrayal of William Inge is certainly emphatic and serious.

I liked the use of songs and stories to handle prop and costume changes. Neither one of them leaves the stage at all during the production, but one of them is always giving the audience something to enjoy while the other one changes.

I thought the script wasn't as cohesive as it could have been.  While the opportunity to hear Judy Garland return to life on stage was worth the price of admission in and of itself, and the individual stories themselves were quite interesting, there didn't seem to be a steady common thread linking all of the play together as a whole.  The device of Judy Garland's autobiography as a link between Mr. Inge and Judy Garland was good, but more emphasis should have been made on how each story fit into the story arc of the autobiography.

Overall I found the play quite enjoyable, and well worth seeing just to catch Michelle Stelting's fantastic portrayal of Judy Garland, and Darin Stelting's brilliant portrayal of so many of the characters in Judy Garland's life, as well as playing William Inge as the moody, intellectual individual I understand he was. Judy Garland might think that there's no such place as home, but this play will make you feel like you've finally come home.

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