Reviews

Thumbnail of ‘Freak Up the Street’

By Bob Evans When regret is your fondest memory. Andy Garrison stars as William, a middle-aged man who is visited by an eccentric childhood neighbor that arrives via time machine with lessons on how not to be like a possum. Bill Warren, Davis DeRock, and Sallie Downing also appear in this nostalgic and humorous look at…

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Review of ‘Ten Things You Really Shouldn’t Do With Puppets’

By Kelly Luck Paul Mesner’s puppet company has spent the last several years creating a variety of different projects: children’s theatre, public service messages, and collaborations with other performance groups in the metro area. By and large, the majority of these performances have been strictly wholesome, unimpeachable works suitable for anyone. Which is all well…

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Review of ‘Story of the Century’

By Bob Evans Before the famed Kitty Hawk flight of the Wright Brothers, a Texas preacher developed and flew an airship as told in a true story of faith and aviation that entertained capacity crowds during Kansas City’s Fringe Festival on the Levin Stage of the Unicorn Theatre. At the turn of the century when…

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Review of ‘Barrymore’

By Bob Evans The most celebrated movie heartthrob from the famous Barrymore family recounts his story in a predominately one-man show, Barrymore, at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre for the 2016 Kansas City Fringe Festival that ends July 31. Charles Pulliam strides onto the stage in the character of John Barrymore, the youngest of the three…

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Review of ‘Cinema KC’

By Kelly Luck With the wealth of live performing arts options available, it is unfortunate that sometimes the other media on display get pushed to the background. That is why this reviewer always tries to make time for the annual showing of projects by the KC independent film-making community in their “CinemaKC” program. This year…

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Review of ‘Shrew’d’

By Hephzibah Dutt Teresa Moore delivers a high-energy, dizzying rendition of the main plot-line of Taming of the Shrew with impressive solo characterization of 11 characters. Fans of reduced Shakespeare shows like The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) or Breakneck Shakespeare are sure to enjoy Shrew’d as Moore embodies, in near-schizophrenic succession, upto 5 characters in…

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Review of ‘Dancing with Crow’s Feet’

By Hephzibah Dutt Weaving together dance, drumming, and personal narratives, Dancing With Crow’s Feet is a performance about older adults, by older adults, for….everyone. It is one of the first fruits of a long-term story project by Arts and Ageing KC. The production confronts society’s obsession with youth, and works to dismantle the notion that…

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Review of ‘Upskirt/C.E.C’

By Bob Evans Somehow the shackles on Pete Bakely’s fingers broke, again, and he has spun two hilarious short plays for this year’s KC Fringe Festival. Even more outrageous than previous pieces and now playing at The Arts Asylum, are Upskirt and CEC (Charlie’s Enormous Cock). Upskirt drops in on a brother and sister whose…

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Review of ‘Luciano for Me’

By Bob Evans A high school trip to Rome for eight girls and their chaperone brings exactly what the girls want, adventure, love, learning, and even a hint or romance, in Luciano for Me at the Unicorn Theatre on the Levin Stage for the KC Fringe Festival. Playwright/choreographer/actor, Mindy Moritz teamed with Steven Eubank to…

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Review of ‘Wicked Creatures’

By Hephzibah Dutt The Living Room Theatre’s Emma Carter gifts us with an incisively clever new play, Wicked Creatures. Set in Victorian England, Carter’s 90-minute play invokes a host of hard topics, all of which are comically juxtaposed against the facade of Victorian gentility. Factor in superbly-subtle exposition, dynamic characters, witty dialogue and a relentless…

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Crazy Horse: A Dream of Thunder – Review

By Bob Evans American Indians suffered terribly from the actions of European explorers and then White Europeans began settling the United States, pushing farther and farther into Native American lands, while never seeming to care about those residing there first. Such is the backdrop for Crazy Horse: A Dream of Thunder, now playing at the…

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Review – The Table

By Bob Evans When discussing his KC Fringe submission, The Table, playwright Curtis Smith described it a deep, dark, disturbing, and he proves right on all accounts in the play at The Living Room Theatre. The play surprises the audience with some raw looks at a man, John, who sits at an empty, oblong table,…

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Review – Life Laid Bare

By Hephzibah Dutt A new plateau was set in KC Fringe history this year when Max Brown’s “Life Laid Bare” sold out of its complete run before the festival actually began. This, as far as this reviewer has been able to determine, was the first time for this to occur at our local festival. Fortunately,…

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Review: MamaLogs

By Kelly Luck Debbie From has spent the last several years collecting stories of motherhood. Old mothers, young mothers, would-be mothers, adopted mothers, mothers of animals or plants or nothing at all. In “Mamalogs” she shares some of these stories with us, covering a wide spectrum of human experience. There are stories about children and…

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Review – The Fall of the House of Usher

By Bob Evans Stand up and cheer for the trio of actors who undertake the dark but creative mind-set of one of Edgar Allen Poe’s classic terror tales, “The Falll of the House of Usher,” one of his many stories that adapted into film. The talented trio takes the audience into the darkness and melancholy…

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Review: Performing Annie Oakley

By Bob Evans Audiences have only about 15 seconds to resist the on-stage presence of Annie Oakley as Cheryl Weaver takes that stage and commands the full attention of those present in the Central Standard Theatre’s offering for the KC Fringe, Performing  Annie Oakley:  Shooting is a Gentle Thing, at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre. America’s…

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John and Leslie Are in the Copy Room Again – Review

By Bob Evans Slice of life stories always allow the audience to peer into the dysfunctional point of some situation, as is the case of John and Leslie Are in the Copy Room Again.  Life imitates art and art imitates life, in this production at Phospor Studio. Mike Rice, the playwright, fashioned his main character,…

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Review of ‘MacDuo’

By Hephzibah Dutt Dear fans of Shakespeare and classical works in performance, you are in for a treat. The theatrical team of Hubbard and Hubbard bring a (highly) reduced-cast, 60-minute version of The Scottish Play to the KC Fringe: it is cleverly adapted, creatively staged and, best of all, dynamically spoken and embodied by wife-husband…

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Review of Been Broken

By Hephzibah Dutt Been Broken is a man and a guitar …and a slightly recalcitrant amp. The amp acts up just as the performance begins and Been Broken, who prefers to go by his stage name, takes the opportunity to start with a joke: “Hi, I’m Been Broken and…I need to fix something,” he says…

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Review of ‘Burlesque on the Rocks: Queen’

By Hephzibah Dutt Kansas City’s Bohemian Cult Revival brings a burlesque-concept tribute to Queen to the KC Fringe. Coming up on their second year together, this nine-personal ensemble makes its first foray into using multimedia as part of their mise-en-scene. The performers sing, lip-sync, dance, stage-combat, spoof and strip their way through eight numbers by…

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That Really Funny Improv Show – Review

By Kelly Luck There is improv, and there is Improv. In the right hands improv can be an exciting and, yes, extremely funny medium. Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding could plop down in front of a couple of microphones and spin an entire cockeyed universe of eccentrics. The Second City of Chicago (and Toronto) pretty…

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Review: Been Finn

By Bob Evans What happened to Huckleberry Finn after the story of his early and adolescent life ends?  Does he find more adventures?  Does he meet new and interesting people? Does he just fade into American’s melting pot?  Does he go to Indian Territory as he supposes?  Does he grow up to become just an…

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Review: The Islander

By Bob Evans Relevance Productions continues to string together interesting and challenging pieces for Kansas City Fringe audiences to view and discuss, and this year’s entry, The Islander, brings memories of the old-time Rod Serling TV series The Twilight Zone. The play, on the Levin Stage of The Unicorn Theatre, finds a crack insurance salesman…

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Review of Oh Susanna

By Bob Evans Susanna Lee joins Fringe for the tenth time this year with a new show that is a little something different from her usual fare, but familiar enough that old fans will feel at home. Ms Lee (Lucky DeLuxe to those in the know) is a comedienne, raconteur, wit, and emissary from a…

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Review of Script to the Bone

By Bob Evans Late night, or early morning that finds an overworked, overstressed, under-rested college graduate undertaking probably the most horrendous 17-page script known to mankind and attempting to turn a overstuffed actor’s words into a plausible working script aimed at box office gold in the one-woman comedy, Script to the Bone at the Just…

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Review of ’55 minutes of Sex, Drugs and Audience Participation’

By Hephzibah Dutt Nothing could have prepared me for the intriguing performers who delivered 55 Minutes Of Sex, Drugs and Audience Participation. I had read the show description, registered the art on the posters (reference below for your convenience), took the title seriously and braced myself for nearly an hour of awkward improv on sex,…

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Review of ‘Br. John Sings Sam Cooke’

By Kelly Luck Sam Cooke’s story started in a small town in Mississippi in 1931. He began his musical career as a gospel singer before moving on to secular recordings and establishing himself as the King of Soul. Over the course of his too-short career, he rubbed elbows with such legends as Lou Rawls, Aretha…

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Review of ‘Audience’

By Kelly Luck David Hanson likes to play with the concepts of performer and audience. Last year his “Bird in the Hand” took place simultaneously in multiple parts of Union Station. The audience, which was divided into three parts, each got a different piece of the overall story, depending on where they were. This year,…

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Review of ‘Pissing on the Great Wall’

By Kelly Luck Phillip Low has become a returning regular here at the Fringe, coming to do his spoken-word monologues detailing the various adventures of his life. Spoken-word performances do not, unfortunately, seem to draw the crowds very well, which is a shame, as Low is a gifted and entertaining storyteller that this reviewer tries…

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Review of ‘Birds of Prey’

By Kelly Luck The Coterie brings some heavy fare to Westport Coffee House in the form of A Bird of Prey, a story about the perils of high school, finding your place, and dealing with the dynamics of an environment that’s almost a constant trial-by-fire. And if that weren’t enough, someone is murdering children. Their…

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Rumors of Shadows – Reviews

By Bob Evans Those who like vampire stories will be attracted to Rumors of Shadows, not only because of the vampire story within the performance, but some fun special effects, lighting tricks, daft “horror story dialogue,” various out of the ordinary characters, and mime. Rumors of Shadows serves as a backdrop to a company of…

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Electoral Dysfunction 2016 – Review

By Bob Evans Run for your own sanctity if you are a political candidate or have some political views that you don’t want subject to the demented and twisted minds of the cast of Right Between the Ears and their current show at the City Stage in Union Station, Electoral Dysfunction 2016. Yes, the twisted…

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Shadows: The Life of Anne Boleyn – Review

By Bob Evans The life of luxury and excess may be what people envision of Henry VIII and his court, bu, the deathwatch thoughts and passion of his second wife, Anne Bolyn, propose an entirely different view of Henry’s wife and mother of future Queen Elizabeth, Shadows: The Life of Anne Boleyn opens on a…

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Review of Mannequins

By Bob Evans The creative mind of Jonathan Robertson returns to the KC Fringe with his newest production, a play that examines the fragility of the human mind and the power of auditory and visual stimulus via a television and a mannequin.  A new play, Mannequins, playing on the Jerome Stage of the Unicorn Theatre,…

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Review of ‘Two by Tennessee Williams’

By Bob Evans Kansas City Fringe audiences get the rare chance to see a distinguished playwright’s one-act plays prior to their fall debut in New York City as Home Grown Theatre Co. brings “I Can’t Imagine Tomorrow” and “Green Eyes” to the Fringe stage of Kansas City’s Arts Asylum. Two talented performers portray characters in…

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Review of ‘Script to the Bone’

By Kelly Luck Much has been said about the process of writing: the struggles, the self-doubt, the painstaking process of finding just the right word in just the right place. And indeed, all of these things are true and valid aspects of the craft. But what they tend to leave out, and what writers generally…

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Review of ‘The Toymaker’

By Kelly Luck The Toymaker is the story of Prudence, a second-(or third)-generation toymaker who lives in her shop, all alone with her toys. Yes, she talks to them. Yes, she hears them talk back. No, she never leaves the store. And no, she does not do what you may call a brisk trade. The…

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Review of ‘Selfless’

By Bob Evans A humble man living only to make all mankind into better people, and a man truly blessed with the kindness, compassion, and benevolence. “Selfless” written by Forrest Attaway, about Forrest Attaway, directed by Forrest Attaway allows the subtlety of Forrest Attaway to take center stage—Not. The loveable and larger than life Forrest…

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Review of ‘Words+Music’

By Kelly Luck Words + Music is the result of a rather fascinating collaboration between the Coterie Theatre’s Young Playwright’s Roundtable, the UMKC Composition Department, and the Lyric Opera. What happens is that short, original pieces by the young writers are set to music and then performed using local talent. The result is a not…

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Review: Fangirls by Kelly Luck

This reviewer first heard of FanGirls while attending Planet ComicCon in Kansas City earlier this year. SInce that time, they have been looking forward to it, as it is based on a topic very near and dear to this reviewer’s heart. The marginalizing of female voices in the genre communities (that is, scifi/fantasy, superheroes, etc)…

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Review – Take Flight: An Adventure in Cirque

By Kelly Luck It is always interesting to see what sort of physical theatre productions come in each year with Fringe. The Chicago-based Imaginez has brought for us this year Take Flight, a story about pursuing your dreams and the changes one sometimes has to make to do so.   The story stars three clowns:…

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Young Black Victorian: Review

By Kelly Luck In a way, it is unfortunate that the Fishtank is such an intimate space, as Ms Rasheedat ‘Ras’ Badejo’s one-woman production is almost certainly going to play to sold-out houses throughout the fringe and most likely to the post-fringe “overflow” performances already slated for August. Ms Badejo’s portrayal of a woman mostly…

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An Uncommon Core: Review

By Bob Evans for the KC Fringe Festival. A Middle School teacher  laments and explains the questions that face her as she continually endeavors to prepare students for life—real life—that  awaits them as they travel through a year in her care, while  that real life does not always fit the standardized curriculum her distract mandates.…

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Baddest Auditions: Review

By Bob Evans for the KC Fringe Festival. Whim Productions Count on Kevin King and his pack of talented (or if is untalented) crazies to present an ever-changing evening of entertainment in “Baddest Auditions” that opened at 9 p.m., Friday, July 23, at the Musical Theatre Heritage Stage 2.   For the show, King rotates…

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Jason and the Argonauts: Review

By Kelly Luck Fringers with families will want to save space on their calendar for Olive Juice Theatre and their take on the legend of Jason and the Argonauts.  The tale, in which would-be hero Jason is sent in to retrieve the legendary Golden Fleece, is performed in a freewheeling slapstick style with lots of…

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Review of ‘Impenetrable Innocence’

By Hephzibah Dutt “I think sometimes stories come find me and say… “It’s time”.” ** Impenetrable Innocence is the one such product of Jamie Mayo’s obedience to the stories that well up in her, demanding to be told. Mayo strings together personal narrative accounts of her encounters with the sensual, and her journey through knowledge,…

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Review of ‘Fairy Tales for Grown-Ups’

By Hephzibah Dutt Veteran storyteller Laura Parker mesmerizes in this revisioning of traditional fairy tales. Drawing upon the purist tradition of oral narrative—no set, no props, just you and her and the stories—she will in turn scare, surprise, challenge and delight. “My story is about promises made of my behalf,” begins the first-person narrative of a…

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Review of Fangirls: An Improbable Cosplay

By Hephzibah Dutt “Where are all the girl action figures?! Where’s Black Widow??! Where’s Wonder Woman??!” And so begins Brick Street Theatre’s 60 minute rant, protest and exposé on the misogynist tendencies of the comic book genre and its holy pilgrimage site, Comicon. Fangirls: An Improbable Cosplay is playwright, Jessie Salsbury’s venture into adapting her…

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The Story of the Century Review by Kelly Luck

In 1902, in Pittsburg, Texas, an  inventor and clergyman by the name of Burrell Cannon built the Ezekiel Airship, an attempt to create the first powered, controlled flying machine via use of biblical principles. Working with a small group of inventors and a dedicated staff at the local foundry, Cannon created his work based on…

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