Spoken Word Reviews

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, extra shows have been added here and there, and there will in all likelihood be extra post-fringe shows as well, as is so often the case. We went along last night to see what all the fuss is about. [read more]

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. [read more]

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 posters-art, took the title seriously and braced myself for nearly an hour of awkward improv on sex, drugs and the possibility of being dragged on stag [...] Let this be a lesson to us all: Anyone can tell dirty stories. But not everyone can tell them as poetically as Howard Lieberman or spin them as hilariously terrifying fantasies like Loren Niemi. [read more]

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. [...]This show has him relating his times in China, tracing back the history of his family. He talks all about the hassle of trying to get there, leaving his bag in a cab and the lengths he went to get it back again [read more]

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. [read more]


Veteran storyteller Laura Parker mesmerizes in this revisioning of traditional fairy tales. In a 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 that of a story we knew once as Beauty as the Beast. In all her stories, Packer enlists her audience as co-creators (“You remember how…” “You know what happens next...”), while simultaneously thwarting what we know and remember of these stories. [read more]

“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, fear and eventual embrace of  sexuality in her life. She begins by recounting a surreal, Edenic encounter with physical pleasure that she experienced as a child. And then, like beads on a string, Mayo adds narratives from middle school, high school, college and then adulthood—all of which find her at a moments of discovery about her physical, sexual being.

Her storytelling style is simple…and at the same time, intricate. [read more]