Posted in Indianapolis theater: reviews

Indianapolis Men’s Chorus: “Journey to Hell” (IndyFringe 19)

Hell yes.

Journey To HellThe IMC rock the hell out of the District Theatre with their program dedicated to the dark side. Starting off with black robes and Latin chanting sets the mood for the homage to all things scary. Their energetic choreography exhibits their incredible stamina. Sometimes the musicians override the vocalists, a pet peeve of mine, but it wasn’t enough to make this a must-see-or-die show. Just some of the songs include “Renegade,”a Journey Mega Mix, “Devil Inside,” “Hell’s Bells,” “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream,” “Hope It Gives You Hell,” and so many more. Don’t overlook this one!

  • Friday, Aug. 23, 10:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 24, 9 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 25, 1:30 p.m.
  • indyfringe.org
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Posted in Indianapolis theater: reviews

“Footlose” (IndyFringe 2019)

Take Footloose and add improv. Audience members contribute blind lines from movies and dance moves to buckets, and as the story progresses, the actors pick from the appropriate bucket. Hilarity ensues. Be creative, please. The night I went there were multiple “I don’t give a damn” and “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” The cast went with it, though, no matter what they were given. If you are a fan of the movie, you won’t want to miss this.

Posted in Indianapolis theater: reviews

Uindy Theatre Company: “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” (IndyFringe 19)

Twenty-four mini plays in 48 minutes. Timed. If they can’t do it, you get free pizza! On your table is a menu of play choices, and the audience gets to shout out which play they want to see next. Some are a few seconds, some are about two minutes. Some are brilliant, and each one has a comedic element. Highlights are “Poultry-geist,” “How to War,” “These Things Are True,” “Memorial Day,” “and Honesty.” Beware No. 8, Sudden Death and Resurrection.” Kudos to Katie Carter, Destiny Heugel, Morgan Jackson, and especially Clayton Rardon for having to wear a dildo on his head because of “stage direction.”

Posted in Indianapolis theater: reviews

“Is Your Brain Still Cooking?” (IndyFringe 19)

Is your brain still cookingWelcome to the Nursing Home Channel, where octogenarians remember useless information in the game show Is Your Brain Still Cooking? Jim Banta as the game show host is a bit frazzled, as he just happened to land the gig as host. He’s unprepared, especially when his two contestants arrive. Edmund (Dan Flahive) is covered in Post-It notes because he can’t recall even the simplest of everyday things, but ask him about something 50 years ago and he can go into minute detail. The other contestant, Roby Flo (Case Jacobus) is well-centered in the now. But her past profession, porn star, keeps her mind otherwise occupied. This is a funny of slightly long program. All three cast members nail their characters, and the jokes go beyond just the gross and old.

 

Posted in Indianapolis theater: reviews

“The Phantom of Fountain Square” (IndyFringe 2019)

Phantom in Fountain Square PRINT (1)Poor Fountain Square. The revitalization that never was. In this story, a couple, Samantha (Kerra D. Wagener) and Danny (Thom Johnson) have bought a space in The Square to open a restaurant. But the gremlins of Fountain Square strike, removing electrical components and even pooping on the counter. The only person not bothered by the ghostly presence is Katie (Jacquiline Rae), their daughter.

This is a musical without much music, and sitting on the right side of the audience, the vocals were often overpowered by the music. Similarly, a small screen showing old photos of Fountain Square is placed to the far left, making it hard for us on the right to see.

Owen Harp as the Phantom is downright goofy in his exaggerated movements, all long, sweeping arms and long strides inside a large black cloak. His monkey companion is downright disturbing.

Rae is a natural on stage, however. I hope to see her again in the future.

  • Saturday, Aug. 24, 10:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 25, 4:30 p.m.

 

 

Posted in Indianapolis theater: interviews

Carmel High School: “And then They Came for Me” (IndyFringe 2019)

The 15th annual Indianapolis Fringe Festival continues into its second week, including the offering from Carmel High School, And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank. The play combines the the stories of Anne Frank and survivors Ed Silverberg and Eva Schloss.

Maggie Cassidy, a theater teacher and director at CHS for 12 years and this show’s director, has been a part of Fringe for 14 years. “I love to direct Fringe plays because they are intimate and artistic. It isn’t about glitz and glamour; it is about true and beautiful storytelling,” she says.

“The story of the Holocaust is one that should continue to be told,” she adds. “I love to do plays based on historic events/true stories. I love to research that event, time period and its people. I thought this play was beautiful and heart wrenching. The play is a combination of two real survivors sharing their stories on video and actors recreating the events on stage.”

The actors are made up of seniors, juniors and one sophomore from CHS. “I think it is a wonderful experience for the students. They get a chance to perform for a wider audience. We cast the show at the end of the 2018–2019 school year, but have only been in rehearsal for three weeks. I think it gives them a truer experience of what professional theater is like. It gives the kids and the theater program at CHS really great exposure,” she says.

“We often do something heavy, almost always a drama, almost always something based on real events, always a small cast, and almost always something that provides a message for the audience. I think that we must often remind our young people and our audience about the events that took place under Hitler in WWII. Survivor Eva Schloss says, ‘I fear greatly that the lessons of the past will be forgotten, if only because we all tend to push aside what is unpleasant. Therefore it seems to me very important that the surviving witnesses should continue to testify.’ Survivor Ed Silverberg says, ‘It is, after all, the next generation that must keep alive the knowledge of this dark episode in human history, so that it may never be repeated.”

The show runs Aug. 16–18 and Aug. 20, 24, and 25. For tickets and more information, go to www.indyfringe.org.

Posted in Indianapolis theater: reviews

aMUSEd (IndyFringe 2019)

amusedNikki’s apartment is haunted by a Muse. A very unwelcome one. He’s stuck on this plane until he fulfills his promise to his last companion: find someone to finish their last story. Nikki won’t budge because this apartment is supposed to be a haven for her to escape her own pain. An odd couple indeed.

Kyle Dorsch and Megan Ann Jacobs take the acting over the top a little, but overall they give us a sweet and funny story.

  • Thursday, Aug. 22, 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 24, 4:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 25, 3 p.m.
Posted in Indianapolis theater: reviews

Emerging Artist Theatre: “The Cookie Dough Show” (IndyFringe 2019)

Cookie dough show 300_0Thank you, Paige Scott, for making my night. (As opposed to the Diet Coke going up my nose in Is Your Brain Still Cooking? See seperate review.) Paige on a toy piano singing the song “Not in Nottingham” from Disney’s 1973 classic Robin Hood was one of the best experiences of my life. I know every. single. word of that song. Using the Robin Hood theme as a segue into a Kevin Costner homage, Paige also serenaded us with Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You.” Besides Paige’s musical prowess, the show is a mishmash of half laughs and some more serious scenes. A little girl wants to kill Santa. Then there is a series of awkward retail exchanges, a somber set where a daughter runs into her estranged father, and a sweet scene about a pregnant Army wife. Billed as a “variety” show, The Cookie Dough Show seemed a little too schizophrenic in its widely varied vignettes, but it has its high points. Like the plinking of tiny piano keys. tumblr_ml2dn9giLJ1rkx03vo1_400

  • Saturday, Aug. 17, 9 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 18, 3 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 9 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 22, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 25, 7:30 p.m.
  • ComedySportz
  • www.indyfringe.org
Posted in Indianapolis theater: reviews

Be Out Loud Theatre (BOLT): “The Only Thing Worse You Could’ve Told Me” (IndyFringe 2019)

swinfordYou do not need to be gay or a man to appreciate this show. As a straight woman with many gay friends, I loved it.

Written by Dan Bulter (Frazier), the show looks at what it means to be a gay man. Michael Swinford’s masterful characterization and colorful inflection make these vignettes both serious and seriously funny. He is so energetic and expressive that you are right there with him when “Leslie” falls for a man dying of AIDS, or when 10-year-old Tommy asks his friend what fucking is. Watch as a guy reacts to his best friend coming out, which is followed by one of the weirdest conversations ever. The commentary on just what is the “gay community” is a conversation starter. Do they speak for all gay people? Should they?

This is a must-see on your Fringe list for its entertainment value and its depth.

  • Saturday, Aug. 17, 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 21, 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 22, 9 p.m.
  • Friday, Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 25, 4:30 p.m.
  • The District Theatre
  • www.indyfringe.org
Posted in Indianapolis theater: reviews

Approxima Productions: “Vinny the Pooh” (IndyFringe 2019)

It’s Mafia Pooh!

They all had to grow up eventually, so why not make their family a Family? Sniglet and Pooh had a deal go south, and The Boss, Franga, isn’t going to be happy. Sniglet (Kelsey VanVoorst) has a filthy mouth and anger issues — and an eclectic sex drive. Of course, Christa MaBobbin (Morgan Morton) is the one who has been screwing toads. Franga (Carrie Ann Schlatter) keeps her furry puppet Little Schmoo in a golden belly pouch, which the unintelligible Jowl (Joshua C. Ramsey) seems to be into. Eyesore (Clay Mabbit) may have his tail’s ribbon tattooed to his neck, but now he’s managed to lose an eye. And Stagger (John Kern) appears with visual conformation of his bouncy goodness <sniff>. As for Vinny (Steve Kruze), he seems to be the only one who hasn’t degraded into mafia madness with his honey snacks and rumbly tummy. Not to mention those shorts and dress shoes he’s rockin’. (Speaking of, VanVoorst’s boots are awesome.)

Director Christine Kruze has quite the handful of characters (they have a violence supervisor), and the group gets its weirdness on. The cast knows it Pooh, but Jowl, Sniglet, and Stagger ham it up the most for a giggly romp through the 50 Hectare Forest.

Sunday, Aug. 18, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 23, 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m.
Posted in Indianapolis theater: reviews

“Ubrella” (IndyFringe 2019)

Ubrella (not a type-o) is a one-woman show about Ginger Thimlar’s observations on life and its perception. It’s almost stream of consciousness in that it jumps subjects or repeats itself. Such as, Ginger lets us know several times that she hates technology. Vehemently. The way she see it, tech has destroyed our communication skills and social interaction. She also exhibits quite a bit of bitterness having never used her vocalist/fine art/film direction degree. Then she moves on to her estranged father and her eventual malaise for Indianapolis. Where she is at any given time is nebulous. Sometimes she seems to be at work, sometimes on the bus, and sometimes no place in particular at all — just monologuing. In the background are the noises of a city, which come and go at random.

Her entire show is read straight from a script in a binder, often sitting or else shambling around the stool. There is little or no eye contact and expression. Instead, it resembles a first table read for a new play. This production is nowhere near ready for a stage.

  • Saturday, Aug. 17, 10:30 p.m.
  • Monday, Aug. 19, 9 p.m.
  • Friday, Aug. 23, 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 24, 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug 25, 1:30 p.m.
  • $15 adults / $12 seniors (over 65), students (with ID), and children
  • Indianapolis Firefighters Museum
  • www.indyfringe.org

 

Posted in Indianapolis theater: reviews

Openings for the weekend of 8/15

FringeFest, ya’ll

That’s the big deal for the next two weeks. I just got back from the preview night, where performers were given two minutes each to hawk their shows. Not everyone participated, but of those who did, here are my “promising” picks:

  • Beyond Ballet
  • Lady Lives
  • Fallen from the Toy Box
  • The Madwomen’s Late-Night Cabaret
  • The Adventures of Crazy Jane and Red-Haired Annie
  • and one other I didn’t catch the name of about being transgender

Sixty-seven show at $15 bucks a pop. Go to http://www.indyfringe.org.

Garfield Shakespeare Company: As You Like It

For something completely different: Break out your leg warmers and your mix tapes and head over to Garfield Park for one of Shakespeare’s most celebrated plays with a new, bodacious twist. Its the 1980s, and the Forest of Arden is home to the raddest summer camp around. But trouble abounds as two brothers fight over control of the camp, young counselors disguise themselves for love, and the campers are left to fend for themselves. Enjoy beer from Garfield Brewery on the lawn of the beautiful MacAllister Stage as Garfield Shakespeare Company takes it to the max with a totally tubular production of As You Like It.

Posted in Indianapolis theater: reviews

IndyFringe Festival: “The Globe”

The Globe ProgramThe Globe is an all-female Shakespeare company. Out of the blue, its founder, Bella (Fawzia Istrabadi) is fired, soon to be replaced by a man coming in from out of state, James. Coincidentally, that night she has a Tinder date with Jackie (Spencer North), who happens to be a friend of James and is helping him get settled into his new apartment.

Bella’s initial reaction? Dial assassinationstation.gov.

While she does back down from the assassin idea, with the advice from said assassin (Ky Doyle), she is still intent on dislodging James from his new position while not telling Jackie that James is her replacement. She’s also trying to avoid the subject with her friend and stage manager, Mel (Lucy Fitzgerald).

The script has real potential, and the actresses performing it show talent. The concept is great, but the show feels truncated, short even for a Fringe setting, but that gives it plenty of space to be workshopped and refined into what can become a funny and thoughtful piece of theater.

The show is presented by the Earlham College Fringe Company, and the aforementioned actresses are joined on stage by Briana Miller and Grace Nickeson as members of the theater company.

Posted in Indianapolis theater: reviews

IndyFringe: “The Gab” produced by Zach & Zack (4.5 stars)

I got to go to another Fringe show thanks to the generosity of Zach Rosing! And I got to LAUGH! Yay!

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The Gab is the brainchild of Zach Rosing (producer) and Zack Neiditch (director/playwright), known as Zach & Zack in theater circles; they also gifted audiences with The Great Bike Race at 2014’s IndyFringe and brought an extended version of that show to Theatre on the Square.

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“The Gab” at IndyFringe

The Gab is a morning talk show that’s already eyeing the chopping block. Because of issues on set, today is the first time the show will have no studio audience, but it is still being broadcast live. Poor stage manager Maureen (Devan Mathias) is so stressed she’s vibrating, and her assistant Alex (Chad Woodward) is suffering for it. Things get increasingly tenser as each host takes her place on stage: Dee (Jenni White), Jackie (Vickie Cornelius Phipps), Nadine (Nathalie Cruz), Brianne (Betsy Norton), and Angela (Ericka Barker). The chat show-cum-cat fight subsequently deteriorates with each segment. These women know how to stir some shit, and Maureen and Alex, with no help from The Gab’s director Jim (Rosing), who is safely ensconced in his own God-box, are left scrambling to keep these off-the-leash divas, and the show, going.

The show is packed with laughs at the expense of these crazy women (and one gay assistant who keeps talking about makeup sex). Low verbal blows and physical smack downs keep it rolling until the cameras cut off for the final time. Lots of silly fun makes it worth catching before Fringe wraps on Sunday.

But WTF with the last five seconds?

  • Saturday, Aug. 26, 6 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 27, 3 p.m.
  • $15 cash at the door, or go online or to the Firefighters Museum if you want to use a card
  • www.indyfringe.org
Posted in Indianapolis theater: previews

Openings (and events) for the weekend of 8/25

New shows opening at IndyFringe

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“The Secret of Castle Alphabet” at IndyFringe

Starting tonight, the Indianapolis Fringe Festival has even more shows in its roster.

  • Secret of Castle Alphabet: A must see for the kids in the family
  • Hedy!: Hitting Indy’s festival after a fabulous run in Ireland. “Best Actress” Galway Fringe

And under Music & Dance

  • Dudesical
  • Red Couch
  • Haul & Oatz
  • Pervy Prancing: A Dirty Dancing Improv Spectacular
  • IndyScape

TONIGHT: The Crowning of the First-Ever Miss IndyFringe!

Drag queens compete for the title in front of celebrity guest judges in categories such as Q&A, Fringe-wear, and talent. All proceeds benefit IndyFringe. Bring your dollars to tip the girls! The contestant with the most tips gets bonus points. Audience participation is encouraged!

Phoenix Theatre fundraisers

Brad Hinshaw and Friends

A stand-up comedy event! Eight of the best local comics under one roof for one night only. Mixed with the classic Phoenix style of no-holds-barred fun, this night is one not to miss. All proceeds benefit the Phoenix Theatre operations budget so they can bring us more productions just the way we love to see them.

  • Saturday, Aug 26. 8 p.m.
  • $15
  • Wheeler Arts Center, 1035 Sanders St.

Mathew Street: A Beatles Celebration

A rocking evening with the most beloved music of our time. All proceeds benefit the Phoenix Theatre’s operating fund. Appropriate for all ages.

  • Thursday, Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m.
  • $20
  • Phoenix Theatre

Tickets for both events can be bought here.

Buck Creek Players’ Ice Cream Social

Enjoy some pie, ice cream, and other desserts and get to know other members and supporters of BCP. There is no cost to attend this event, so stop by to enjoy everyone’s company and enjoy some summertime treats. Catch up with some old friends, make some new ones, or come learn more about BCP. Following the social will be a short membership meeting and kickoff of the play-reading committee for the 2018-2019 season. Not a member? Interested in possibly becoming a member? Stop by for more information and to pay your membership fee.

 

Posted in Indianapolis theater: previews

Openings for the weekend of 8/10

Carmel Community Players: Driving Miss Daisy

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Carmel Community Players: “Driving Miss Daisy”

“What transforms us? Who are the people who have affected us most deeply? What do you do when you are faced with an idea or perspective so new to you that you’re forever changed by it? These moments in life when the world gets larger suddenly, or clearer, or richer, are gifts. Unexpected gifts.” —Driving Miss Daisy

Fringe Festival Performer Preview Party

Kick off #Fringe17 with two-minute previews of shows featuring more than 70 shows from local, national, and international performers. Special guests Mayor Joe Hogsett, Miss Indiana, and City Councilors Jeff Miller and Zach Adamson. Be the first to get your Collector “Fringe 17 Button” and pick up a copy of the Festival Program, and get a “sneak peek” of what local, national and international performers re bringing to the stage in 2017.