Cincinnati Fringe 2024: Ariel Mary Ann’s Fringe Reviews – Part 2

I’m not exaggerating when I say that Paek will have you laughing to tears.

Mounting WashingtonPresented by Penny Sterling of Penny for your Thoughts Productions

This one woman show follows Penny Sterling as she finds herself training to bike up Mt. Washington. Sterling performs the entire show while riding a stationary bike which is not an easy feat by any means. 

According to Sterling, this tale takes place in a different life time.  At this point in her life, Sterling felt as though she failed as a parent and couldn’t be the person she wanted to be. One particular day, the tides began to shift after she received a large check as payment for a website she helped in developing.

This would eventually lead her to start picking up biking as a hobby after a suggestion from a friend. The story is simple, someone trains to ride a bike up a mountain. In Sterling’s case, it’s more than that. She comically showcases how miracles happen when you least expect it. It’s a testament to the power of community and friendship.

I recommend Mounting Washington for anyone looking for a “slice of life” comedic Fringe show.

No Fucks Given. None Taken. All Done. Presented by Paeking Order Productions

No Fucks Given. None Taken. All Done. Is a hilarious analysis of humans and how we’re complicit in the business of being bullshit. Writer and performer Pamela L. Paek calls out the ways people can be selfish and self consumed. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Paek will have you laughing to tears. She shares with the audience that she used to be a former math teacher. It’s because of this, that she’s able to use math as a way to calculate when people are completely full of shit. 

Paek makes it clear that at some point we’re all going to die, so why act like life is peachy when sometimes… it quite literally sucks ass. Why engage in the dreaded small talk when you could just… not. 

”A wise person once said, when you fuck around… you find out. That’s the message within this Fringe show. Take up space and don’t apologize for it. You are allowed to exist just as you are. 

No Fucks Given... is about the power of rage and choosing agency over societal complacency. Consider this Fringe show if you want to learn how you can stop giving a fuck in the midst of societal Tom Foolery and bullshit. 

Cancel This Musical

After surviving the first weekend of the Fringe Festival, I made my return on 6/5. Cancel this Musical comes from the mind of Wesley Zurick. This Fringe piece set in NYC, explores “cancel culture” through the world of satirical musical theater. 

Cancel Culture has become a phenomenon within our society. Many of us want to show how “inclusive” we are as a way to escape being “called out” for “bad behavior”. Cancel this Musical approaches the subject matter in an engaging and thoughtful way making it a Fringe Festival gem.  

Being a musical, the songs are catchy and fun. They help to move the story along in a way that doesn’t feel forced or unnatural. The acting is superb and it’s clear the cast truly supports one another. 

If you love new original musicals then I would recommend Cancel This Musical.

Esther Made Me Do It

Esther Made Me Do It is a comedic play follows the ups and downs of Jewish teenage girlhood. Nell Adkins and Helen Sher star as “Naomi” and “Ruth” respectively with direction by Elizabeth Sacktor. Naomi wants nothing more than to be a star on the stage and she’ll do whatever it takes to get there. If there’s one thing worth noting about this show, it’s the fact that no one takes theater more seriously than teenage theater kids. I felt myself reminiscing on the days I would spend listening to various Broadway cast recordings in my bedroom.

Playwrights Sacktor and Adkins find a way to tackle the complexities of Judaism while maintaining the lightheartedness of Esther Made Me Do It. When you’re a teenager, identity isn’t always black and white. My takeaway is that Jewishness doesn’t look just one way. 

If you grew up nerding out about all things theater, consider giving Esther Made Me Do It a watch. You won’t regret it.  

Alphas: Origin Story

Alphas: Origin Story is a comedy variety show presented by Alphas, an all women comedy group based here in The Queen City. The set up for this particular Fringe Show consists of various comedy skits. None of them made any sense in the best way possible and that’s what made this show one hell of a time. Women in comedy isn’t about feminism, it’s about women doing the weirdest shit ever. Alphas is as weird as it gets. I had a grand time in the front row. The group kicked things off with a stand up set from one of their members, Julie Locker. Locker owned the hell out of that stage and came in swinging with jokes about racial identity, wedding planning, and the woes of being a woman in a male dominated society.

Following that were various sketches that can only be described as unhinged Tom Foolery. From a bit about a grandmother explaining how her grand baby was born in a White Castles to an improv scene about the creation of stop lights.

Alphas was a total hoot and I enjoyed every second. If you find yourself looking for a good time in the Queen City, consider attending an Alphas show.  Here is their Website.

Cincinnati Fringe 2024

Check back in for more highlights of the Fringe. Happy Fringing, Cincinnati!

Get your Fringe tickets for the Fringe HERE. If your are seeing more than 16 shows or more (and yes, you still have time to see over 16 shows) you can buy an All Access Pass. A Flex Pass is good for 6 shows. Check out the full schedule HERE.

A new Calendar for everything onstage from LCT’s member theatres.

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