Cincy Fringe 2023: Christy’s Reviews #3

Christy's reviews for Bloodline, Rappings, Anatomica, The Rembrandt Job on Saturday, To Spite One's Face, Runaway Princess, and Perfect Purity.
Headshot of LCT Reviewer and Actor Christy Carson

By weekend 2 of Cincy Fringe, most of the shows I’m seeing are sold out! There’s a lot of excitement in the audiences, and for good reasons. We’ve been hearing about everyone’s favorite shows and moving around our schedules to fit in as many as possible.

I made it to Bloodline, Rappings, Anatomica, and The Rembrandt Job on Saturday, and To Spite One’s Face, Runaway Princess, and Perfect Purity on Sunday. All very different shows.

Reviews by Christy Carson

Bloodline by Paris Crayton III

In Bloodline, Paris Crayton III tells the multigenerational story of the men who share his name: his grandfather, his father, and himself, and their experiences with love. I wish this show had more performances so I could recommend you see them.

Bloodline show poster for Cincy Fringe 2023

We hear from his grandfather who worked hard and stood up for himself while dreaming about providing for the love of his life. We see his father who gave up his own artistic aspirations to provide the best life he could for his family. And we follow Paris III’s journey to find himself and love along way.

It’s easy to follow each character’s story as Crayton gives them different spaces, lights, mannerisms, and voices, fully embodying each person.

As easy as it is to follow each character, it’s easy to fall in love with their stories. We feel their pain and share in their joy. Crayton is a compelling storyteller with compelling writing and undeniable presence. This piece is truly moving.

Rappings by InBocca Performance

Do you like shows with movement? Topics pulled from history? Spooky stuff? Stories about independent women? Check out Rappings! It has all of the above.

Kelsey Schwaber as Catherine “Kate” Fox and Brandi Botkin as Margaret “Maggie” Fox capture the wonder of children at play at the beginning when they discover the “game” of ghosts, particularly with one Spirit (Katie Scarlett). We see a beautiful picture of sisterhood, where each personality shines through in the trio.

This transforms into a business when Leah Fox Underhill (Ashley Olivia Morton) realizes they can make money from from it. Morton memorably captures the importance of power as a woman just to survive. She creates a compelling character even as she takes advantage of her sisters’ gift.

If you’re familiar with the Fox Sister’s story, you know how it ends. InBocca Performance puts a slightly different twist on it. Director Caroline Stine also includes a valuable perspective in how the Fox Sisters also brought a rise in the female voice. Make sure to read the program for some great background and insight!

Anatomica by Amica Hunter

Show Poster for Anatomica by Amica Hunter for Cincy Fringe 2023

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Anatomica, but to start, it’s hilarious!

Amica Hunter begins with a surprising costume reveal when they turn around and then asks us if we’re comfortable. They continue to come back to this theme since they find it hard to believe any human is truly comfortable when they’ve experienced pain their whole life.

Hunter deals with their chronic pain from fibromyalgia by asking the question “which skeleton is best?” This takes us on an engaging comedic journey where we learn about endoskeletons, exoskeletons, and hydrostatic skeletons.

Compete with educational style voiceovers, personal stories, physical humor, and plenty of costume changes, this show is fun for a variety of ages.

The Rembrandt Job by Clifton Players

The Rembrandt Job show poster for Cincy Fringe 2023

Who knew Cincinnati had a botched art heist 50 years ago? Not me! The Rembrandt Job, written by Kevin Crowley, tells the true story of the 1973 robbery of two Rembrandt paintings. As with any robbery-gone wrong, we find plenty of humor along the way.

We meet a wide range of characters. “Portrait of an Old Woman” (Dale Hodges) is one of the paintings stolen, and narrates the story with wonderful wit. Ace Amman (Evan Beckmeyer), Carl Hornsby (Jack Kremer), and Henry Dawn (Grant Zentmeyer) successfully pull off the theft, but they’re in over their heads and don’t know what to do next. They bring in smooth-talking James Hough (Paul Morris), known criminal with connections to negotiate a ransom for the paintings. This brings us to trusting and naive John Warrington (Clint Bramkamp) who’s trying to recover the paintings for the museum. We even meet Cincinnati’s beloved Al Schottelkotte (Michael G Bath) along the way.

If you like shows with local relevance and a bit of history that don’t take themselves too seriously, check this one out!

To Spite One’s Face by Zoe Peterson

To Spite One's Face Cincinnati Fringe 2023 Poster

Ever felt like you’re talking to someone who’s stuck in the past? What if they were actually stuck in a VHS tape from the past? To Spite One’s Face offers a unique story around this concept. Perky 80s nostalgia meets horror after Kelly (Samantha Joy Luhn) and Cynthia (Zoe Peterson) make a deal with a demon to get everything they ever wanted.

Dani (Sydni Charity Solomon) finds Cynthia in an old workout tape after going through her mom’s things in the attic. As she starts to follow along the workout for her vlog and finds the instructor talking back, comedy ensues. As Dani does a little more digging, she realizes Cynthia may be the key to learning more about her mother. And helping her vlog take off. Win-win, right? We’ll see about that.

Runaway Princess by Mary Goggin

Cincy Fringe 2023: Runaway Princess

Runaway Princess is far from your typical fairytale. It’s Mary Goggin’s story of strength and joy as she finds her path and becomes who she needs to be.

Goggin starts with a storybook and lets us into her childhood. She calls herself the little princess and her parents the king and queen. We hear stories about her developing addiction that started very young. Her parents also developed a pattern to deal with it: sending her away, starting with the convent. Later on, she met a pimp, which gave her a whole new source for drugs, and a whole new struggle.

Goggin is a beautiful storyteller with a lot of heart and hope to share. If you like inspiring stories about real people with real challenges who find their happy ending, get your tickets to Runaway Princess!

Perfect Purity by Faith Von Handorf

Perfect Purity Poster for Cincinnati Fringe Festival 2023

Faith Von Handorf tackles an all-too-familiar experience among Christian circles: purity talks and (lack of) sex education. Von Handorf plays Mary, the teacher encouraging all of us “young men and women” to sign our purity cards. While using classic metaphors and activities, she interacts well with a willing audience throughout the presentation. This topic may already be awkward, but for Mary, it feels especially wrong since she’s not convinced of her own words. Von Handorf shows this conflict and reacts to her inner dialogue well.

Perfect Purity is part of the developmental series at Cincy Fringe. Often this means the cast is rehearsing during the festival itself until their one ticketed performance. After this performance, Von Handorf led a talkback and guided the discussion well (especially for her first Fringe show!).

Von Handorf took a good idea and ran with it. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next!

Food and Drinks near Cincy Fringe

Bakersfield made a great place to stop in for dinner on Saturday. I went to Taste of Belgium for dinner on Sunday, but they make a great brunch option too. For after show drinks, check out Lost & Found OTR. They’re just a short walk away and have a pretty chill atmosphere.

The Bottom Line (TLDR)

From talented solo storytellers to unique plays and collaborations, Cincinnati Fringe Festival is full of diverse experiences. Now that we’re more than halfway through, check out this summary with all our team’s Cincy Fringe reviews!

Cincy Fringe Guinea Pig Purple
A new Calendar for everything onstage from LCT’s member theatres.

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