What’s a noblewoman to do when her husband is away at war and bandits from the opposing side threaten her and all she has? Pair up with her best friend and fight back! The Highway Woman tells the historical story of noblewoman Katherine Ferrers (Brianna Miller), who stops bandits on the street to protect her estate alongside her trusty sidekick Cordelia (Danitza Piper).
These energetic, eclectic characters are skillfully played by a charismatic cast who commit to collaborating with each other as much as they do to portraying their own roles.
Directed by A.J. Baldwin, The Highway Woman is great fast paced flow with timely comedy, from witty dialogue throughout the narrative to silly moments that surprise us. A well rounded, well done play with lots of laughs!
One Last Night with Mary MacLane by Nora Bonner and James Cargill
Forget making a deal with the devil, how about marrying the devil? In One Last Night with Mary MacLane, Nora Bonner takes on Mary MacLane’s persona. Or rather, Mary MacLane takes over Bonner’s body, as we’re told. Either way, we get a glimpse into this historical woman’s life.
We hear how Mary MacLane lived a bold life and never strayed from writing what she wanted, no matter how scandalous it would have been for that time. Her memoir was published in 1901, when she was only 19.
Bonner brings great vocals and original music that gives Mary MacLane’s poetry new life. She also narrates in between each song to give us some helpful context. Bonner shines most, though, when she is completely immersed in the music. Her emotional investment and commitment to performing her songs is enthralling at times. James Cargill joins in for some songs, adding beautiful harmony sometimes, and other times focusing on instruments.
Far Away From Home: The Travel Plays by Madeline Mitchell
We’re all a little wanderlust, aren’t we? But why is it that we want to travel so much? Another show from the Fringe Development series, Far Away From Home: The Travel Plays explores this very desire to, well, explore the world around us.
Writer Madeline Mitchel also directs this large cast featuring Rosalia Cesare, Albert Cesare, Robert Brumberg, Elizabeth Hickerson, Lora Jost, Elliet Malatesta, Austin Fidler, Gabi Benintendi, Rachel Gaunce, Ryan Bowron, Jennifer Listerman, Sally Modzelewski, and Sarah Spurling.
We make our way through seven short plays about various travel experiences and expectations. The best comedy (and drama) is when those experiences do not match expectations.
A great example of this is when newlyweds arrive at their Airbnb only to discover their host just won’t leave. It really is important to read the full description.
Another play explores a dire situation: an American who needs twenty pence to take a piss meets a Londoner who just wants to be left alone. Tourists are so annoying, right? Bowron and Gaunce elevate the script with great comedic timing and an excellent balance in energy. They pair comedy with human connection together well.
Thread and Bone by Lisa Egan Woods
Thread and Bone is truthful, touching storytelling with beautiful imagery. While Lisa Egan Woods could have easily made an entire show about her heart surgery alone, this show encompasses so much more that I was not expecting.
Thread and Bone is full of heart and just enough humor from the real moments they shared to bring lightness after many of us were in tears.
Woods lets us see into her grief as she tells about her sister. She shares “I don’t want to just not forget, I want to remember.” She uses sewing, something they shared, to remember her, and she shares it with us too throughout the show as she adds colorful fabrics to the dress she started with.
Don’t miss this honest, compelling show about the journey through grief and finding ways to remember and honor those you love.
Nearby Food and Drink Recommendations
On Wednesday, I got to meet some lovely Cincy Fringe regulars for dinner at Taqueria Mercado (we learned the Fajitas for Two dish is enough food for four!). If you haven’t checked out Goodfella’s yet, they have delicious pizza to-go, and if you’re looking to stay a while after Fringe, go upstairs to Wiseguy Lounge for a cocktail too.
The Bottom Line (TLDR)
2023 brought some amazing shows to Cincy Fringe, and you still have more chances to see them! Thread and Bone would be a great choice to add to your Friday list. Still deciding? Check out our review summary, and plan to see all the Cincy Fringe 2023 Encores on Saturday!