Cincy Fringe 2023: Kat’s Reviews #3

With a subtitle like “A Hopeful Tale of Heroin, Hooking, and Happiness”, the audience knows right off the bat this offering will be quite the ride.

by Katrina “Kat” Reynolds

Second Weekend Down, One More Week To Go!

Portions of June 9th and 10th were spent in tech and open rehearsal for this reviewer. I’ve been helping a friend with a development piece (about which you shall read shortly) and needed to devote some one-on-one time to an amazing artist. But there were still times to be in audience mode, so read on for those!

Cincy Fringe 2023: Runaway Princess

Runaway Princess by Mary Goggin

With a subtitle like “A Hopeful Tale of Heroin, Hooking, and Happiness”, the audience knows right off the bat this offering will be quite the ride. Goggin starts off the show by opening the book of a faerie tale rife with challenges set up for the titular “princess” to lose her way on the path to greatness. But oh, my – what a dark and scary tale unfolds right in front of us. While told as if it is ancient lore, the audience soon finds out this is not so long ago.

Accompanied by creative lighting and sound choices, Goggin whisks us away to lands far and near – and experiences that are quite real. Billed as a “hopeful tale”, she does not disappoint; but you’ll be taken to many other kinds of places on the way with assistance of some very believable characterizations in body and voice by Goggin herself. (Trust me, as a fellow daughter of an Irish immigrant, she is spot-on.)

While this reviewer believes we can all find something with which to connect in Goggin’s journey, I personally had more connections to her than anticipated. I am in tears all over again writing this review, but I can tell you this: Goggin delivers and I left the playing space with happiness in my heart. Do yourselves a favor and do not miss this experience told by an honest troubadour with beautiful soul who continues to find reasons to be better.

REMAINING PERFORMANCES: 6/13 at 6:45pm; 6/14 at 6:45pm; and 6/15 at 6:45pm in Rm 301 at Art Academy of Cincinnati.

Gentrification: The Musical! by Doin’ Too Much Productions

While this show is billed as definitely not about 3CDC or OTR…well, you get it. Director Tatiana Godfrey steers the proverbial ship of the book and music by Dan Zimmer in this musical satire with social commentary abounding. Performers Brantley Goodrich and Aiden Simms play a multitude of roles from the good, the bad, and the ugly as they take us through some of the things we may (or may not) have noticed in recent years in our own surroundings.

While I’m certain most of us can guess what this satirical comedy is trying to tell us, for those who may not know: gentrification is defined as “the process whereby the character of a poor urban area is changed by wealthier people moving in, improving housing, and attracting new businesses” – all while typically displacing the current inhabitants. Think Pygmalion: Henry Higgins is not 3CDC and Eliza Doolittle is not OTR.

While the balance of music and vocalists was a little off and execution of vocals were weak in places, Gentrification certainly gets its point across with just the right amount of moments of levity and moments of “Hmm, that’s not okay”. In summary, a well-written show with enough entertainment value to (hopefully) get the attention of those who don’t already “get it.”

REMAINING PERFORMANCE: 6/16 at 8:30pm in Rm 404 at Art Academy of Cincinnati.                      Reviewer Note: This show has been selling out, so don’t wait to purchase your tickets.

ShMILF Life by Penny: For Your Thoughts

The short description of Penny Sterling’s solo show is quite fitting: “Stories about dating when trans and old. HINT: You don’t.” A lot of people know the pitfalls of dating. Some also know that it gets harder as we age. Add in being transgender and that dating pool turns into a puddle. (Personal note: even typing that out angers me so much. What year are we in?!)

Sterling’s foray into the odyssey of trying to date and how it can be far too much effort to be worth it at times is told with humor, honesty, and thoughtfulness. From the moments of hopefulness to the eye rolls at people and their responses and more, Sterling is relatable and insightful. The show did run a wee bit long and could use some more dynamic communication styles (it was very conversational which is lovely, but at times felt more like a class versus a theatrical presentation), but there are important things to hear and heed. Fortunately for us as the audience, Sterling is a cool person with whom to be included in the conversation and that is worth the price of admission.

REMAINING PERFORMANCE: 6/14 at 8:30pm in Rm 301 at Art Academy of Cincinnati.    

Keeping Our Torch

Keeping Our Torch by Pones

As to be expected, Pones is giving Fringe audiences the gift of dance and physical theatre. This year’s theme is an innovative one: highlighting the aging community (an often-ignored sector) and their stories of wisdom and joy throughout their lives. With a cast of far too many to name, you are sure to see many familiar faces. A mix of music, voice, and video media with live movement in front of a packed house at Gabriel’s Corner went far too quickly for this reviewer’s taste. Translation: it is that good.

If you are looking for probably the most diverse cast in terms of race, creed, and age (yay!), this is a show you should add to your list. This is a sweeping journey of emotions, of movement, of life. With skilled movement artists and mindful story-tellers in abundance, Torch might be one of the best pieces Pones has offered audiences in some time. 

REMAINING PERFORMANCES: 6/13 at 8:45pm; and 6/16 at 7pm at Gabriel’s Corner.                       Reviewer Note: This show has been standing room only, so don’t wait to purchase your tickets.

Perfect Purity: A FRINGE DEVELOPMENT PIECE by Faith Von Handorf

As someone graced with directing this fantastic piece, I understand it is a conflict of interest to review it. However, I can report the facts, yes?

With themes of sexual wellness, Faith Von Handorf workshopped a strong script to a responsive audience this past Sunday. Von Handorf plays Mary, a purity instructor who gives the audience a presentation while her mind is certainly elsewhere. Drawing attention to the pitfalls of what young people are taught in these presentations, Von Handorf gives the audience some food for thought.

Her talkback afterward reiterated her natural ability to interact with an audience while so many different kinds of people could relate to the subject matter. While shorter than the usual Fringe offering, Von Handorf only has room to grow and flesh out this concept which was met with much enthusiasm. Keep your eyes on this talented artist – she’s well on her way!

Cincy Fringe: Get Your Tickets!

Whew! I’m exhausted, but satiated…for now. Five more days of Fringe – plenty of time for you to get over to OTR and see some gratifying theatre.Fringe expert? First-time Fringer? We’ve got you covered!

Please visit for info, ticket links, a guidebook, and all sort of valuable resources. And be sure to keep reading our blogs for some inside information on if a show might be a good fit for you!

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

Related Posts

Cast of TCT's Finding Nemo,Jr' Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

REVIEW: Disney’s Finding Nemo Jr.

It is quite amazing to watch the actors work the puppets’ mouth and sometimes also their eyes while having them  say their lines.  It is mesmerizing to see the wildly different types of puppets. 

Read More »