Read this edition of Cincy Fringe 2023: Liz Eichler’s Reviews, and scroll to the bottom for more.
The theme shared by all four below is loss–but not despair. In fact, their stories have the power to uplift and intrigue, and all drove me to learn more.
You will like all four shows! Heart Ripped Out is my favorite Fringe show so far. My husband and son want to get to Dad (Hates) Jokes, because they laughed so hard with Jon Bennett last year. I might bring a young friend (or my mother-in-law) to Happy Go Lucky. And I want to tell every theatre or high school speech team person to read Mary MacLane’s book.
Heart Ripped Out Twice and So Can You!
By Linnea Bond
This is a brilliant hysterical journey through illness, loss, and perseverance. Bond clearly has had the time to heal in body, mind and soul to perform this energetic and bold show as she transitions from bit to bit in seconds, showing the absurdity of “hospital life” your “love life” and life in general.
She begins with a MLM sales pitch and a slide deck, hoping to sell us on…existence as a human. “What is existence and is it right for me?” With imaginative props, focus, and high energy Bond demonstrates that she’s okay, despite the scars. It’s not all laughs, part is a paean to pain. And she speaks truths–yes, the standard 1-10 pain scale is confusing! But with all this light-heartedness, she has a heartfelt message.
Heart Ripped Out is one of my top shows so far. This show is polished, funny, meta, and human. Bond examines what’s great about existence, and what is not. Get your tickets now, as it will sell out. It is rated PG-13.
Date (Hates) Jokes
by Jon Bennett / 2Hoots Productions
Jon Bennett tells you this is his 132nd Fringe, so he has been telling stories around the world for quite some time. A Cincy Fringe favorite, last year’s Fire in the Meth Lab had full houses rolling in the aisles. But he still advises you to keep your expectations low. LOL.
This is a series of stories and some “poetry.” The hour is mostly about his dad, a very serious, stern, and melodramatic pig farmer from Australia, who also played other roles in the town, in addition to being a husband and the father of four rambunctious boys.
If you are a father, or have a father, you will find his humor relatable. Bring your dad to Dad (Hates) Jokes for an early Father’s Day gift. Great bonding opportunity. Rated PG-13 for language. Get your tickets now!
Happy Go Lucky
by Showshinz/Yanomi Shoshinz
NOTE: This is at 1316 Main street which has a very strong air conditioner (bring a sweater).
What a charming and sweet show! Using simple rod puppets in four skits ranging from what seems like 2 minutes to 20 minutes, Shoshinz uncovers universal truths. She has your full attention. The time flies by, so I was surprised it was over.
The second vignette (my favorite) is adorable and will have you at the edge of your seat, no matter what your age. The third one has fun interacting directly with the audience. (Remember to look at the puppet, not Shoshinz!)
This is international treat, from an award winning artist, who knows how to make you smile. Rated PG.
One Last Night with Mary MacLane
by Nora Bonner and James Cargill
I had never heard of Mary MacLane and now I am obsessed.
Bonner pulls from MacLane’s rambling and racy memoir (published in 1901 when she was 19), to create memorable songs. She delivers them with strength and conviction as MacLane repeatedly tells you she is “a genius.”
MacLane was a bored, angsty and lonely teen in the West. She discovers writing and falls for the woman who supports her literary discoveries, Fannie Corbin. But Fannie moves away. MacLane spirals. Her emotional and physical needs go unsatisfied, “nobody pays attention to me, so I flirt with death.” She pledges her life to the Devil. She also loves to eat olives.
Using music, and explanations between songs, Bonner gives us a small glimpse at this unique and interesting woman. MacLane’s book sales created opportunities for her. She continued to write, live a bohemian life in NYC, Chicago, and elsewhere with various female friends and lovers.
You will likely want to know more. MacLane’s memoir is in the public domain and HERE. Read it or skim it before or after the show. It may help you appreciate Bonner’s clever songwriting, wry humor and beautiful guitar playing and voice. The duo of Bonner and Cargill have a great rapport and MacLane’s is a great story, but ACC 204 makes it feel a bit antiseptic.