Kat’s Fringe Reviews: June 7-9

Get your tickets now! You don’t want to miss out on the annual festival that’s kinda weird…like you.

By Katrina “Kat” Reynolds

A summary of the shows I saw during the second weekend (Friday-Sunday) of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival:

Singing Into The Dark, 1933 by Big Empty Barn Productions

Set in an imagined version of Berlin’s Eldorado Club after the rise of Hitler, Singing…1933 is a story told by solo artist Bremner. After the cast of a show is beaten and arrested, one performer decides his act of defiance will be to perform the show on his own. What follows is a series of heart-breaking monologues and songs by an extremely capable vocalist. Make no mistake, however: Bremner is able to somehow elicit genuine laughter as well. As someone with similar vocal training, I particularly found his voice solid and engaging with a vast range of emotion. Sadly, the show closed at Cincy Fringe Sunday, June 9th – so I hope you were able to see it.

Cincy Fringe 2024

Kat’s Fringe: Songs Without Words (or, The Mendelssohn Play) by Jennifer Vosters

I’ll admit it: this show was not originally on my radar. I know: surprising given my love of classical music. But when I heard from every single person that it was their top pick of the Fringe, I immediately got my ticket. Thank goodness for my privilege as a reviewer! Most of us know who Felix Mendelssohn is (think “The Wedding March” if nothing else). But did you know Felix’s older sister, Fanny, was a musical genius as well? Under the direction of Michael Cotey with excellent contributions by Sound Designer Peter Clare and Costume Designer Daniele Tyler Matthews, Ms. Vosters embodies the frenetic genius of Felix along with the calm wisdom of Fanny right before our very eyes. Incredible writing, exciting direction, and what can only be described as a flawless performance of two very different characters who share the same soul.

Remaining Performance in Rm 404 at the Art Academy: June 13 at 7pm. BONUS: Voted in as the critics’ encore, you will have an extra chance to see this show on Saturday, June 15th time TBD.

Cincy Fringe 2024
Cincy Fringe 2024

Absurd It Through the Grapevine: Paul Strickland by Paul Strickland Presents (A Fringe Special Event)

Hot in the middle of a very busy run, Paul Strickland made sure to make time for Cincy Fringe and we are so fortunate for that! As part of a two-night Cincinnati premiere, he brings us his brand new show, Absurd It Through the Grapevine. In front of a packed house, Mr. Strickland is as welcoming and easy-going as ever as he transitions from song to story to fable and right back again. This show poses many questions and some wonderful answers. Not only is the sound of his melodious voice alone worth the price of admission, but the wisdom he shares is so obviously in the interest of the betterment of us all. While difficult to rank them, I daresay this is my favourite of his shows. 

If you missed this limited run, do not fret: Paul will be back in November for the Cincinnati Storytelling Festival along with other masters of their craft.

Knight, Knight by Madeleine Rowe

This is another show which gathered a lot of buzz before I was able to see it. Unfortunately for readers, there are no more chances to see it as I caught its closing performance. But solo artist Madeleine Rowe gives what is described as “a wild romp of a medieval tale” rife with audience participation. With basis in some of the tales we’ve heard in our youth (there is a sword and a stone, but it’s not THAT king), the audience experiences an unconventional story of love, prophecy, and horses. A show with lots of laughs as well as sentiment, Mx. Rowe’s creation is certainly a piece made for Fringe.

Kat’s Fringe: Matti McLean’s Bodies by Can’t Stand Sitting Productions

Rounding out my weekend of solo performance (not intentional!) is Bodies, a creative take on the subject of self love. Matti McLean expertly weaves his talent for painting along with his story and point-of-view on how we should all learn to love ourselves. Willing audience members are gifted with being painted to the gawds while Mr. McLean tells us of his journey in overcoming so many things that can make us dislike ourselves: homophobia, fatphobia, and other types of self-loathing caused by low self-esteem. Part of me wishes I had been brave enough to volunteer to be painted, but after hearing his insightful words, I believe audience members will certainly try to love themselves just a little bit more.

A seamless mix of visual art along with the art of wisdom through experience. 

Remaining Performance in Rm 404 at the Art Academy: June 12 at 8:45pm.

Kat’s Fringe 2024: The Sweet and Lowdown

What a great weekend of engaging one-person entertainment! And you know what? There is still an entire week left to catch the shows you haven’t yet seen. Be sure to visit the Cincy Fringe site and get your tickets now. Cincinnati Fringe 2024 continues through June 15. With so many shows selling out (some have already ended their run) you don’t want to miss out on the annual festival that’s kinda weird…like you.

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

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