FRINGE REVIEW: Balls of Yarns

The Cincinnati Fringe Festival is an opportunity for local artists to show off their original work. It’s also a venue for out-of-towners to bring their more polished pieces to a new audience.  Some make their living as gypsy’s, traveling around to various festivals and other venues performing.  Paul Strickland, the genius behind BALLS OF YARNS, is both.  And Cincinnati’s theatre landscape is better for him being here.

Rarely can an artist take profound, deep concepts and spin them into something so magical yet hilarious.  Strickland’s confidence as a performer is striking, which comes from hours of performing his various plays across North America.  Take a look at his bio: he’s done Fringe’s in Vancouver, Orlando, Minnesota, Winnipeg, Pittsburgh, Calgary, Indianapolis, and more.  He has experience in spades.

Confidence is one thing, but he has the chops to back it up.  Weaving a fanciful tale (he calls it “David Lynch meets The Wizard of Oz”) through a strange little town, we learn about truth-braries, lie-braries, and the kind of cafe we should all visit every so often.  There are lots of laughs in the piece, some at the expense of the affable storyteller like when he “dances” through a dream ballet.  But there are more moments that give pause.

Sometimes Fringe pieces go hi-tech and lose their charm; not Strickland.  He seamlessly goes from acoustic guitar numbers to higher-level production elements like the use of sound effects that happen so naturally you forget that you’re in the Art Academy Commons.  Even when the lobby is full of noisy chit-chat that bleeds over.  Paul is too charismatic, too mesmerizing to lose your attention even for a second.

And the message, while never heavy-handed, is universal and powerful.  Yet, he never loses his whimsy.  It’s really quite lovely.

BALLS OF YARNS plays in the Art Academy Commons again on the following dates:

  • Jun 6, 2017 at 07:00 pm (Tue)
  • Jun 9, 2017 at 09:00 pm (Fri)
  • Jun 10, 2017 at 06:30 pm (Sat)

Click here for more information.  Bring cash and buy one – or both – of his CDs from two of his other shows afterwards while you say hello on your way out of the theatre.