FRINGE REVIEW: The MILF Also Rises – NOT TO BE MISSED

Jennifer Joplin explodes into the Art Academy classroom, which serves as the performance space for her solo show, THE MILF ALSO RISES.  She’s lost weight since I saw her last; but beyond that she’s bubbling with a kind of energy I’ve never seen her exhibit.  Lately she’s been cast in types like Erma Bombeck or Typhoid Mary or a cavewoman . . . not the sexy cougar who’s dancing before us with abandon.  The audience has gone completely wild for her entrance and as things settle down and she gets comfortable, I am blown away by her brilliance.

The writing for this show is touching and powerful.  But more than that, it’s important.  It feels in some ways like a church service  for Feminists (there was audible responses often) but it’s not preachy or off-putting.  Joplin’s too smart for that; she knows that to really move people she has to stay accessible.  She pulls no punches when talking about body parts or privilege or what it’s like to grow up as a woman in America – but she’s also willing to talk about her own flaws and struggles.

I can’t count very many local actors who I’d rank higher than her in terms of talent and authenticity on stage.  I have always thought she had a strong sense of self; she knows who she is and who she isn’t and is able to harness her natural charisma and well-honed skills to manifest great performances as consistently as anyone I’ve ever seen.  Under the keen direction of Miranda McGee, another powerful woman in Cincinnati theatre, Joplin hits all the right notes.

But this is the first time I’ve seen her play herself, fully honest and raw.  A real activist (I’ve seen her posts on FaceBook to know), she means what she says and backs up her passion with deeds.  That authenticity exudes in this monologue and gets the audience – even the cisgender straight men in the house – on her side.

This show is not to be missed for it’s charming star, it’s funny and touching way of talking about real-life contemporary issues that are global but also intensely personal.  It’s a great show, but an important one, too.  Don’t miss it.

THE MILF ALSO RISES is part of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival.  Click here for more information about this show and click here for more information about the Festival.