I saw four shows today! First up was “Father, Daughter, and Holy Toast” by Barbara Brady. This solo show centers around the lessons she learned about faith from her aging – and spoiler alert, dying – father. She has a nice way about her and I appreciate the good writing, the effort put into the scene changes and her convincing pantomimes of various activities.
I think this show will appeal to others who’ve been in similar situations, caring for elderly parents, and dealing with the family drama that results as well as cradle Catholics who can relate to the themes in the story.
More information about “Father, Daughter, & Holy Toast” can be found here.
Next up, was “Bent Compass” by Neil Brookshire and Colin Sesek. This show about one man’s military experiences intrigued me for a variety of reasons. One, it talks about trauma in a way I’ve not seen done theatrically before. Two, the actor performing the show is not the man who’s stories are being told, which is unusual for a solo show. In fact – and I’ve never done this in all my years of reviewing and writing about theatre – but after the show I found Brookshire and asked clarifying questions about the process of development. Knowing that he and Sesek worked together to craft this show in Sesek’s voice is crucial to understanding the structure of the play. Because the script is so conversational, I honestly thought that there perhaps were just bullet points and a throughline and that the actor was just telling stories. It wasn’t until our post-show conversation that I learned that much of the show is verbatim from Sesek’s verbal recordings of his memories. This speaks to the brilliance of Brookshire as an actor and knowing this gets my Pick of the Day for this production. You only have three more chances to see this show as part of Fringe so don’t delay. Tickets and more information are available here. (Trigger warning: there is discussion of violence, blood, and trauma in this production.)
Third was “Changing My Major to Joan,” a curious piece that’s sort of the epitome of Fringe in it’s counter-culture approach to storytelling. Boris Dansberry weaves the history of Joan of Arc through alt-pop numbers (with live music from Jess Lamb and the Factory), theatrical analysis of plays about Joan, and then really hits home by mirroring history with Boris’s own journey of self-discovery and queerness.
With more rehearsal time, some tightening up of the script, and a little more punch of emotion and vulnerability this show could be a gamechanger. It’s off to a very good start.
Check out the details here.
Finally, Steven Nicholas presents “Experimental,” a straightforward mentalism exhibition in which he demonstrates some mind-blowing magic. It feels like he’s holding back; his sarcasm and sense of humor leaks out in moments, but if he would really let loose I think audiences would welcome it.
As is, the tricks are very cool and very convincing. I love that shows like this are part of Fringe!
Check out ExperiMENTAL here.
I seldom try to see four shows in one day, but since I was unavailable yesterday I feel a little behind the 8-ball. My time will be somewhat limited this year, but I’ll be back on Tuesday and then again on Friday with more updates from the 2022 Cincinnati Fringe Festival.
What are you seeing? What have you loved so far? Let me know and spread the word to all of Cincinnati about this amazing opportunity to see artists from all over the world bring new work to our city!