Back at it tonight with two really great shows at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival!
First up was DESTINY USA starring Laura Anne Harris. It’s her story of moving from Canada to Syracuse and getting a job as a relay operator for the deaf and hard of hearing. It’s a superbly written script and a captivating performance – that starts as soon as the house opens. What I appreciated most was the subtle connection of themes and understated humor. Harris is a fantastic performer, and this show is a must-see. In fact, it’s my favorite show of this year’s festival so far!
More information about DESTINY USA, including tickets for the remaining performances, can be found here. You can also catch Laura as one of the storytellers at this year’s True Fringe show next Thursday night!
My second show of the night was the highly anticipated solo show from Erika Kate MacDonald (directed and with music composed and accompanied by Paul Strickland), THE BARN IDENTITY.
MacDonald is a consummate performer, always present, grounded, and professional. But also, she is beyond charming, warm, and commanding of the room. But her performance parallels her writing; it’s quirky and surprising. And very well produced.
This show is about “falling down barns.” That’s made clear several times. But it’s not an HG-TV spoof or renovation story. Instead, it’s a personal exploration that is never self-indulgent. Macdonald’s script walks the line between personal and relatable – while never losing the audience’s rapt attention. And Strickland’s sensibility on the guitar (and as a director) is unparalleled.
This dynamic duo is well-traveled and well-rehearsed. But it’s their warmth that sells the lyrical and whimsical script. Whenever I see them on stage, I can’t help but think, “I really want to be their friend.”
THE BARN IDENTITY has three more performances. Tickets and more can be found here.
As a side note, I ran into Kevin James Thornton, who’s doing two sold-out performances. I told him how much it thrills me whenever he gets tickled during one of his Tik Tok videos. He was gracious and humble, and I’m very happy for his success. I’m sorry I won’t get a chance to see his shows but keep an eye on his website; he’s touring comedy clubs around the country with his stand-up show.
I’ll be back down on Tuesday evening for more Fringing. But you should head out tomorrow and Sunday and Fringe-Binge all day and night catching as many of the great offerings as you can!