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The Second Week of Fringe —

The Down and Dirty

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Hollywood Fringe Festival 2016Well on here I am: Hollywood Fringe Show number forty-five now and here’s a just a recap of some of the shows seen:

 50 SHADES OF SHAKESPEARE

What was most surprising to me I admit was finding the combination here of great acting,
great fun and great Shakespeare.

You walk into the Three Clubs Venue to find a board listing the scenes from the Bard’s plays that will be performed:

Virginity I & II & II
Romeo & Juliet (duh.)
Training
Peteculo & Katherine (duh!)
Coercion
Isabella and Angelo (duh again!)
Clusterf**k
Hermia
Helena
Lysander (huh?)
Future Instant
Juliet
Lady Macbeth (Okay, now you’ve got my interest)

Got my interest and kept my interest. Noah James, Jordan Mann, Kelly Nienaltowski, and Eddie Vona invites the audience to draw the names of the performers for the 11 scenes of passion, love and outright lust which they’ve selected from the works of Shakespeare.

gold.jpgVona as a hairy-armed Juliet against Nienaltowski’s leather-clad Romeo is great fun. And Vona and James as the young, hot and panting lovers from The Tempest are side splitting funny. What is most interesting about this production are the insights they bring forth in their gender flouting renditions.

A well deserved: GOLD

For more information about this production click HERE.

 


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We Make Movies Presents WMMFEST 2016

Here we have something different, a Los Angeles film collective showing a festival of their best work from the past year. Now like all such beasts there were some high points and some…well less than high points. But the high points were pretty darn fun; among them, The Average White Male Comedian’s Plight Against Hollywood, in which writer/director Chris Valenti laments in a glorious send-off of “political correctness” his lack of opportunities of playing ethnic women roles, and Misery Date directed by Sam Mestman, written and starring Patrick Duncan as the father facing his daughter’s first serious date.

But the real gem of the evening was Attack of the Film Festivals written and directed by Pat McGreat. Parodying the saturation of film festivals today, McGreat reports on among others the Ouch Film Festival featuring the cinema of S&M, whipping and dentistry, and the Zombie Film Festival (“Sure we’re the living dead, but we have feelings.”).

We tend to think of the fringe as a venue for the performing arts, but I was glad to see The WMMfest on the roster, and would advocate future collaboration between them and the other artists of the Fringe. Film versions of some shows, documentaries either complementing their gold.jpgsubject matter or exploring their history in reaching the stage, all these are possible and more. But in the meantime for their potential promise and for the wonderful work of some of their members:

HONORARY MENTION – GOLD

For more information about this production click HERE.


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MIMI’S SUITCASE

Written and performed by Ana Bayat, this is an intelligent and skillfully mounted tale of her life in and out of Iran. Bayat is an actress of obvious talent and never bores the audience.

A good portion of the show is in Farsi and Castilian Spanish with “sub-titles” projected on the wall abovesribbon.jpg her. The weakness of the show is unexpected in the story she tells. A lack of specifics and a lack of focus on what is truly dramatic about a young girl raised in Spain who loves Charlie’s Angels returning to the repressed society of fundamentalist Iran undercut her story.

She closes with the tale of how she came to love theatre, a tale that would have been quite moving if set up properly.

But for its failings, the show still manages to be gripping and her performance is first rate.

For that a: SILVER

For more information on this production click HERE.

 


 

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PATRIOT ACT

sribbon.jpgLess play than town hall meeting, writer and performer Mike Schlitt voices his concerns for the country and shares some of his appreciable knowledge of the nation’s history before bringing the audience on stage to discuss methods of preserving the republic.

Granted, not theatre, but definitely theatrical and very definitely needed in this time of ours.

For that:  HONORARY MENTION-SILVER

For more information on this production click HERE.

 


 

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  JONBENÉT RAMSEY – THE MUSICAL

A rough and tumble, “I’ve got a barn” sort of show that still manages to be good fun.

Dana Shaw as Patsy Ramsey is slithering fun and Andrew Diego whose work we enjoyed in Doma’s production of American Idiotscores with John Mark Karr the false confessor to the crime.

The production uses familiar music plucked from Les Mis, The Sound of Music and other shows supplying them with new and somewhat slanderous lyrics. But fun it is.

Chuy Bravo as JonBenét needed more stage time.bribbon1.jpg
The call, primarily for the lack of an original score: BRONZE

 

For more information on this production click HERE.

 


 

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WINTER IS COMING

In this musical parody of Games of Thrones the costumes are better than the performances, the lyrics better than the music, and the music is so-so. Brice Mitchell Williams as Jon Snow, Bennett Cousins as Cersei Lannister, Emily Craig as Catelyn Stark and Megan Watt as Daenerys Targaryen all have some very funny moments, but those moments are few and far between.bribbon1.jpg

David Evan Stolworthy in tandem with Jared Tyrel Pixler have served as stronger directors than the book writers, and for a premise this promising, emphasis seems to have been focused in the wrong places.

(P.S. – Note to the production: None of this has to do with splattering my wife with stage blood.)

Regretfully the call is: BRONZE

For Additional information about this production click HERE.

 

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QADDAFI’S COOK

This is an interesting little piece combining some very creative writing (Lance Belville and Carlos Ambrosi) with very tasty cuisine. It tells the story of an ambitious chef who goes to serve as a cook for Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi as told by his sister (Paola Madrigal) reading his diary and his young sous-chef (Alvaro Flores) who serves as the counterpoint perspective to the tale.

bribbon1.jpgMadrigal and Flores do solid work and Lynn Lohr directs with a sure hand. But the play comes off feeling like a snack instead of a full course, and for that reason the call: BRONZE

 

For more information on this production click HERE.

Missed any of this year’s coverage? No worries… click HERE to get started from the beginning. And be sure to subscribe up above to never miss out on what’s happening in the arts here in your town.

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Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, Among the Vipers was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist three times in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. After a wild and misspent youth, which lasted well into middle age, Kearney has settled down and is focusing on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. Ernest's stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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