Publicist: Jessica Durdock Moreno

Jul

TOBINCON

Tobin Mitnick is more than meets the eye. He’s super cute and devilishly charming, but all that takes a backseat to his book-smart brilliance and his raw, self-reflective honesty. The writing is layered, clever, personal, and manages to tie into both universal themes and contemporary topics. Effortless direction by Amanda Stoffel Mitnick suits every beat change and supports every punchline.

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Jul

#CANCELLED: The Play

The cast is fantastic. Each performer delivers a specific and well-crafted character study that extends well beyond their Instagram images. These performers are gifted comediennes who know their characters’ cadences and quirks inside and out. They shimmer most when bantering back and forth one-upping each other, which is a pure joy to witness. The set is minimal, unfussy, glittery, and effortlessly supportive of the quick scene changes. The costumes were vibrant and perfectly matched to the attitudes of the characters. But the play truly sparkled from MacLaughlin’s quick and clever comedic writing. I found myself laughing at one line, only to catch my breath and crack up at the next line. MacLaughlin has a firm and effortless handle on the tight timing of her script, which extends into her slick direction of the play. And if you are wondering: no, I don’t know Frankie. I met her once. I just think she and her cast are quite possibly the coolest and raddest and funniest team at the Fringe.

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Jul

An Excuse To Behave Badly

This ensemble of powerhouse women plays out their story with the smoothness of a well-oiled machine. Each distinct performer gets the opportunity to explore her own feminist voice as she navigates the messy-as-hell and utterly relatable end to a drunken Halloween night. This is pure fun, wildly executed, and cleverly developed.

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Jul

(IM)PERFEKT

Olin is brave but not self-righteous. She is beautiful and relatable. Her most moving moments in this vibrant solo performance are when she surprises us—and herself—with genuine vulnerability. (Im)Perfekt is a must see for women of all ages who struggle with self-acceptance. It is also a must see for men of all ages who have internalized absurd and generic ideas about beauty and femininity (yes, sir, if this last statement confuses you, then you really, really need to see this show. The women in your life will thank you).

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Jul

Monkey Mind

The cast of “Monkey Mind” is loaded with talent, and that alone is worth the price of admission. Darcy Rose Byrnes is an angelic yet grounded ingenue with killer pipes. Corey Page gave me chills with his warm and melancholy tones. With his impressive belt and boy-next-door good looks, Cameron Gilliam is a pop idol waiting to happen. But my favorite was Karla Kelly, who embodied her free-spirited and maternal character with effortless charm, easy comic timing, and a soaring vocal range that brought me pure joy. And the Monkeys were fantastic fun!

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Jul

My Trans Wife

First and foremost, “My Trans Wife” is a love story: boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy and girl fall in love…(and then)…boy becomes the girl she always was…(and then!)…girl and girl ride off into the sunset and live happily every after. With gentle grace and wide-eyed innocence, Mimi and Mara portray themselves in this tender tale of how grand life can be when you have the courage to follow your heart. No, they don’t soften the horror of family rejection, societal shame, or even their own personal torment. But “My Trans Wife” always finds its way back to love. “My Trans Wife” refuses to preach at you, refuses to hide truth, and refuses to apologize for challenging you. This play simply invites you to come witness the universal rule that “love is love is love is love is love.” The best part of the experience? Knowing that Mimi and Mara will walk off the stage, leave the theater, and stroll down the street, and go back to just living their lives…together forever.

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Jul

ORANGUTAN

Kristina Mueller is a force of an actress. Her vocal control, character creation, and transitions between comedy and tragedy were pure genius. She is a fantastic actress. Tinks Lovelace masterfully exploited the entire stage with elegant and effortless blocking. I especially appreciated the use of light to control time, space, and mood. Troy Deutsch’s writing sounded like poetry coming out of Mueller’s mouth. This solo show is not to be missed. What a ride, a journey, and a release.

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Jul

Horny! the Musical

The live piano playing made Katherine King’s pretty and upbeat melodies come alive with freshness and vigor. Hats off to the gorgeous chorus of ladies who looked like they stepped right out of a Renaissance painting. King, herself in the leading role, entertained with charm and fun. Of course, Jeremiah Benjamin as Baki, flawlessly cast and joyfully embodied, provided a gleeful performance as the half-goat-half-man comic relief.

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Jul

Rory and the Devil

This production is truly special. Playwright David McElwee clearly crafted this play from the heart. After the show, I found out that certain aspects of the story were based on details of his life, family, and heritage, but never once did I suspect this was a vanity project; the play was a love letter to poetry, theater, storytelling, mythology, and most importantly, to Ireland. The staging and introduction to the play were pure magic. I won’t give anything away, but if you know that feeling of entering a neighborhood pub—the comfort, the melancholy, the familiarity, the history—that’s how I felt entering the theater space, even with its barely-there set, well-lit audience, and tins of beer all around. Every actor in this play gave top-notch performances; they are the real deal, and they delivered Broadway-level artistry. Considering I was sitting feet away from their bodies and voices, I was never more than a fly on the wall as single tear drops, beads of sweat, and understated sighs resonated with sincerity and simplicity. John Harnagle’s “moment” (again, I won’t give anything away) is why I go to the theater: poetic language, vivid imagery, and a heightened delivery that changes the atmosphere and makes time stand still. But truth be told, Jennifer Lane Oakley stole the show. She has that thing thing that so many performers don’t have the skill or confidence to settle into: stillness. She embodied her character with a grounded understatement that made her “moment” (not gonna give it away) wash over me with such shocking resonance that I couldn’t believe what I was seeing…even though it all made sense afterwards due to the subtle progression of her character’s development. Her physical beauty, which is a joy to consume, steadily fades as her character’s truth and motivations emerge from behind her dark eyes. She tricks you into thinking she’s just the lass-next-door. But really, she is a feminist icon who embodies love of family and country more than any outspoken lad ever could.

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Jul

Crack Whore, Bulimic, Girl-Next-Door

I love this show. The cast delivers a completely cohesive and of-the-same-world ensemble performance. Each character is perfectly cast and brilliantly developed by these effortless performers, all of whom are equally skilled at both subtle drama and physical comedy. I believed every word and gesture expressed by these artists during heightened moments and quiet pauses alike. I especially liked how the performers’ choreography and body language brilliantly captured the various ages and urges of their characters. Jennifer Novak Chun’s clever use of the stage to create differences in space and time of the various scenes was both effortless and balanced. The highlight of the show for me was the way in which writer Marnie Olson’s intricately developed coming of age tale vacillated between hilarity and heartbreak, often in one fell swoop. The entire production, like each and every character on stage, is a true diamond in the rough in the Los Angeles theater scene. I cannot recommend the show enough. I went in expecting high jinks and edgy jokes; I came out feeling born again. Cheers to all the crack whores and bulimics who have the courage to witness your pain and save your soul.

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Jul

Widows Anonymous

Marianne Simon surrenders herself to this deeply personal subject matter with the grace of a butterfly and the strength of an ox. She gently weaves her story together with lyrical gestures, from-the-gut vocal control, and eyes that sparkle with life-affirming revelation that can only come from not getting over, but rather getting through grief. She is a masterful storyteller and a beacon of hope for anyone who needs to be reminded that all that matters in the end is love.

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Jul

Ask A Black Woman

Shanara Sanders is a divinely gifted storyteller who seamlessly weaves music, movement, monologue, song, spoken word, and soliloquy into an equally enchanting and challenging hour of personal and universal revelation.
Sanders’ story is so specifically tied to her own experience as a Black American woman, but she achieves a global reach as she simultaneously holds all of our feet to the fire and reminds us all of our common humanity.
Her performance technique is exquisite, with her clear-as-a-bell voice, atmosphere-altering presence, and eyes whose sparkle you could see for miles.
I especially found her execution of that oh-so-cringeworthy white girl voice not only spot-on and hilarious, but also filled with the subtle violence and repulsion that we all know lurks inside the ones who claim to be feminist but couldn’t tell you a thing about intersectionality.
Perhaps the most relevant and critical solo performance of the 2019 Fringe, Sanders is fighting for her life…and yours. With grace, brilliance, and sincerity, Sanders invites us with open arms to a seat at her table and serves us all a feast of “One Love” with slice of humble pie on the side.
To be sure, Sanders is not a victim. She is love, she is power, she is vulnerable, and she is freedom.

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Jul

50 Shades of Melania

Mesaikou’s solo show is not what you think. She’s too smart for that. At first, Mesaikou’s Melania gives the cruel liberals what they want: a chance to ridicule the the unusual First Lady. But then Mesaikou deconstructs, humanizes, and offers Melania the opportunity to step into her own destiny as she empowers Mrs. Trump with the chance to tap into one possible version of her feminist self. This sparkling and laser-focused solo performance swings wildly between Saturday Night Live style sketch comedy to unnerving performance art. Mesaikou has the charisma, intelligence, and comedic chops to pull all this off with slick ease and hilarious fun. This is a fantastic show.

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Jul

Siren Call

Annalee Scott delivers one of the most unnerving and raw performances I’ve seen at the 2019 Fringe. Her ice blue eyes cut through the moody lighting and barely-there set and seem to slow time and hush the air. Sitting feet from her luminous face, Scott was pure presence, and I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Paul Louis Harrell executed his role with an effortless balance of ease and and focus. But the true wonder of the production is Jola Cora, who wrote, produced, directed, and performed in the play—all with true skill and craft. From her mysterious entrance to the voyeuristic use of the stage’s second floor, Cora’s staging seemed to swirl about the space creating unrelenting tension and subtle magic. Her script was tight and minimal. Not a word was wasted, and every second of silence or speaking was crucially important. Every detail was precious, from Scott’s t-shirt and jeans to Cora’s breathtaking dress. What a wonderful experience.

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Jul

If We Run

Dingani Beza and Katie Oliver have a wild and unreserved chemistry that is palpable. Beza’s understated performance is wrought with conflict and pain. Oliver’s heartfelt delivery is unaffected and to the point. Morillo’s writing is full of longing and tension, which emerges through subtext at first, then impassioned monologues second. Lappi’s direction is effortless, smooth, and has the characters swirling across the stage—and bed—like a dance. This play is equally sexy and complex.

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