Orlando Fringe Festival 2021 Reviews: “Corsets and Cuties: Delicious”, “Frigorific”, “It All Started at the Radisson Inn”, “Judas”, “Selling Out: The Musical” and “Thrive”
click to enlarge
Blue venue, $ 12
In a fringe festival full of superheroes, confident refrigerators, and other fantastic beasts, Thrive is a place where you can encounter the most exotic creatures of them all: actual people. Four brave Orlando Story Club members take to the stage and publicly reveal their real-life narratives of overcoming adversity through overwhelming honesty.
First, Ha’Ani Hogan wins our hearts by confessing that as the daughter of a Casanova and a beauty queen, she was broken by seemingly obsessed online dating. Next, Logan Anderson opens a sensitive window into the traumatic brain injury that forced him to relearn how to walk, raise a glass of water, or even cry. Then Elizabeth Brendel Horn shares both her painful struggles with eating disorders and infertility, as well as the pleasure of pushing her shy daughter down a snow tube hill. Ultimately, Anthony Mauss destroys us on his epic journey from the small town boy through the seminary and full moon salon to the husband and widower of Billy Manes, the beloved columnist for Orlando Weekly and Orlando’s first openly gay mayoral candidate.
Director Danielle Ziss should be applauded for helping these four fascinating people tell their stories with authenticity and a minimum of distracting artifice. While some of the more theatrical touches may feel a bit compelled, these true stories are effective at pulling raw emotional nerves. With his overwhelming honesty, Thrive reminds us that when we arbitrarily decide that a trait is a gift or a handicap, we are either celebrating or celebrating others who own it rather than seeing them as a whole person.
click to enlarge
Corset and cuties: yummy
BYOV: Haös about the church, $ 12
Corsets & Cuties had the honor of kicking off the Orlando Fringe 2021 on Wednesday night with a preview of Delicious in Haös, the spiritual successor to Church Street for the beloved Black Venue. For the sixth time in Fringe, this veteran troop serves up a delicious cabaret casserole with cheesecake costumes, melodies and happy near-nudity with a casual food-themed line.
After an amusing twist in Disney’s “Be Our Guest” to introduce the cast, founder and presenter Lady Jaimz lets the evening flow with jokes and competitions between the seven solo performances, ranging from Libra Moon’s bubble gum balloon popping routine to Teddy’s black light rave around 1999 (complete with free 3D glasses to simulate hallucinogenesis). Other highlights include Bebe Caliberr’s swirling homage to Eartha Kitt, Venus Lovetra’s belly dance remix of “Milkshake,” and soulful, shirtless country singing by Jax N. Augh.
While the cast is certainly pretty, Corsets & Cuties targets both the audience’s fun bones and their erogenous zones, emphasizing comical concepts over explicit choreography. In other words, this is the kind of body positive burlesque you could get your parents to do (assuming they’re not too prudish). Arrive early as the rear seats have limited views of the postage stage and bring lots of singles (or your Venmo app) to tip the performers.
click to enlarge
Frigorific: A game by ear
Green venue, $ 10
It’s Florida holiday season and Lolo (writer and actress Lorelei Zarifian) finds herself in a frozen, chilled hell as she wrestles with her noisy new Kenmore kitchen utensil. To make matters worse, their Siri and Alexa digital assistants are at a cold war, and the toll-free customer service hotlines they turn to leave them in a dystopian maze of automated prompts leading them to their to question one’s own organic nature.
To be honest, nothing about this surreal solo show should work, at least not on paper: Zarifian’s heavy French accent will be impenetrable to many American viewers, her Scattershot script changes tones and themes seemingly random, and the lean running time is full of awkwardness, Tempo breaks. Even her sanctimonious decoding of technology – while at the same time relying on it to create her art – is mundane and bourgeois.
And yet I found Frigorific oddly irresistibly compelling, from the announcement of the hypochondriac curtain to the weird unbundling of spoons and a straitjacket. As someone who recently upgraded to an internet-enabled thermostat that insists on texting me about the humidity of my house, I can identify with Zarifian’s ambivalence about artificial intelligence. And when she spreads her arms wide and longs for an authentic human smile after what seems like an eternity under electrified automatons, it is difficult not to want to reach for her hand.
It all started at the Radisson Inn
Gold venue, $ 12
Connor (Mike Van Dyke), a sociable gay foot fetishist, is celebrating his 40th birthday with an MDMA rave in a downtown hotel suite when Bret (Zach Lane), a Versace-studded salesman, stumbles in search of some fun. One erotic toe-stroking session leads to another, and the two soon find themselves in an unconventional relationship that Bret has to hide from his nagging fiancé (Dina Najjar). As any observer of star crossings romances can predict, this conflict burns in a wedding day showdown that will permanently change all three lives.
This outrageous high-concept comedy from prolific playwright director Michael Wanzie is full of cross-border laughs and passionate requests for erotic understanding. Wanzie’s dialogue is razor-sharp, but the script has some problems. Three narrators mean that it is sometimes said when to show it, and hearing two white men casually using the terminology “master / slave” in a sexual context is problematic at best. But the chemistry between the main cast is undeniable, and I found myself drawn into the dom / sub dynamic of this strange couple.
If you look beyond the discussions of cock sucking and ass fucking, It All Started at the Radisson Inn is a heartfelt story about the exchange of power in male relationships. Even those who can’t stand the sight of sockless feet will find something stimulating to chew on here.
Red Venue, $ 12
Even if you’ve been a main character in several Broadway musicals – not to mention the Bible – you didn’t really make it today until you had your own solo special for a streaming service. So Judas Iscariot (star writer BeeJay Aubertin-Clinton), trapped on earth for over 2,000 years after all that crucifixion mishegas, is finally revealing his deepest secrets to a live studio audience.
People always ask when the second coming is coming, but Jude really wants you to know what kind of friend Jesus was. Between alcohol and sniffing stimulants, Judas serves dishes to the disciples and dissects the lower apostles as mere “side dishes” while giving props to Mary Magdalene to be a “blinding damn ray of sunshine”. Clinton’s monologue, which ranges from manic to maudlin, mixes Stoner’s philosophy with savage attacks on organized religion, which he believes “is constantly getting in its own way” by “building houses of pink glass and then stones.” Be thrown “.
It’s probably best to skip this one if you can’t stand the thought of your Lord and Savior having a sex life. For the more open-minded viewer, however, Clinton navigates a delicate balance between salaciousness and spirituality and successfully discovers a heartbreaking passion at the center of the greatest story never told. Now add this to your Netflix queue.
click to enlarge
Sale: the musical
Pink Venue, $ 10
Are you an equity actor working in a parking lot to maintain your advantages? Have you ever given up your own personality to impress a blind date? If so, Selling Out: The Musical wants to win your heart … or at least your hard earned money. In this pop pastiche by composers Justin J. Scarlat (Doro & Diega) and Marisa Quijano-Sirois with writer and producer Keith Newhouse, Kendal is a fearful, ambitious advertiser who turns to his unemployed, gendered roommate, Ocean, for support Landing both of them to get a great promotion and a romantic partner with intoxicatingly inadequate results.
The twist is that audiences can influence the show – from switching who’s playing what role to buying the costumes off the actors’ backs – by contributing money through the production’s website. It’s a fascinating experiment in concept, but the frequent product placements for local businesses slow the pace of the piece and undermine any emotional attachment to the characters. This attractive young cast – Claudia Fain, Darrian M. Glover, Daniel Martinez, and Sissy Anne Quaranta – can carry a tune, but director Jamie DeHay’s staging seems unpolished and the group choreography is a hot mess.
With some catchy tunes (a rattling song about the rules of modern dating is particularly clever), personable cast members, and a shamelessly exploitative full-frontal finale, Selling Out has the potential to be a bite-sized hire for Gen Z’s The Current State I do can support enthusiastically, but if the mantra of their show (“Sex sells; strive for the lowest common denominator”) applies, then you should do well on the verge.
Keep up to date with news and views in Central Florida with our weekly newsletters and support this free publication. Our small but fine team works tirelessly to bring you the latest news from Central Florida, and every little bit helps.