Updated: Mar 8, 2019
By Galina Vasileva
★★★½☆ - Satisfying
Fun, fun, fun! Festivity is in the atmosphere at the ninth annual Vegas Fringe Festival at Las Vegas Little Theatre, showcasing a great selection of eleven established and new plays under one roof. We had a chance to enjoy three shows the first weekend. The celebration of unpretentious and intriguing productions are a chance to watch, laugh and cry if you want to, and think.
SCOTLAND ROAD By Jeffrey Hatcher
Presented by Las Vegas Little Theatre
“Scotland Road” by Jeffrey Hatcher and presented by Las Vegas Little Theatre makes the audience "think" about secrets. If somebody asks you to “whisper” your secret in his ear, would you – think about it? But what secret would it be? Or, conversely, why do you want to know the secret of somebody else? Think about your answer and you might be surprised out what truth you expose about yourself.
The story is about a beautiful young woman dressed in nineteenth-century clothing, found on iceberg, floating in the middle of North Atlantic. When rescued, the only word she says is "Titanic." "The Woman" (Naree Asherian) is taken by John (Michael Blair) for observation. Obsessed with the story of the Titanic, he wants to prove her a fake and know her secret, and so he illegally interrogates her while under "hospital observation" against her will in an undisclosed room. John tortures and manipulates, faking it with the place and the people in it. "Dr. Halberch" (Teresa Fullerton) is one of John's tools.
“You are nostalgic of disaster you never knew” says the suspicious and bitter voice of Frances Kittle (Ellen Radcliff), a genuine Titanic survivor. Suspicion and bitterness, leave Frances feeling betrayed to meet another survivor much younger than her, and Radcliff is funny and entertaining as she reaches a turning point and charged with the truth, speaks of her long-suppressed memories with strength and potency.
Asherian's "Woman" is quiet, stable, and gives a “soaked in cold water” vibe that makes you think she is not, but maybe she is, a scam. But why? If it's a scheme, then what is the scam?
This tremendous swirl of emotion and personal obsession navigates the audience`s attention, keeping the puzzle unsolved almost to the end, where John is left in an unexpected situation. There may be more than one answer to the riddle.
Two more chances to catch Scotland Road this weekend:
6/14 at 7pm 6/16 at 3:45pm
TIME CAPSULE A new comedy by Matt Martello
Presented by M-WILL Productions of Las Vegas
Matt Martello, cast, and crew are giving a great opportunity for fifty-ish minutes of joy and unalloyed humor with a new work, the “Time Capsule,” directed by Diana Wilson and Alexsis Neuman. The show is in the Black Box which itself sets limitations, and one of the greatest things about this production is that limitations of any kind are not felt.
With a straightforward approach by emphasizing and exposing real thought, playwright Matt Martello wins over the audience immediately, offering belly laughs for everyone. There are layers of humor that bring laughs with a second thought as some audience members laugh in surprising moments, along with the moments of universally plotted humor. The text is zesty and leveled and provokes even those with different senses and understandings.
A group of former classmates of Lockport High School reunite almost twenty years after graduation and are invited to open an old time capsule. Uncomfortable, common knowledge, disturbing memories, surprises and discoveries develop as they wait to open up the time capsule - with every revelation humorously served.
The fun starts right away with the first contact between the five ex-students and school director who is new. Most of the cast members in this production have well nuanced characters. Some can afford to improve their volume and commitment, but the team works well together and succeeds in entertaining by keeping the action natural, and maintaining a cool feeling of fun and relaxation. There is some smart physical movement in moments between "Ron"(Don Charette, Jr.), "Jackie" (Kaci Machacyk), "Stich" (Angel Mendoza), "Randall Crosby" (Julius Maxwell III) . All of them embody the uniquely disinterested attitude of the new “I will live my life the way I want to"-grown-up-still-a-kid generation.
"Edgar" (Ivan Holloway) and "Heidi" (Claudia Ivonne Tilley) feel different, self-contained and somehow more experienced, pulling a different story from the rest. This is not an accident, but a thoughtful method of revealing rich layers in this image of real life. Some people are still looking for fun, some for others' money, others break down to pieces, some have to bend, some become successful and others miserable. Between it all, a new romance is starting to begin, which spins the wheel of the fortune for somebody, leaving the rest to their old rhythm until the next turn…eventually. I laugh at and love what they find.
Congratulations cast and crew! “Time Capsule” show times:
6/14 at 9pm 6/16 at 8:45pm 6/17 at 2pm
ANY BODY FOR TEA? By CB Gilford
Presented by The Speeding Theatre
Vegas Fringe Festival is a wonderful opportunity for showcasing theatre productions of different kinds and many times offers great surprise to the theater fans, and that's exactly the case with “Any Body for Tea?” for me.
In 2011 The Speeding Theatre was formed by a group of former students from the UNLV Senior Adult Theatre Program. They aim to provide older adults with opportunities to continue to explore the art of theatre, to continue socializing and touching the community culturally. The Speeding Theatre also produces multi-generational themed plays, musicals, and performances, which is something not shown often enough on the Las Vegas stage.
This play's very funny plot includes homicide, mystery, an attractive detective and six elderly ladies trying to lure him into their home. The plot itself is already promising and entertaining, but wait until you see what director Beverly Ron puts on the stage.
Every member of the cast possesses strong personality and enviable energy for their characters and the action. The whole room laughs (even the little kids in the audience, who were a bit tired just before the beginning when I was there soon clanged happily along with the rest of the us). The actors give full performances using interesting body language that is always active, keeping vivid, strong connections with each other while letting go completely for the stakes in the story and the amusement of the audience. To talk of them separately is hard due to the fact that they become one whole thing seamlessly.
The elderly ladies allow themselves to be silly and burning with hot emotions in childish and lively demeanor, which sets the words flying and focuses the attention on them. Jeff Howard as "Dennis O`Finn" and Howard Shapiro as "Karmer," give equally great performances by declaring and working their own individuality. It is a pleasure to see actors who know exactly what and how to infuse aspects of themselves into their character which is enough for the character to unfold organically.
The space was well decided, and the reality was brought through costumes with lights and sounds there enough to suport the story.
These forty minutes flew by as blink of an eye. At the end I felt lively and fresh, ready to forgive and forget for the sake of a one more bite of laugh.
Don't miss this weekend's “Any Body for Tea?”
6/15 at 6:30pm 6/16 at 2:30pm 6/17 at 3:30pm.