EMAV Fringe Feature Part 1: Taste the Fringe @ LVLT ★★★★☆
★★★★☆ - Delicious
This year marks the seventh Vegas Fringe Festival. Fringe is good. Fringe brings diversity. Lots of it. Whether you like comedy, drama, variety, or improv, you’re bound to find something that pleases your palate.
Produced by LVLT, “Juju Goes to Pahrump,” by local playwright Erica Griffin, is a funny/sad tale of a woman looking for love. Funny because Juju Jones (Rebecca Kernes) thinks she’s found her soul mate in an alien - no, not the foreign immigrant kind, the little green men kind (though this one happens to be grey) - via an internet dating site. Sad, because of course, she’s being scammed. Griffin’s well-written script digs into deep and serious territory while being humorous. The direction by David McKee falls short of doing it justice.
Both Kernes and John C. Hughes (Henry “Hank” Crusoe) start out with a bang. It’s fast-paced, the timing is spot on. When Kernes opens the door on Hughes, his stance alone brings genuine laughs. As Kernes frets over the arrival of her paramour, she’s full of nervous energy. Enter Richie Villafuerte as The Grey, in a silver body suit, and the laughs continue. Villafuerte and Kernes - without seeing one another - execute physical cues perfectly.
Somewhere in the middle, it all falls apart. The timing is lost, the blocking begins to feel forced. It lags with missed cues and unmotivated wandering as if the director was determined to use every inch of the stage. In short, its consistency feels somewhat undercooked. [*** Satisfying]
The Vast Canvas Productions’ “All Day, It’s Tomorrow,” by local playwright Ernie Curcio, who also directed, may be short but it’s packed full of fun and more life lessons than you’d expect. It’s a tightly-written message in a one-room space. If casting is 90% of directing, Curcio hit the jackpot.