The amount of fun you have at a fringe festival depends on how many pieces you see and how willing you are to play along when it’s called for.
“5 LESBIANS EATING A QUICHE”
Poor Richard’s Players brings “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche” to the fest, which runs through Sunday at Las Vegas Little Theatre. Full of innuendo, this play by Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood takes you back to 1956. Skillfully directed by Maxim Lardent, from the moment you hand over your ticket this wildly talented ensemble invites you to partake in the Quiche Breakfast of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein. These women never miss a beat, or an opportunity to escalate the fun with a look, a pose or the subtle raising of an eyebrow. A nosedive into food has never been funnier. When they break out into their club song, the voices blend like angels; when they include you, I urge you to go along. It’ll increase the fun by tenfold. (Grade: A)
“Atrocious Traditions” is two plays, by local Erica Griffin, wrapped in one package performed by Cockroach Theatre. Clues in both set and action tie them together. First is “ ‘bred.” When cover-band member Catch (Bryan Todd) meets groupie Alice (Jamie Carvelli Pikrone) they both seem a bit strange. When Alice’s mentally challenged sister Daphne (Melanie Ash) enters, Catch is suddenly the most normal one in the room. Director Ernie Curcio and cast handle the underlying theme of incest creating the delicate balance needed to address a difficult subject. “ ‘tact” finds model Riot (Myles Morgan) posing nude for artist Mavis (Tressa Bern) who finds something odd about his “you know.” She calls in her manic-depressive son Lyle (Kyle Jones) to help figure out how to fix it within the painting. This piece is a one-sided argument about circumcision, but director Ela Rose and the talented cast prevent it from becoming preachy. (Grade: B+)
“WE’RE HERE FOR YOU”
College of Southern Nevada presents “We’re Here for You: The Community College Musical Comedy,” an original musical written by Mark Emery Wherry. Both book and score have potential, starting out with a good pace, but they soon get in the way when certain subjects of college life continue on long after the audience gets it. It would benefit by excavating more insight and focusing on individual character’s stories and less on the system itself. The cast of eight, including musicians, contains glorious voices on solo numbers that blend into perfect harmony in group songs. The acting is fairly solid, each character is fully realized in mannerisms and delivery. (Grade: C)
“THE FRINGE PARODIES”
“The Fringe Parodies” is brought to you by the Happy Hour Improv, starring Anthony Barnaby, Chip Nash, Maxim Lardent and Mark Valentin. And what a happy hour they provide! The idea is that the audience decides which of the Fringe entries will be skewered. When we attended, the dart landed on “The Family,” which hadn’t been seen by anybody, save one audience member, including the troupe of actors. Using the description from the Festival program and one stand-out issue (as remembered by that lone patron), they presented a version, which may not have been faithful, or even slightly accurate, to the original. But this group, aided by the lighting and sound talents of Lysander Abadia and Dave Clark, provided us a fast-paced, made-up-on-the-spot, hilarious rendition that was definitely top-notch. (Grade: A)
This is the second of four Fringe Festival reviews by Las Vegas Review-Journal theater critics.