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Rogue Reviews 2018!

IN THE March 3 ISSUE

FROM THE 2018 Articles,
andArts & Entertainment,
andMusic,
andTerrance V. Mc Arthur,
andTheatre
SECTIONS

by Terrance Mc Arthur,
Mallory Moad,
& Lorie Lewis Ham

muse Throughout the week we will be posting reviews here of Rogue shows! Check back several times a day! And then go out and enjoy the Rogue Festival! To check out our Rogue muse article & some Rogue performer preview articles go to our Arts & Entertainment section. We will also be posting some performer video interviews on our YouTube Channel. So far we have reviews of What’s The Weirdest Thing That’s Ever Happened To You?, Hi. Entering Burned Area, The Magician So Amazing, He Amazes Himself!, Hotter Than Potter, Babe in the Hollywood, The Paranormal Pair, Meddle to the Petal , ASS or How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Bong, Neighborhood Watch, S’Will, School of Fish, Bikeface, Mansplaining, Does Fresno Get Into Your Stuff?, The Sibyl of Mars, The Dish, Magical Mystery Detour, Flower Tome Companion, Jeans and Jazz, Street Magic Live!, Standardize This!, State Your Name for the Record, Figmentally Yours, That Kidney Show, Aim for the Heart, Walking While Black in Moscow, & Bring It On Down to My House.

What’s The Weirdest Thing That’s Ever Happened To You?
Review by Mallory Moad

Sometimes less really is more. That’s definitely true of What’s The Weirdest Thing That’s Ever Happened To You? This ensemble piece from performance group, Art Or Evidence? favors storytelling, poetry and original music over whistles and bells. Members are singer/songwriter, Victor DesRoche; painter and writer, Tracy Fulton; percussionist/vocalist, Charis Calvert and singer/songwriter, Rachel Witort.

In a series of stories, poetry and simply orchestrated songs, this eclectic quartet addresses the issue of weird events they have experienced. However, that weirdness always leads to something better – love, self-awareness, inner strength. Much of what is shared is somewhat intimate but never crosses over into TMI territory.

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Art or Evidence? Local performing group for Rogue Festival 2018. Clockwise from top left – Victor DesRoches, Rachel Witort, Charis Calvert, Tracy Fulton.

The majority of stories are told by Victor with an endearing, relaxed delivery. His original Americana/folk songs pick up where the tales leave off. Following an anecdote about heritage, “Child of a Child of a Child of a Child of England” is a lesson in family roots that’s way more enjoyable than DNA testing.

Tracy Fulton’s original poem about dealing with cancer, or what she calls an “interesting experience,” is moving and introspective. Her stage presence is magnetic, her performance confident.

Rachel plays ukulele and sings an original song, “Lines of a Song From Years Ahead” with a voice that is reminiscent of Natalie Merchant. She is accompanied by Charis on percussion and the chemistry between these two is electric.

The last number in the show is a Brandy Carlisle song, “The Eye.” Singing together in impeccable four-part harmony, Art or Evidence? leaves the audience with a beautiful message of perseverance.

Whistles and bells – who needs ’em?

What’s The Weirdest Thing That’s Ever Happened To You? performs at Fulton Street Art, 1118 North Fulton Street, Fresno. The remaining performance is Saturday, March 10 at 8 p.m.

Mallory Moad is a visual/performance artist, vocalist in the jazz band Scats on The Sly and a proud Central San Joaquin Valley native.


Hi. Entering Burned Area
Review by Mallory Moad

Rodeo Debbie is a clown, but she’s also a deep thinker in Hi. Entering Burned Area. Unassuming in her shapeless yellow dress and tall red hat, she’s our guide for a tour of the Burned Area. Written and performed by Áine Donnelly, we are treated to an evening of philosophy, red nose style.

In this minimalist, tragicomic one-woman show, Aine uses no props or sound effects. She relies instead on pantomime and a child-like voice to share Debbie’s outlook on life. On the surface, the Burned Area is a desolate place, with burned trees that look like black skeletons. But Debbie is an optimist and sees the potential for rebirth, rejuvenation and transformation, both physically and emotionally.rogue

Aine’s performance has a stream-of-consciousness feel about it. She has the ability to engage the audience and hold their attention, whether she’s describing the cabinets in her kitchen, the force of a volcano or the relationship between earthly things and stars.

The audience is drawn in by Debbie’s innocent sense of wonder and Hi. Entering Burned area ends on a positive note. It’s a tale of persistence and hope, sending a message that even in destruction, there are new possibilities.

Hi. Entering Burned Area if performed at Fulton Street Art, 1118 North Fulton Street, Fresno.
Final performance Saturday, March 10, 4:15 p.m.

Mallory Moad is a visual/performance artist, vocalist in the jazz band Scats on The Sly and a proud Central San Joaquin Valley native.


The Magician So Amazing, He Amazes Himself! Bryan Patrick

Review by Terrance Mc Arthur

Bryan Patrick is tall-ish, thin-ish, sardonic-ish, and The Magician So Amazing, He Amazes Himself!

He’s an illusionist, so be prepared to not believe anything you see, but go ahead and believe it—it’s more fun that way. From hijinks with a soda bottle to the classic foam rabbits gag, to a mail-order trick marred by confusing instructions, Bryan always looks surprised when things come out right. He doesn’t have the “I’m fooling these idiots” attitude many magicians exude; his demeanor is more of “Wow! It worked!”
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That bemused wonder carries over into his interactions with audience volunteers (although he tends to drag up young women probably scarred from being humiliated in other magic shows). He helps them make magic, and he doesn’t stoop to handing them scissors that only work for him or wands that fall apart.

His act is magic that’s stripped down and modified for speed. Instead of a Russian Roulette routine where one of the six Styrofoam cups he is about to crush hiding a deadly spike, he trims it down to three cups, saving time, yet heightening the tension. Bryan Patrick is The Magician So Amazing, He Amazes Himself!

He’ll amaze you, too.

The final shows of The Magician So Amazing, He Amazes Himself! are 3/9—8:30pm, 3/10—2pm, at The Revue, 620 E. Olive Ave.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian with the Fresno County Public Library.


Hotter Than Potter
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur

What do you expect out of a magic show called Hotter Than Potter? Strippers from Slytherin?

Here’s what you get—a brisk show, clever illusions, and Keith Brown, a personable young Canadian from Florida, who does bear a slight resemblance to Daniel Radcliffe…if you squint (Keith looks better).

Magic shows are an acquired taste for many people, and this is a Rogue Festival where you had better acquire some. There are six shows that include magic or illusions this year. Ropes change size at a frightening pace, and several tricks (and jokes) are repeated.Lil-theater-co-1

Brown has a smooth delivery that makes the time pass quickly. Coins appear in unusual places, playing cards do things you’d expect to be done with coins. He also does horrible things to another card, and it still comes back to him for more. On top of that (You know, this turned out to be a card-heavy program, but I enjoyed the variety of effects), a card is torn from its deckmates by violence, to the delight of the audience. Feats of mental prowess appear to be no challenge to Brown, as he harvests another’s mind for information from a magazine page he hasn’t seen.

Don’t burn him at the stake. He has no occult power, but he does have the power to entertain.

Catch his last show 3/9—8:30 pm, at Fulton Street Art, 1118 N. Fulton St.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian with the Fresno County Public Library.



Babe in the Hollywood

Review by Terrance Mc Arthur

Toni Weingarten was the daughter of two refugees from Hitler’s Germany, and she was raised in a family that did not want her to follow the whims of American society. Then…how did she end up in Hollywood, passing judgment on scripts?

Toni shook off her childhood in the 1960s, exposed to the wildness of the era, but she was not prepared for what she faced in LaLaLand in the 70s, where drugs are the tip for good service, where heavy-metal hair can help with a job search, where she was chased by jacketed men after her car, where conversations centered on “projects” instead of issues, and where people she trusted weren’t always worthy of trust.Babe-in-the-Hollywoods-poster-FNL-1-page-0

She did time at Fresno State, too, blossoming as a feminist artist, to the point where she earned bomb threats.
Weingarten passes her first-fringe-festival test with cheerfulness and humor, laughing at her own naiveté and poking at the pretensions of the Hollywood elite.

This is one of the shortest show at the Rogue, but it packs a lot of life into 30 minutes. It’s worth seeing.

Catch Toni’s last show 3/10—3pm, at Fulton Street Art, 1118 N. Fulton St.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian with the Fresno County Public Library.


The Paranormal Pair
Review by Mallory Moad

Abnormal is the new normal. That’s what the Box of Clowns touring theatre company (Laura Moy and Jeff Desautels) would like you to believe. After seeing their original production, The Paranormal Pair, I’m sold.

Laura and Jeff put on a show has the feel of a wacky public access cable TV show (think Wayne’s World). With a loose (very loose) storyline involving a broken friendship, a ghost and a cat possessed by a demonic spirit, The Paranormal Pair is forty-five minutes of silly, weird fringe festival hijinks. To go into detail would spoil the fun, but Box of Clowns makes use of the following: pantomime, puppetry, audience participation, bad puns, glow sticks and spur-of-the-moment dancing. rogue

Laura plays the role of Greg Murphy, cat groomer by day, paranormal investigator by night. With his throwback 1970’s glasses and wimpy moustache, he’s the epitome of a ghostbusting geek. Jeff totally works a pair of Jackie O shades and uni-brow as Mysteria, psychic medium and Greg’s childhood best friend. The cross dressing isn’t meant to be convincing drag and that makes it even more laughable. And then there’s Mittens, the cutest, most disturbing cat puppet to appear in the Rogue Festival. Together, they encourage us to laugh in the face of death (ha-HA!) as they deliver a high-energy performance that’s a kick in the pants.

Will our heroes uncover the identity of the ghost that haunts Hart’s Haven Bookstore? Will Mittens survive an exorcism? Will anyone in the audience win at Lights Out Bingo? Maybe, maybe not. But The Paranormal Pair will satisfy your curiosity (and tickle your funny bone).

The Paranormal Pair performs at Hart’s Haven Bookstore, 950 N Van Ness Ave, Fresno. Remaining performances are Friday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 10 at 5 p.m.; and Saturday, March 10 at 8 p.m.

Mallory Moad is a visual/performance artist, vocalist in the jazz band Scats on The Sly and a proud Central San Joaquin Valley native.


Meddle to the Petal
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur

Search for “Quirky Theatre” on the internet, and you’ll probably find a picture of Claire Patton. A Girl’s Guide to War, The Awkward Art of Flying, Barnacle: A Salty Love Story, and Joan of Sna’rc have all put her onto Rogue stages. This year, it’s Meddle to the Petal.

Full-face masks, pantomime, two performers in multiple roles, memory-flogging music, and physical comedy create a metaphor for the Kubler-Ross stages of grief. A lonely widow (who can shake her booty when moved by the music) and a grumpy man become competitors in a gardening contest. There is cheating, sabotage, and the presence of a semi-hunky (in his mind) spirit of growth/fertility/springtime who adds to each horticultural display when the other characters aren’t there, and there are no spoken words. rogue

With the solid masks, a wealth of emotion can be displayed. Each movement of the body and limbs is amplified, made more visible without the distraction of facial expressions. Without speech, the bodies become more important; we learn about the characters from a different set of clues.

It’s a clown show, it’s a parable, it’s how we deal with life, and it’s entertainment. Patton and her silent partner (Tell us his name, please!) create a magical clown-world that teaches as it amuses.

See Meddle to the Petal’s last performances, 3/8—7pm, 3/10—6:30pm, at California Arts Academy Severance, 1401 N. Wishon Ave.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian with the Fresno County Public Library.


ASS or How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Bong
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham

If you are looking for a show that has a little bit of everything, and that will make you laugh until your sides ache, go see ASS, presented by the Outdustrial Theatre Company in Fresno.

I am hard pressed to even describe this show as it literally has a little bit of EVERYTHING in it-science fiction, fantasy, drama, magic, and loads of comedy. The show is also loaded with pop culture references, many of which make a geek’s soul happy-Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, Beyonce, Dr. Who, politics, and so much more! Oh and don’t miss the scene change music sung to the music of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”! I also love the fact that it is millennials who save the day, because honestly I think they are our hope for the future.

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ASS cast

The extremely talented Joshua Taylor wrote and directed this show and he threw in a few fun references to his show at last year’s Rogue, and nods to Fresno. Oh and there is even a talking cockroach (I know at first I thought cockroach yuck, but it’s hilarious just like everything else!).

The actors in the show, Maria Monreal, Dakota Simpson, and Hannah Weyant, are also amazing as they switch constantly between rolls and genders with ease, and perform each one perfectly.

The basic plot is about millennials saving the world from aliens-but there’s so much more here and so much wonderful fun! If you want to laugh this Rogue, DO NOT MISS ASS! (they also manage to cleverly stick the word ass in here and there lol)

Check out our preview interview with Joshua to learn a bit about how this show came to be.

ASS is being performed at the Cal Arts Academy, 1401 N. Wishon Ave., Fresno. The remaining performances are Friday, March 9 at 10 p.m. and Saturday, March 10 at 8 p.m.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.


Neighborhood Watch
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham

Everywhere I went this weekend people kept saying, “You have to see Neighborhood Watch” with Lisa Pedace, so I went and enjoyed.

Neighborhood Watch is different from anything else I’ve seen this year-it is a comedy but it is told in such a serious, deadpan style that it also seems very realistic, even when it is insane! The story is about what goes on in a neighborhood, who is watching, and problems with neighbors. rogue

The character telling this story is the Neighborhood Watch commander and she is telling her story in court–and what a story! She shares many things about her neighbors, and her changing neighborhood, but the main story is about her newest neighbors who literally drove her crazy. Oh and there’s the dog pooping on her lawn story too, which takes an interesting turn. While she spies on all of her neighbors, it is the new ones that drive her crazy with their disrespect for the way things have always been done-they fill her life with smoke, stinky smells, noise, and chickens! Everything builds up to a chicken apocalypse, as their behavior drives her crazier and crazier. The main character made me think just a bit of Bree on early Desperate Housewives.

While the stories in this show are insane, they are also ones that most of us can relate to on a more sane level–who hasn’t had a bad neighbor, or a nosey one?

If you are looking for something different, funny, and a bit crazy, don’t miss Neighborhood Watch! I can see why everyone is talking about it.

Neighborhood Watch is performed at The Revue, 620 East Olive Ave., Fresno. The remaining performances are Friday, March 9 at 10 p.m. and Saturday, March 10 at 3:30 p.m.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.


S’Will
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham

Twelfth Night
is my favorite Shakespeare play, so when I heard that The Fools Collaborative was doing a drunk version at Rogue, well of course I had to be there. Top that off with The Fools consisting of a very talented group of actors, and you are guaranteed a great time!

The night starts off with one of the members of the cast already being drunk at the beginning of the show, which adds to the hilarity. I’ve been told the choosing is completely random. The night I saw the show the drunk cast member was Miguel Gastelum. rogue

Each cast member plays more than one character throughout the performance, and they do so with hilarious perfection! The cast is as follows: Casey Ballard was Viola/Sebastian, Miguel Gastelum was Toby/Captain, Camille Gaston was Olivia/Officer, Kristin Crase was Maria/Feste, Haley White was Malvolio and Antonio, and Randy Kohlruss was Sir Andrew/Duke Orsino.

This may be one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, due in part to the improv in the show–every performance is just a bit different! They threw in a lot of modern day references to things like social media and some great Trump jokes. They also throw in some songs picked by audience members ahead of each performance. An audience member is also chosen to ring a bell at different times and require a cast member to take another drink, and there is other audience participation as well.

S’Will is a condensed version of Twelfth Night-but if you have never seen the original play don’t worry, there is still enough there for you to understand the plot.

This is a show that is better experienced than explained. Do not miss S’Will it was wonderful and hilariously funny! With such talented actors how can you possibly go wrong!

Check out our video interview with Haley White and Miguel Gastelum.

S’Will is performed at The Stargazer’s Lounge, 1292 N. Ferger Ave., Fresno. The first weekend was performed at the Painted Table due to the rain. Remaining performances are Thursday, March 8 at 6 p.m.; Friday, March 9 at 7:15 p.m.; and Saturday, March 10 at 8:45 p.m.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.


School of Fish
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham

The power and wonder of women seems to be a reoccurring theme in many of this year’s Rogue Festival shows, which is very appropriate to the times and wonderful to see.

School of Fish is very much this type of show-featuring women of all ages, shapes, races and sizes, and sharing their stories in a very different sort of way-with little bits of each of the character’s stories being told together with some interesting movement. rogue

Director and producer Xan Scott states in the show’s program, “School of Fish is a project that welcomes the audience to slow down and take a look at real women.” And real women is exactly what we see-a homeless vet, a young woman eager to make a difference, a celebrity who seems happier once she has lost her fame, a spiritual leader, and others. There is a great deal of symbolism in this show, and moments of silence and movement that make you think.

Another unique aspect of this show is that Xan is attempting to put together local actors in every town where she produces the show (this is her second time doing it), so every actor on the stage is from this area.

Check out a performer preview article by Xan where she explains more about her show, and our video interview with her.

School of Fish performs at the Cal Arts Academy, 1401 N. Wishon Ave., Fresno. Remaining performances are Wednesday, March 7 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, March 10 at 12:30 p.m.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.


Bikeface
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham

I have been a fan of Nat Vickers ever since seeing her Rogue show in 2016, Black Wool Jacket. Surprisingly, that was her first ever show as the person on stage, instead of behind the scenes and it was awesome! This year she brings us something new in Bikeface, and something that also fits in the category of a story about the power of women.

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Natalie Frijia

In Bikeface, Nat shares her love of bikes, which started at an early age. And her love of adventure. We then follow her through life with her bikes, with the heart of the story being a bike trip she took across Canada! She also includes snippets from her research of bikes, which tell how absurdly people thought about women riding bikes in the past-it just wasn’t proper. But as Nat goes across the country you find that this attitude has sadly not entirely changed-as she is told over and over that a woman shouldn’t be doing this, especially not alone. And yet, she does it and has a lot of interesting, sometimes funny, sometimes scary, and sometimes inspiring, adventures along the way, meeting all sorts of people.

The best thing about this story is that it shows that women can have adventures too. Women can do anything-even bike alone across Canada! One of the most interesting and thought provoking lines in the show goes something like this, “Men are told they can do anything, women are told to be safe.”

I HIGHLY recommend this show. It’s funny, inspiring, suspenseful, and wonderful!

Check out Nat’s Performer Preview post here in KRL to learn a little more about her show, and watch our video interview with her.

Bikeface is performed at Dianna’s Studio of Dance, 826 North Fulton St., Fresno. The remaining performances are Friday, March 9 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, March 10 at 5 p.m.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.


Mansplaining
Review by Mallory Moad

Stories about men behaving despicably have been all over the news lately. In his latest comic presentation, Mansplaining, Jaguar Bennett dives head first into the possible reasons behind what drives the male species to commit these acts and offers a suggestion or two about how the situation can be remedied.

In the hands of someone less skilled and more vulgar, Mansplaining would have been a litany of excuses and blame but that isn’t how Jaguar operates. True, the language is a little on the blue side at times, but not for shock value or a cheap laugh. His style is more reminiscent of intelligent artists like George Carlin and Lenny Bruce than the loud-mouthed late-night cable TV comics who are a dime a dozen. Words are chosen carefully, statements often backed up by facts (real ones, not alternative). It’s this connection to truth that drives the humor and delivers the laughs. rogue

And believe me, there are plenty of laughs in Mansplaining. At times self-deprecating but never self-pitying, Jaguar opens the show by telling us he’s a man but is uncertain whether or not men really exist. He then promises to tell us the truth about men, which involves evolution, history, sex, peacocks, science, feminism, numerous variations of the color red, more sex, and what he calls “manspeak.”

What I really enjoy about Jaguar’s performances, and what makes them more than just a stand-up comedy routine, is this: His ranting and carrying on about a situation is really the process of finding a solution.This becomes apparent about halfway through the show. Jaguar’s manner slowly changes and by the end we are listening with rapt attention rather than hooting and hollering. He makes us laugh, but he also makes us think. This is especially true of Mansplaining.

In exploring the truth about men, Jaguar has learned the truth about women, too. His eloquent closing statement, which I will not reveal, drew cheers at the performance I attended.

Yes, Jaguar – men really do exist and you’re one of them.

Or do I need to womansplain that to you?

Check out our q and a with Jaguar here in KRL, and a video interview.

Mansplaining performs at Veni Vidi Vici, 1116 North Fulton St., Fresno. The remaining performances are Thursday, March 8 at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 10 at 6:45 p.m.

Mallory Moad is a visual/performance artist, vocalist in the jazz band Scats on The Sly and a proud Central San Joaquin Valley native.


Does Fresno Get Into Your Stuff?
Review by Mallory Moad

When it comes to the Rogue Festival, Blake Jones is known for never repeating himself. In this year’s new production he has stepped away from music to take on the role of moderator in Does Fresno Get Into Your Stuff?

It’s essentially a panel discussion that works like this: Each show features a different group of guests, answering a variety of questions about their experiences with the arts while living and working in Fresno. Graphic artist, Suzanne Bertz-Rosa; music promoter and club owner, Tony Martin; and Fresno Poet Laureate, Bryan Medina, were on the panel of the show I attended. rogue

The entertainment factor of each performance is dependent on the guests. In this show, Bryan Medina’s reading of his poem, Under The Skin, evoked an emotional response from several members of the audience. In a cameo appearance, singer-songwriter Michael McNamara (with a voice reminiscent of Warren Zevon) sang an original pop composition, Start Here.

Does Fresno Get Into Your Stuff? is a feel-good promotional spot for the town many of us call home. If you’re one of those people who think Fresno is a dead zone, take a chance and see what the pros are saying. It might just open your eyes to something new.

Does Fresno Get Into Your Stuff? performs at Veni Vidi Vici, 1116 North Fulton St., Fresno. The remaining performances are Friday, March 9 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, March 10 at 8 p.m.

Mallory Moad is a visual/performance artist, vocalist in the jazz band Scats on The Sly and a proud Central San Joaquin Valley native.


The Sibyl of Mars
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur

A science-fiction mystery at the Rogue Festival? Why not?

L. Nicole Cabe, who brought three generations of post-apocalyptic women to life in last year’s Tidal Surge, returns with The Sibyl of Mars, a multimedia show without the multimedia.

Cabe plays the Sibyl, a spy from Mars, sent to Earth to steal digital records that might reveal why the Mars colony is failing after 2,000 years. She uploads the experiences through her body and mind to CHICA, the computer system on the red planet. The information is chosen through a set of 22 tarot cards, selected by other prisoners–the audience—held with her in a militaristic detention center.rogue

Tarot cards? Yeah.

It’s like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book written by Ray Bradbury. Characters of the future –the Sibyl’s past—relate their diary entries, news, and interviews, and the woman from another planet tries to piece them into an answer to the Martian problems. Each performance yields a different set of segments in a unique order, linking into a story with a different problem and a unique conclusion.

Pale, with silvery-blue hair and stark makeup, Cabe has an otherworldly look, yet her placid demeanor may erupt into near-visible sparks of recognition and comprehension. The interactive elements draw the watchers into the action, turning them into something like the group Miss Marple would bring together before revealing the culprit.

If you like Stranger in a Strange Land and playing Clue, this may be the show for you. If that doesn’t describe your interests, go anyway. You’ll discover a new world.

See The Sibyl of Mars at Fulton Street Art, 1118 N. Fulton St., 3/8—7:15pm, 3/10—1:45pm.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian with the Fresno County Public Library.


The Dish
Review by Mallory Moad

Coco loves to cook and she’s good at it. But don’t call her a chef. And whatever you do, do not call her a foodie.

The likeable, fearless Coco is the only character in The Dish, a theater piece that combines the culinary arts, sex, a few history lessons, international intrigue, terrorists, death under suspicious circumstances and an enigmatic, multi-lingual femme fatale. The end result is pretty tasty.rogue

Cooking is Coco’s lifelong passion and she actually cooks real food on stage while sharing the story of her world-wide search for the perfect dish. To reveal any more about the plot would be giving too much away. Suffice it to say there’s a twist ending that will throw you for a loop.

The lone performer in The Dish is Casey Ballard and she’s a treasure. As Coco, she is animated and appealing, our BFF, a gal pal who makes us feel welcome in her kitchen. Casey’s got the skills to effortlessly go from conversation to chopping tomatoes, and the charisma to make us believe every word she says (and want to hear more.)

The Dish was written and directed by Marcel Nunis. An accomplished playwright who also enjoys cooking, he has given us an engrossing tale that keeps the audience on its toes (until that ending knocks them off their feet.)

Marcel has staged this production in his back yard for several reasons, the main one being the charcoal stove Coco uses is really smoky. Another is the location’s significance – it’s where the early performances that inspired the creation of the Rogue Festival took place, seventeen years ago.

The dish that is prepared on stage ismamek mee goreng, a spicy fusion of Malaysian, Chinese and Indian cuisines. The audience gets to sample it after the show so stick around.

The Dish is performed in Marcel’s Backyard, 416 E. Brown Ave. The remaining performances are Saturday, March 10 at 2 and 5 p.m.

Mallory Moad is a visual/performance artist, vocalist in the jazz band Scats on The Sly and a proud Central San Joaquin Valley native.


Magical Mystery Detour
Review by Mallory Moad

Shows in the Rogue Festival tend to be small and feature less than a dozen cast members, at most. This year there is one production with a cast of twenty-three. The catch? It’s just one woman doing all the work.

Playwright/performer, Gemma Wilcox returned to the Rogue with her critically-acclaimed Magical Mystery Detour. In this road-trip metaphor for life, Sarah is driving from London to Cornwall. She’d really rather not go but feels obligated to fulfill one of the last wishes of her deceased mother. And away we go!rogue

With her voice and body Gemma brings to life the inhabitants – not all of them human – of Sarah’s world and who accompany her on this journey. They include Sarah’s Aunt Iris, making pie in one scene and serving it later; a snarky fly who serves as a Greek chorus (and shares his dinner with an audience member in disgusting hilarity), her trustworthy car (whose brief rendition of Talking Heads’ Road To Nowhere made me laugh out loud); the Queen of England, who offers relationship advice and one of my favorites, the Genie of The Neti Pot (“Just swish and wish!”).

There are no props or costume changes – just simple lighting effects, music, a bench and Gemma. Her transformations are subtle but effective, the results believable. In one scene involving a male character in a swimming pool at night, her body language alone had me convinced she really was a man.

To say Gemma is skilled is an understatement and to concentrate only on her ability to create twenty-three unique characters is not enough. Her writing is as strong as her performance ability and Magical Mystery Detour’s story is compelling. Although there are plenty of laugh-inducing moments, this is not exclusively a comedy. There are moments of sadness, anger, and elation. The characters (all of them) are well-defined. And while some of the “roles” may be smaller than others, none of them are insignificant.

Sarah’s trip doesn’t conclude in a dead end. With the toss of a penny from the top of a lighthouse and the intervention of a pesky seagull, we are left with a feeling of joyous release. I’m sure Sarah will be traveling light next time, but I hope the adventure isn’t any less crowded.

Thanks, Gemma, for inviting us along for the ride.

Magical Mystery Detour is performed at Cal Arts Academy, 1401 N. Wishon Ave., Fresno. The remaining performances are Wednesday, March 7 at 7:30 p..m.; Thursday, March 8 at 8:30 p.m.; and Saturday, March 10 at 5 p.m.

Mallory Moad is a visual/performance artist, vocalist in the jazz band Scats on The Sly and a proud Central San Joaquin Valley native.


Flower Tome Companion Episode II: Wine Not Be Friends
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur

In 2015, a group of friends at the Voice Shop decided to fill a Rogue time slot by making a show, and it was called Flower Tome Companion, and it was good. In 2017, there was Flower Tome Companion Episode III—The Farce Continues: Something Fishy. Now, the prequel-sequel that fits between the earlier shows, Flower Tome Companion Episode II: Wine Not Be Friends, pulls into the station at the VISTA Theater (Same venue, new name).

Some things have changed. There are only 15 people on the stage, this time. The men at the bar are off “fishing,” so the women come into focus, flirting with the bartender, talking about how to put one over on the men, and singing.
Can Debi Ruud sing? Oh, yeah! If you want a song heard, give it to Debi. If you want a song to move the audience, give it to Debi. If you want a song to look as good as it sounds, give it to Debi. rogue

Is it a parody of A Prairie Home Companion or an homage? The answers are “yes.” FTC has many of the same elements of PHC: great music, sly commercials, long-form skits inserted into the framework. It also has a uniquely Fresno slant, with lots of cloaked references to locations and characters of the Olive-Wishon corridors. The radio-theatre mystery involves newspapermen, radiowomen, tunnels, theatres, Eastern Europeans, and a strange hum (provided by the audience on souvenir instruments).

Debi is joined at the “Flower District” bar by Suzaan Botha (who electrifies on the plugged-in violin) and Valerie Priest (who gets to do mysterious dialects). Mike Workman acts as ringmaster, setting tone and guiding reactions. Max Debbas gets white and nerdy as a rapper and lightly noir in the mystery segment. Mike Golding ingeniously creates environmental sound effects. Larry Lindberg’s band is first-rate.

I enjoyed the focus on the women, and thought this was better than the second edition (Chapter III). For fun and gentle frivolity, you can’t beat Flower Tome Companion.

Catch the show 3/9—5:30pm, 3/10—8pm at VISTA Theater, 1296 N. Wishon Ave.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian with the Fresno County Public Library.


Jeans and Jazz
Review by Mallory Moad

Beth Megill is wearing no pants.

Any production by dance ensemble Megill & Company is full of surprises and Jeans and Jazz opened with one. Thus, the choreographer’s lack of trousers. With the assistance of cast members Kaitlyn Descautels, Karissa Smith, Erin Sofley, and Natasha Wolfe the missing garment is located and the real fun begins (with everyone fully dressed).

Megill & Company’s productions are always joyous and celebratory and Jeans and Jazz is no exception. From the dancers’ energy to the music (jazz, from classic to contemporary funk and jazz/pop), the show is uplifting and unpretentious. rogue

Jeans and Jazz is more than just a dance concert. Interspersed throughout are spoken word pieces, usually – but not always – in the form of poems read by Beth from scraps of paper found in the pockets of her once-AWOL jeans. They not only serve as commentary and illustrations, but provide another outlet for Beth’s sparkling personality.

As always, the choreography is clever and engaging. Rewind the Unwind incorporates Dave Brubeck’s “Take 5” and cool lighting effects that cast giant shadows; a folding chair becomes a hat, a canoe, a guitar and a dance partner in the Billie Holiday inspired “Life’s a Moving Walkway” and Oscar Petersen’s “Mumbles” is the accompaniment for a loose-limbed moment of pure dance craziness. Keeping with Megill & Company tradition, the show closes with a tap number that begins with the cast trading turns of four and evolves into a wild rhythm party.

Jazz and Jeans is a family-friendly show but kids who are into dance will probably enjoy it most.

Remaining performances at Cal Arts Academy, 1401 N Wishon Ave. in Fresno, are Friday, March 9 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 10 at 3:30 p.m.

Mallory Moad is a visual/performance artist, vocalist in the jazz band Scats on The Sly and a proud Central San Joaquin Valley native.


Street Magic Live
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur

Magicians have been performing for thousands of years. Street magicians were looked down upon until David Blaine burst onto the attention of the world (Well-ll-ll…..a lot of magicians still look down on David Blaine, mostly because he makes more money than they do). Take a couple of street magicians off the streets of San Francisco, put them into the Spectrum Gallery, and you have Street Magic Live at the Rogue Festival. rogue

Chase the Entertainer and Eric the Great are cheerful fellows who still exude the excitement of kids when they learned their first magic routines. Chase is a comedy magician who gets good mileage out of a simple cup-and-ball routine, and has some nice moves with a set of ropes that change size at will, sometimes when he doesn’t want them to. Eric makes coins defy gravity and conquer time and space, and his card trick will give you pause the next time you make a selection in the produce section.

It’s brisk and painless entertainment, so hurry to the Spectrum Gallery, 608 E. Olive Ave., for Street Magic Live! on 3/9—8:30pm (a guest magician is scheduled to join in the fun), 3/10—1:45pm. Shazam!

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian with the Fresno County Public Library.


Standardize This!
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur

There are certain Rogue performers that I look forward to seeing each year. The first time I saw them, I was amazed. After that, I was never disappointed. Donna Kay Yarborough is one of those people.

The Famous Haydell Sisters, Shenatra, Query the Crone: character portraits that provoked, entertained, and made me laugh. This year: Standardize This! Tales of a Medical Actor is a departure from the past, but the excitement is still there. rogue

A standardized patient is a person goes through situations and procedures with medical students as they practice bedside manner and how to do no harm, a living practice dummy. It’s a job tailor-made for an improvisational actress like Yarborough. She might be a patient receiving a diagnosis of cancer, a mother holding a computerized doll representing her struck-by-a-car child, or a nervous woman having a pelvic exam. She gets high hilarity out of the faux pas, missteps, and feet in mouth of these future physicians, but there is also another side to the show: why she does this job, the harrowing experiences she had that make quality of care important to her.

I’m glad Yarborough likes the Rogue enough to trust Fresno with her story.

Standardize This! will be at Veni Vidi Vici’s patio, 1116 N. Fulton St., 3/8 at 6 p.m. and 3/9 at 7:15 p.m.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian with the Fresno County Public Library.


State Your Name for the Record
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur

You see them in the courtrooms of movies and TV shows, and nobody pays any attention to them, until the judge asks that a statement be read back. Court reporters are people, too. This is the message of Amelia Ryan’s State Your Name for the Record.

rogueCourt reporting is a cross between shorthand and data entry, and Ryan plays a jaded former practitioner of the art (carpal tunnel syndrome was a career-ender) giving an open-house demonstration of what this legalistic art form is about. She shows how a court reporter turns words and phrases into abbreviated keystrokes, tells tales of errors (including a tragic event that became a manhunt for a lovely actress with a name that abbreviated like the fugitive, thanks to an errant pinkie-finger placement). A sample trial transcript turns into a virtual tennis match as lights designate who’s on first, and the finale is an example of the varying speeds a court reporter must master to graduate, from brisk to turbocharged motormouth.

Ryan is enthusiastic, disillusioned, frustrated, zealous, and lots of fun to watch and hear. Go see State Your Name for the Record, and you’ll never look at that intense person at the little table in front of the judge the same way, again.

State Your Name for the Record finishes its run at the VISTA Theatre, 1296 N. Wishon Ave., 3/8—7pm, 3/9—7pm, and 3/10—3:30pm.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian with the Fresno County Public Library.


Figmentally Yours
Review by Mallory Moad

“We’re creating a world with less fake news.” Eric Parthum means what he says.

Eric Parthum and Drea Lusion are the adorable duo who go by the name, Figment. Their Rogue Festival offering is the delightful, non-stop giggle fest, Figmentally Yours. Part circus, part magic act and part sugar high with a healthy dose of audience participation and playground antics, Figmentally Yours is a non-stop roller coaster ride through a writer’s imagination. The car has no brakes but who cares? Let’s go!rogue

Along this madcap adventure you will encounter wondrous things, including mysterious light bulbs, books with attitude, a very naughty chair, and invisible balls that will cause you to speak in gibberish should you be fortunate enough to catch one.

Drea and Eric are skilled performers (they are trained in dance as well as clowning and also teach this art to kids) with an expert sense of timing and unbeatable charisma. They are acrobats, comedians, and magicians. Quick-witted and constantly thinking on their feet, a couple of minor technical glitches were seamlessly incorporated into the show. With their expressive faces and Gumby-flexible bodies, they command attention and own the stage: Eric’s juggling act that becomes progressively more complex ends in a meltdown that is hilarious in its innocence while Drea’s tricky pantomime involving a book morphs into a dance that is graceful and elegant.

Figmentally Yours is a standout for a couple of other reasons. It’s one of the few shows I’ve seen in the Rogue Festival that is truly appropriate for all ages so bring the kids – they’ll love it! It would also be enjoyable for those who are hearing-impaired. Although the music and few lines of dialogue enhance the show, it is primarily a physical performance that would be just as enjoyable and charming in silence.

Remaining performances of Figmentally Yours at the California Arts Academy Severance are Sunday, March 4, 2:00 pm; Friday, Mar 9, 5:30pm and Saturday, March 10, 9:30 pm.

This show is FREE for kids under 8!

Mallory Moad is a visual/performance artist, vocalist in the jazz band Scats on The Sly and a proud Central San Joaquin Valley native.


That Kidney Show
Review by Mallory Moad

Let me make one thing clear. That Kidney Show is not a disease-of-the week medical drama. Although the subject concerns kidney transplant recipients and donors, it isn’t really about kidneys. It’s about hearts in this poignant, uplifting production..

The hearts belong to Tony and Aileen Impreatrice and That Kidney Show tells the story of how their extra-strength love was the key to their survival (both physically and emotionally) of a near-catastrophic experience. In a nutshell, Tony desperately needed a kidney and Aileen donated one of hers so he could get one that was a better match. But nothing is that simple and in That Kidney Show this personable couple shares their tales of the events, big and small, that happened along the way.rogue

Any serious illness is no laughing matter: Aileen tells of her fears of becoming a widow at the age of 34; Tony seriously worries about the possible damage in transit of his replacement kidney. But this show is not without laughs, either. Tony’s joy of eating microwave meatloaf after years of a punishingly restricted diet and Aileen’s first words in the recovery room after surgery are highlights. One of the things that impressed me about this production is the total lack of anger and self-pity. It is brimming with positive energy in the form of gratitude, affection and wonder.

Aileen is well-known as a visual artist. Her paintings serve as set pieces in the small venue. Draped at the opening of the show, they are uncovered, one at a time, to illustrate key moments in this adventure.

Some relationships don’t withstand this kind of chaos. After seeing That Kidney Show, it’s obvious that was never in the cards for Tony and Aileen. It’s not the kidney that matters most – it’s the heart.

That Kidney Show performs at Fulton Street Art, 1118 North Fulton St., Fresno. The remaining performances are Sunday, March 4 at 6:45 p.m.; Thursday, March 8 at 8:30 p.m.; and Saturday, March 10 at 6:45 p.m.

Mallory Moad is a visual/performance artist, vocalist in the jazz band Scats on The Sly and a proud Central San Joaquin Valley native.


Aim for the Heart
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur

Randy Rutherford is a hopping gnome, bouncing across life and the stage. Red-capped and lively, loaded with snippets of songs, he launches into a tale of love and PTSD, yes and no, will and won’t, trust and fear, Aim for the Heart.

Sometimes he plays the guitar and sings, sometimes he just sings, and mostly he talks, introducing the audience to the deep-tissue masseuse he loved, and all the things he did wrong. Even when he says the right things for the right reasons, it brings disaster. Of course, it isn’t really his fault. She had a life that nobody should have to survive.

rogue

Randy Rutherford

It’s told with humor and self-deprecation, but it’s not for children. It’s about adults, and they do things adults do. They also do childish things, but that’s what adults do, too. At the Rogue, when someone does a personal show about their great love, chances are it’s going to end badly.

Check out his performer preview article here in KRL.

Aim for the Heart finishes its run at the Revue, 620 E. Olive Ave., 3/3—3:30pm, 3/4–5pm, 3/9—7pm, 3/10—5pm


Walking While Black in Moscow
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur

Les Kurkendaal has convulsed Rogue audiences for several years, telling of encounters with his white boyfriend’s family in Bakersfield. He didn’t Rogue last year, but he’s back with a new boyfriend and a new show, Walking While Black in Moscow.

The main reason he went to Moscow with his boyfriend, despite all the warnings that Russia was a bad place for a gay African-American, was so he could get material for another Rogue show. It was an experience that started badly at Moscow customs, and took him on to adventures in Red Square, museums, Lenin’s Tomb, the Metro subway system, gay clubs, and St. Petersburg.

rogue

Les Kurkendaal

Les is not prepared for how he is treated in the Russian capital. In fact, he started to enjoy it, after being perplexed. However, his discussions with gays in Russia caused him to compare America’s treatment of other lifestyles with attitudes of the past.

Whenever you see a Les Kurkendaal show, you learn something. It may be about how weird people are in Bakersfield, or about Alzheimer’s, or the differences between Russia and the United States.

If you see this show, you’ll be walking while laughing in [Your City’s Name Here].

Walking While Black in Moscow continues at the Revue, 620 E. Olive Ave., 3/3—6:30pm, 3/4—2pm, 3/9—5:30pm, 3/10—8pm.


Two for the Road & Bring It On Down to My House
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur

Donn Beedle and Karana Hattersley-Drayton are half of Pipe on the Hob, purveyors of high-grade Celtic music. When it’s just Donn and Karana out to perform, this dynamic duo is known as Two for the Road, and the 17th annual Rogue Festival has them.

The fun thing about Two for the Road’s show, Bring It On Down to My House, is that whatever they like to play, that’s what they’ll play. It could be Scottish ballads or Irish jigs, blues or bluegrass, country or rock-and-roll, but they’ll play the daylights out of them. Donn skates his bow over the strings of fiddle and viola, while Karana provides a bouncy bass line on the electric keyboard. She also sings, with a range that goes from down and dirty to “Cover Fido’s ears, Martha,” swoops and slides that match Donn’s bowing. The music of Bob Wills and Odetta can share the same set with The Grateful Dead and the Everly Brothers (cranked up to bluegrass level).

Two for the Road finishes the Rogue with performances 3/3—4:15pm, 3/9—6pm, 3/10, 8pm at the Spectrum Gallery, 608 E. Olive Ave.

Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian with the Fresno County Public Library.

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