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Rogue Reviews 2017

IN THE March 4 ISSUE

FROM THE 2017 Articles,
andArts & Entertainment,
andLorie Lewis Ham,
andMallory Moad,
andMusic,
andTerrance V. Mc Arthur,
andTheatre
SECTIONS

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

muse 2017Throughout 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 preview 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 Joy Compactor, Tidal Surge, Dances to Heal the Soul, Poetry and Prose From Fresno State, Too Old To Be This Young, Delirium, The Magic of Elder, Discrete Packets of Song, My Cat Thinks It’s A Pig, The Wallaby Way, Joan of Sn’arc, Moonlight After Midnight, A Fatal Step, Thanks For Coming, Healing Stories, Chelsea > Blake, Stalking Grace, Chop! Chop! Charlie’s Basement Party! A Miserable Comedy, Daddy Issues, Boxcar Figaro, Entertain Me, The Sh*t Show: A Story of Invisible Illness, Me, My Song, And I, Start Your Own Religious Cult for Fun and Profit, Query the Crone, and Somebody’s Children.

You can purchase tickets to all of these shows at the door or online: www.roguefestival.com and find the schedule & program for this year’s festival.

Somebody’s Children
Review by Mallory Moad

A television show, Aquanet hairspray, a baseball glove. These seemingly insignificant things take on deeper meanings in the Shine! Theatre production of Jose Casas play, Somebody’s Children.

This is the story of five young people who, for reasons beyond their control, are living in a seedy motel in Anaheim with their (sometimes broken) families. It is a brutally truthful commentary on disenfranchised youth. In this combination of vignettes and spoken word, they speak of memories left “ten miles down the road and a lifetime ago” and of a life that has required them to grow up too fast. They live “in the shadow of the happiest place on earth,” and Disneyland becomes a symbol of both oppression and opportunity.rogue

The strength of this ensemble piece is in its cast, all of whom are students from various local high schools. Their energy and precision prevent the somewhat heavy subject from becoming depressing. Melea Murdock’s eyes reveal her sadness for coming-of-age rituals that will never be experienced in “Quinceanera.” In “Theo Huxtable,” Ebon Christian is angry and questioning in a monologue in which he berates television for portraying families in an unrealistic way, then confessing his desire to live in that world. Daelyn Turner is both hopeful and heartbreaking in “La Luna y El Sol.” Arabella Howard takes us from anticipation to loss in “Band-Aid Lady,” as she relates the story of the social worker who is a light in her dark world. Nichold Spate radiates confidence and believability in “If I Ruled The World.”

The set for Somebody’s Children makes effective use of the small space, its simplicity and starkness a reflection of the lives of the characters. Projected images serve as illustrations and a stack of crates is used in a number of creative ways, including seats on a bus and a television.

In addition to being an exploration of an almost-invisible segment of society, “Somebody’s Children” is also a testament to the resiliency of young people. In the finale, “Tomorrow” we see the five friends looking ahead with hope for a better life, with the belief that it can be achieved.

Somebody’s Children performs at:
Vista Theater
1296 North Wishon Ave.
Fresno
Remaining performances are:
Friday, March 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 at 2 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.


Query the Crone
Review by Terrance McArthur

Donna Kay Yarbrough amazes me. She became a recovering country singer with anger issues for “The Fabulous Haydell Sisters,” she became Frank Sinatra trapped in a female body in Shenatra, and now…..Query the Crone.

rogueIt’s more an interactive performance artist’s installation than the average Rogue show. You sit at the campfire of a 1920’s Appalachian witcher-woman, healer, or conjure-woman named Rosemary Conley. She talks to the people who come to her home, asking about this woman’s family, complimenting that man on being sober. Rosemary cuts, shaves, and crushes plant materials to make her charms and folk remedies, all while telling tales and singing back-country ballads.

The true magic here isn’t the herbal concoctions, it’s seeing the character emerge: the unvarnished face, the intense gaze, the acceptance of fundamentalist religion and white witchery as existing together, superstitious tales of demons and congregations, and the mournful ballad of Lindabelle that resonates through the valley where you have been transported. Fresno gets to be the tryout venue for Query the Crone, and we are lucky to be present at a birth that is not premature, but is full-term and already walking on its own.

Query the Crone performs at:
Fulton Street Art
1118 N Fulton St.
Fresno,
Remaining performances are:
Friday, March 10 at 6 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 at 6:45 p.m.

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


Me, My Song, And I
Review by Terrance McArthur

Malcolm Grissom doesn’t look black…but he is, and a lot of other things, too. As a child, he nearly died from Reye’s Syndrome, associated with treating a viral infection with aspirin. Because of his brain damage, he was not expected to walk or talk. Instead, he is now a stand-up comic, bringing his story and wit to the Rogue in his one-man show, Me, My Song, & I at Mia Cuppa.rogue

Sometimes, words have trouble getting out from Grissom’s mouth, but the words that do deserve attention. His friends left him because he became different. A cute girl learned to see past his infirmities and treat him as a person. His dreams and goals were belittled by others, and there were setbacks along the way. In other words, Malcolm Grissom is just like the rest of us.

He listens to his Inner Wizard, who sends him on his way to becoming all he could become, and helps him find his ‘Laughing Song,’ the part of him that is funny and can connect with others as an entertainer. He learns to fight the negative instincts that tell him he’s not as good as most people. I mean, Malcolm Grissom is just like the rest of us.

Don’t be put off by the way he looks, the way he acts, or the way he talks. Malcolm Grissom is just like the rest of us…maybe better.

Me, My Song, And I is at:
Mia Cuppa Caffe
620 East Olive
Fresno
Remaining performances are:
Friday, March 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 at 8 p.m.

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


Start Your Own Religious Cult for Fun and Profit
Review by Terrance McArthur

Jaguar Bennett looks like a medieval monk gone to seed, a distant cousin of Uncle Fester Addams, and a bookkeeper in the service of Satan…but we like him. He has spent Rogue seasons teaching the unsuspecting the wily ways advertising manipulates us and how being evil is much more productive and desirable than attempting to achieve goodness. For 2017, Jaguar combines them with evil glee in Start Your Own Religious Cult for Fun and Profit.

rogue

Jaguar Bennnett

Because it can take a long time to rise to a position of authority in a religious organization, Bennett encourages the audience to follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther, Joseph Smith, and L. Ron Hubbard—start your own religion. Jaguar did it in his youth, but could never get any converts. At the Rogue Festival, he shows how to avoid his mistakes.

As an incentive, Jaguar describes the perks of setting yourself up as a guru, high priest, prophet, or God (demi or otherwise): obedient followers, money, and unlimited sex with underage girls. It’s all appalling, offensive, revolting fun, as he forces you to examine your own belief systems and defend or re-evaluate what you believe. He makes you think. That’s where change begins.

Start Your Own Religious Cult for Fun and Profit meets in the tent area (Could this be considered a tent revival?) on the patio behind Veni Vidi Vici, 1116 N. Fulton Street, with final performances on March 10 at 7:15 p.m. and March 11 at 8 p.m. Learn to earn.

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


The Sh*t Show: A Story of Invisible Illness
Review by Terrance McArthur

Crohn’s disease—a chronic (never goes away), autoimmune inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
Anna Sell—a feisty, clown-inspired entertainer with Crohn’s.

The Sh*t Show: A Story of Invisible Illness
—a fantastic journey into a world of intestinal warfare and poop, guided by a master of physical acting, interactive scenery, and puppetry.

Anna Sell was diagnosed with Crohn’s at the age of 21, sending her into a battle with her own body. She chronicles the struggle with journal entries, an informative lecture from a puppet, the food hierarchy she has learned to use, and a display of soiled clothing (recreated, not actually poop-coated). Poop is a major part of her life. With Crohn’s, it can be set off by many factors, from food to stress, and she learned to deal with it.rogue

Medical-problem-based Rogue shows can be numbing, boring pity-parties, but Sell breezes through it all with a fighting spirit and clown shoes. Her depiction of the screaming horror inside her at the time of diagnosis and the dispassionate expression she showed the doctor rings true to anyone who has dealt with autoimmune diseases. In fact, it cuts so close to the bone that some people can’t take it.

The subject matter makes The Sh*t Show a show for mature audiences, yet it is played with a childlike innocence and a will to survive. Go see it.

The Sh*t Show is at:
Fresno Soap Co.
1470 N. Van Ness Ave.
Fresno
Remaining performances are:
Friday, March 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 at 3:30 p.m.

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


Chop! Chop! Charlie’s Basement Party! A Miserable Comedy
Review by Terrance McArthur

Chop !Chop! Charlie’s Basement Party! A Miserable Comedy
puts a kidnapping victim in a basement with a serial killer who nonchalantly chews on the dismembered body parts that pile up on the stage, and that’s entertainment?

Believe it or not, yeah…especially when Chop-Chop Charlie (Ron Statler) thinks of himself as the normal, but cannibalistic, one in the conversation with his intended victim, Mike (Albee Sanchez). Charlie takes offense at the words his future dining companion—the main course, actually—uses to describe him, as he is sensitive about his weight, intelligence, and living with his ditsy-and sexually-predatory mother (Charlene Cano). Then there’s the homeless guy (Matthew Higley) hiding in the house and a serial-killer groupie (A. Elizabeth Neal) who doesn’t see why Mike wants to escape. Oh, and there’s a policeman (Joey Grayvill) who doesn’t add to the reputation of the force.CHOP! CHOP! POSTER PNG

Sanchez fights a losing battle as he tries to use the rational mind in a bizarre situation. Statler is the serial killer next door, a really nice guy with a fixation on axes. Neal is seriously deluded as she tries to seduce her captor. Higley is the unwanted sidekick of Charlie’s Blue Plate Special, an expert in blending into the woodwork.

This show is revolting, outrageous, horrifying, and lots of fun. Don’t try to keep track of how much profanity is used. Don’t bring the kiddies. If you measure your theatrical enjoyment by the amount of carnage on the stage, this is even better than a Shakespearean tragedy.

Chop! Chop! Charlie’s Basement Party plays at the Fresno Soap Co., 1470 N. Van Ness Avenue, with final performances on March 9 at 8 p.m. and March 11 at 2 p.m.

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


Daddy Issues
Review by Terrance McArthur

You’re twisted, you’re pulled, you’re dragged…but you’re never let go.

That’s what it’s like to watch Peter Aguero in Daddy Issues, his Rogue show at the VISTA Theatre—formerly The Voice Shop, 1296 N. Wishon Ave. Aguero is a big guy, but he sometimes enlarges to eight feet tall, his image of his father, an image it took time and distance to erase.

rogueNow a host of The Moth, Aguero grew up with a disturbed father who never escaped his demons. The father would tell horrifying stories that never happened, and Peter’s mind turned them into truth, and he pulls the same trick on us. His commanding voice and subtle slides through time keep listeners on edge, following his narrative, hoping for final redemption, fearing they’ll reach final reality.

The Rogue Festival thrives on “I had a miserable childhood” stories and tales of “the horrible thing that has made me stronger,” and Daddy Issues combines the two themes into a powerful mix of New Jersey and Hell, with a soundtrack by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Daddy Issues performs at:
Vista Theater
1296 North Wishon Ave.
Fresno
Final performances are:
March 9 at 8 p.m.
March 11 at 5 p.m.

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


Boxcar Figaro
Review by Terrance McArthur

Victor DesRoche is back, he brought Boxcar Figaro with him, and he’s electrified!

Victor usually goes forth to entertain, wisely smiling behind an acoustic guitar. This year, the guitar is electric, and the music shocks the soul. The music ranges from original to traditional, to “they’re covering THAT?” moments where pop hits become humanized.

The music is great, but what draws me to Boxcar Figaro is the wry little observations and stories Victor delivers while the rest of the band waits patiently. He doesn’t deliver punchlines as much as he reels the audience in with realizations of “I never thought of iroguet that way before, but isn’t that the truth?” Where else would you hear discussions of atheists at funerals?

Mike Witten and Sam Garner play guitars behind Victor. Wrapped into a Rube Goldberg drum set contraption that twists his foot pedal into striking the box seat on which he sits, Don Priest—who is also part of the Flower Tome Companion ensemble—keeps time with a small washboard.

Call the music folk, Americana roots, or seriously cool, it matches with the spoken interludes.

DesRoche and Boxcar play their Rogue shows on the patio behind Veni Vidi Vici 1116 N. Fulton Ave.
Final performances are on March 9 at 8:30 p.m. and March 10 at 6 p.m.

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


Entertain Me
Review by Terrance McArthur

Last year, Windy Wynazz hit the Rogue Festival with Rich & Famous, which resembled the old Gilda Radner sketches of the little girl playing in her bedroom, frenetically creating shows that coated self-entertainment with her perception of the world.

She’s back, and she brought a friend.rogue

In Entertain Me, Windy creates a student of her whimsy (Michelle Machete), and the two of them do their utmost to skewer most showbiz conventions. There are rubber chickens, puppets, Gone With the Wind references, pig heads, sexy kitchen tools, inappropriate touching, balloon animals, lap dancing, flashy scenery, and costumes, costumes, costumes. Around this all, Windy is jealous of any attention her apprentice gets, demeaning her and undermining her.

Wynazz has the glare and chin-jut of Carol Burnett, while Machete hovers between Harley Quinn and Sissy Spacek in Carrie. Windy is intense and determined to get attention, but Michelle has a wide-eyed acceptance of acclaim that showers upon her from the heavens.

This experiment in stream-of-consciousness takes over the vest-pocket-sized stage of the Fresno Soap Company, 1470 N. Van Ness Avenue, with final performances at 6:30 p.m. on March 9 and 11.

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


Stalking Grace
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham

Barbara Selfridge returns to the Rogue Festival this year with a perfect show for any fan of literature or activism. She draws from her time as the personal assistant of Grace Paley for this show. Grace was an American short story writer, poet, teacher, and political activist. Barbara brings these stories to life for her audience playing all of the characters in this one-woman show–varying her accent and mannerisms to fit each character. Most of the show takes place at the time when Grace was struggling to write her first non-fiction book.

rogueThroughout the show, Barbara keeps saying that she is more like another wife to Grace than a personal assistant, providing her with the kind of support a wife would give a husband and that only a woman knows how to give–helping Grace in ways her fellow writer husband doesn’t seem to be able to do. This puts her in the midst of an unusual sort of triangle, and sometimes makes her feel like a stalker. Barbara not only has to help keep Grace on track with her writing, but also has to deflect the jealous comments and actions of Grace’s husband.

Stalking Grace sheds light on the world and thoughts of a famous writer and activist. It is funny, sweet, and informative. I highly recommend checking out this unique show and the tickets are only $5. It is rated PG-13 for some language.

Stalking Grace performs at:
the Spectrum Art Gallery
608 East Olive Ave.
Fresno.
The remaining performances are:
Friday, March 10 at 6 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 at 4:15 p.m.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic 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.


Thanks For Coming
Review by Lorie Ham

I have known local actor/writer/producer Joshua Taylor for a few years but have never been able to see one of his shows, so I was excited to get to see this one.

Thanks For Coming is a very unique show and it is pretty much a show within a show. We start off with the show itself which is about a gay couple trying to have a baby. The first few minutes are very much for adults only as we get to see the one character try to give sperm at a sperm bank, and when he returns home there is a sex scene between the couple (both characters played by Joshua of course). The sperm bank scene also introduces two other very funny and unusual characters in the waiting room. Oh and we mustn’t forget the quest for the perfect chorizo.rogue

But soon we begin to be taken out of the show, and learn that we are actually watching Joshua rehearse his show for the Rogue Festival. From that point on he is constantly interrupted by disembodied voices that we can assume are probably the voices in his own head-voices that are taunting him, challenging him, and giving voice to his own insecurities as an artist. Joshua does an amazing job of playing the very eclectic mix of characters, using mannerisms and changes in his voice to bring each one to life (the voices in his head are recorded by other local actors). We do get to see both stories through to the end which is nice.

Either of these stories could be taken separately and enjoyed–but together they are even better. Not only does Joshua do an amazing job playing each role (including playing himself), but he has written a crazy, hilariously funny, but at times very sweet and somewhat wonderfully twisted story (the characters include a drug dealing old woman and a bald eagle!).

If he can put together shows like this in his early 20s, I can’t wait to see what he can do as he continues to grow as a performer and a person.

I highly recommend this show, but keep in mind it is adults only.

Thanks For Coming is at:
California Arts Academy
1401 N. Wishon Ave.
Fresno.
Remaining performances are:
Thursday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 at 8 p.m.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic 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.


Healing Stories
Review by Mallory Moad

When we hear the word, “healing” I think most of us picture something physical that needs to be fixed in some way. And the result, if not life-saving, can certainly be life-changing.

The Affordable Care Act Players is made up of a group of healthcare workers in the field of pediatrics – doctors, nurses and aides — who have provided plenty of healing, some for a longer time than others. But they have also found themselves on the receiving end as well. In Healing Stories, which was inspired by the Moth Radio Hour, they tell original, true stories about personal experiences that have motivated, educated, influenced and healed them.

rogueTheir stories are emotional, charming, funny, and most of all, told from the heart. The memory of a loving father, who believed anything could be cured with aloe vera and a lie-down in front of the box fan, led Rebecca Roach to pursue a degree in medicine. Hutch explained how his standard textbook-issued belief in the care of severely disabled children was challenged by the love shown by the families of those children. Emily Bahne shared a tale of her wild and crazy journey to Juarez, Mexico to visit a former patient with whom she had become friends. This delightful show even included a band, The Kid Docs, that played a humorous and clever song about vaccines and a weirdly joyous cover of the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated.”

The spirit of this production goes back to the roots of the very first Rogue Festival. Like the majority of the participants sixteen years ago, these are not professional actors or performers who make their living working the fringe festival circuit. They are enthusiastic, talented people who believe they have something worthwhile to say, an entertaining way in which to say it, and the motivation and guts it takes to get up in front of an audience and make it happen. I am happy to say these caregivers can now proudly call themselves storytellers.

Due to work schedules, the cast of Healing Stories varies. You may not see the exact same show I have reviewed here, but I’m sure you’ll find it enjoyable.

Healing Stories performs at:
Spectrum Gallery
608 E Olive Ave
Fresno
Remaining performances are:
Saturday, March 11 at 6:45

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


Chelsea > Blake
Review by Mallory Moad

“That’s my lesser known sidekick, Blake Jones.” This is how singer-songwriter, Chelsea Jones introduced her singer-songwriter dad in their collaborative production, Chelsea > Blake.

While this isn’t the first time the Joneses have appeared together in the Rogue Festival, it is the first time they have appeared in a show in which they share top billing and/or is one-hundred per cent music. In this production, they are joined by Jeff Bowman on steel drums and Terry Barnes on vocals and acoustic guitar.

rogueOn a scale of one to ten, Blake Jones’s creativity goes to 11. His original songs may have a sound that shows the influence of such early pop bands as The Beatles and The Beach Boys, but the lyrics come from within his heart. The bouncy “Andy Story” is a sweet story about the antics of an old friend. Jones isn’t afraid to tackle subjects that aren’t so cheerful, either;: “And The Ghost Ship Sailed On” is a moving homage to the young victims of the horrific fire at the Ghost Ship art space in Oakland. The theremin (go ahead and Google it) makes an appearance in two unusual cover arrangements. Accompanied by Bowman, the normally somber sounding Chopin’s Prelude in E-Minor becomes beautifully bare and spooky, while that old rocking surf standard, “Miserlou” takes on a oddly delicate quality.

That proverbial apple doesn’t fall far from the tree here and Chelsea Jones is proving to be an impressive songwriter and strong performer. Her style, which differs significantly from her father’s, might be described as “indie rock” but I prefer “her own.” In Chelsea > Blake, she performs three original compositions. The writing is tough, with dark messages buried in metaphors; the musical accompaniment spare and driving. She takes her voice, reminiscent of Bjork, from a fragile whisper to an angry grrl-power wail. Throw in a sly sense of humor and you’ve got a force to be reckoned with.

Dedicating the closing song, Jonathan Richman’s “Little Dinosaur” to her dad (who’s “kind of old, scaly and possibly in a state of fossilization”), Chelsea Jones leads the ensemble in a finale that gives Blake Jones the opportunity to play dress-up and the audience one more time to appreciate the talent and affection of this dynamic musical duo.

Chelsea > Blake performs at:
Veni Vidi Vici
1116 N Fulton St.
Fresno
Remaining performances are:
Saturday, March 11 at 3 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.


My Cat Thinks It’s A Pig
Review by Mallory Moad

Myque Franz,of Grand Salto Theater (and reigning pig wrestling champion of Buchanan County, Iowa) is cute and goofy and can talk like a pig. He tells a good story, too.

In his one-man performance, My Cat Thinks It’s A Pig, Franz regales us with comical but true tales that begin with life on an Iowa farm and include stops in Boston, Humboldt County and Bali. The audience is introduced to hippies, vegan werewolves, an opinionated trumpet teacher and one or two swine.

While he isn’t a stand-up comedian, Franz is a funny guy. His technique is simple: no props, screaming or blue language. Instead, he relies on a descriptive narrative that is very effective. I could picture 10-year-old Myque, covered in mud and wrestling a pig at the Buchanan County fair, and the look of contempt on his father’s face when confronted with the destruction caused by marauding raccoons.

rogue

Myque Franz

My Cat Thinks It’s A Pig is hilariously informative. Franz explains the benefits of playing trumpet for pigs, science facts about hay, Balinese cultural practices and the real cause of rainstorms in the Midwestern U.S. There’s no tragedy here – Franz uses coded language to explain deer hunting to his hippie friends, not to mock them but to prevent a traumatic experience; a cat named Little Wildfire survives a fall from a moving truck to be psychologically transformed.

If you’re looking for a show that is clean but still as fun as a barrel of monkeys, My Cat Thinks It’s A Pig fits the bill. And with a little practice, you might be able to talk like a pig, too.

My Cat Thinks It’s A Pig performs at:
Vista Theater
1296 North Wishon Ave.
Fresno
Remaining performances are:
Friday, March 10 at 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 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 Wallaby Way
Review by Mallory Moad

Gemma Wilcox has a wallaby in her heart. That isn’t the only thing that resides there, or the only body part featured, in the one woman production, The Wallaby Way.

This is a total theater experience, starting the minute the audience enters the performance space. The sound of wild birds fills the room. The dramatically lit stage is set simply with a large dry erase board draped with vivid red twine that also trails over the floor and ends up in several piles. Unlike other Rogue shows, there is no introduction by a staff person to interrupt the ambiance.

Inspired by time spent living on an island off the coast of Tasmania, Wilcox uses her unique style of physical theatre to explore maternal lineage, relationships, dark chocolate, and the threads that lead her through this life-changing journey. In another performer’s hands, presenting this kind of subject matter could become maudlin but Wilcox doesn’t go there. Incorporating lighter moments, she teaches the audience how to draw a labyrinth by illustrating the directions on her bare stomach and uses dolls and diagrams to explain family ties. rogue

Wilcox has participated in the Rogue Festival for eight years and is known for playing a multitude–as many as twenty–characters in one show. She employs that technique once again here, although the size of the cast is much smaller. Using her voice and body, she becomes a dentist, girlfriend, groundskeeper, bird, butterfly and her own grandmother. In a simple but effective costume, she’s a wallaby who serves as a kind of Greek chorus, silently commenting on the proceedings. All that red twine plays multiple roles as well. It’s a trail, a pair of headphones, a tightrope, a spider’s web and a metaphor for a variety of connections.

With impeccable timing and skill, and ingratiating warmth, Wilcox will take you along on a journey that is both familiar and foreign. Perhaps you will be left with gratitude for the opportunity to have met the wallaby that lives in her heart.

The Wallaby Way is at:
California Arts Academy
1401 N. Wishon Ave.
Fresno
Remaining performances are:
Thursday, March 9 at 9:30 p.m.
Friday, March 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 at 3:30

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


Joan of Sn’arc
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham

Claire Patton is back this year with a new show that provides a scathing commentary on the state of our country right now–Joan of Sn’arc.

rogueJoan is a feminist and comedian with a very George Washington time period style white wig. She also has a little friend called “Little Joan,” who has a wig of her own. The basis of the comedy is Joan’s frustration with a “corporation” that has become president-Acme Corp–starting with when Acme first ran and everyone thought he/they couldn’t possibly win. Within this show Joan shares the frustrations that many of us have felt since a certain big businessman has become President of the United States and the struggles we have had trying to make a difference during all of this. While some of the fears Joan has about Acme’s Presidency are blown a little out of proportion for the sake of comedy–they are still very relatable (at least we “hope” they are exaggerated.) It was nice to be able to laugh about all of this. Joan’s comedy timing is perfect, and the show was absolutely hilarious!

The show is for adults only and it is not a show for conservatives unless they are also able to see the comedy in all of this. If you are like minded, this is a perfect show for you! Joan of Sn’arc is political satire at its best.

Joan of Sn’arc is at:
California Arts Academy
1401 N. Wishon Ave.
Fresno
Remaining performances are:
Friday, March 10 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 at 2 and 6:30 p.m.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic 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.


Moonlight After Midnight
Review by Lorie Ham

A Martin Dockery show is always a sure thing, but Moonlight After Midnight absolutely blew me away! This show was written by Martin, and the two characters are played by Martin Dockery and Vanessa Quesnelle.

rogueThe plot of this show involves a man and a woman who meet up in a hotel room and do a bit of romantic role-playing. To say anything more than that would give too much away. This story kind of wraps around itself and is very intricately written. It is a love story, and a tragedy. It is sad, funny, and beautiful. The chemistry between Martin and Vanessa is perfect and their acting draws you in and has you on the edge of your seat. This show takes you out of yourself and demands your full attention from beginning to end. As an added bonus, Vanessa sings and she has an amazing voice.

There was a line to get in so get there early–but get there! It is well worth the long trek to Dianna’s Studio of Dance. Martin also has a solo show, Delirium. Check out our review of that show also in this post.

Remaining performances are at:
Dianna’s Studio of Dance
826 North Fulton Street
Fresno
Remaining performances are:
Friday, March 10 at 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 at 5 p.m.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic 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.


A Fatal Step
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham

I love anything mystery and am a fan of the old noir detective movies and radio shows, so when I saw the description of this show I knew I had to be there. A Fatal Step is a one-woman noir about sex, lies, and podiatry.

In A Fatal Step, Jill Vice plays Sarah who has everything she has ever wanted, including the man of her dreams who happens to be a podiatrist. However, he hasn’t been paying her as much attention lately and she thinks it is because he wants more from his career. So she sets out to fix things by “guiding” him to a perfect career move, but when she introduces him to the meek, mousy, and saintly Hope everything starts to go wrong–and might even lead to murder! rogue

Jill is sultry and sexy as the beautiful Sarah, dressed to femme fatale perfection in her tight red dress and with her lovely long dark hair. She fills the roll of noir femme fatale so perfectly that I half expected Humphrey Bogart to walk out on the stage, and yet with a switch of voice, attitude and mannerisms, she can convincingly play her boyfriend Frank, mild mannered Hope, Frank’s mom Mona, a magazine photographer, and a stoned Uber driver. Her acting skills are perfection. You will laugh, you will smile, you will even find yourself rooting for Sarah, despite her narrow, self-centered view on life.

This show was wonderful! I will definitely put Jill’s shows on the top of my Rogue list of shows to see every year now! If you haven’t seen it, don’t miss it! Especially if you love mystery and noir like I do.

A Fatal Step performs at:
Mia Cuppa Caffe
620 East Olive Ave.
Fresno.
The remaining performances are:
Thursday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m.
Friday, March 10 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 at 2 p.m.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic 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.


Discrete Packets of Song
Review by Terrance McArthur

Aaron Shay toured the multiverse and the Rogue Festival in 2016’s science-fiction-themed Apocalypse Songs. This year, he presents a less-specific program of Discrete Packets of Song at the Spectrum Gallery, 608 E. Olive Ave.

rogueThis Puckish entertainer looks at the world from an off-centered viewpoint, like a representative from another space and time. He looks at where love goes when it’s gone, the reality of Death, and whose meaning is the one that matters. You don’t need a graduate degree, but you do need to be prepared to sing along. With guitar, ukulele, banjo, and friend/musician Strangely (Aaron and Strangely cross-pollinate each other’s shows), Discrete Packets of Song, he leads the audience off into the hinterlands of the mind, and they go willingly.

Shay is thin and inviting, comforting and provocative, unthreatening and possessed of a watch-this grin, sporting a beardlet and a cap, part of the Rogue’s Northwestern Invasion, he travels down from Seattle to get out of the rain, just in time for Fresno’s mini-monsoon.

Discrete Packets of Song continues its run
Thursday, March 9, at 6 p.m.
Saturday, March 11, at 8 p.m.
at Spectrum Gallery, 608 E Olive Ave, Fresno.

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


The Magic of Elder
Review by Mallory Moad

Have you lost a precious personal item, perhaps a ring? You might try looking in the next vending machine you happen to see, especially if you’ve recently spent time with magician Kyle Elder.

rogueIn The Magic of Elder, the illusions are standard sleight-of-hand and mind-reading, but with a fun twist that makes them unique. The order of a deck of cards is mysteriously re-arranged in a transparent glass. That card you picked doesn’t show up in your pocket or get pulled from your ear; it’s skewered on a sword as it flies through the air. A missing ring…well, you already know. An especially mind-bending trick involves a pair of Rubik’s Cubes.

Elder uses no gimmickry, no machines, levitation tables, or live animals. He doesn’t waste time with cheap jokes or insult humor. Instead, he relies on his personable, relaxed demeanor, and polished skills. Speaking of which, maybe you should leave your jewelry at home…

Although this show is family friendly, small children might get restless. Kids over the age of 9 should be OK, however.

The Magic of Elder performs at Spectrum Gallery, 608 E Olive Ave, Fresno.
Remaining performances are:
Thursday, March 9 at 8:30 p.m.
Friday, March 10 at 8:30 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.


Poetry and Prose From Fresno State
Review by Destiney Warren

One of the things I was most excited for this year at the Rogue Festival was hearing the students from Fresno State’s MFA Creative Writing program read some of the things they’ve been working on. I was not disappointed. The four readers from the first Friday night were a diverse group with works ranging from an excerpt from an essay about a Fresno State football game to the ending of a short story about a supernatural experience. All the readers were part of the San Joaquin Literary Association (SJLA for short).

rogueMatt Kenerly was the lucky chosen one to begin, and his excerpt (about a trip across country to see Fresno State vs. Nebraska) was my boyfriend’s favorite. While I am not a huge sports fan, somehow Matt managed to make football relatable to everyone. Mary Pickett was up next and she chose to read the last few pages of a story she was working on about a girl who sees ghosts-and one actually tries to talk to her. When SJLA’s president laughingly said that she believes in ghosts after, Mary said “Me too!” Putting her hand into the air for affect. Gillian Hensley read next, with an excerpt from a creative non-fiction piece about a solo hiking/camping trip. Gillian spoke almost poetically, with her piece speaking on not only our fears of being alone but also the fear that women cannot protect themselves. Finally, (my favorite of the night) Eddie P. Gomez was last to read. As he went up to the podium, his unassuming manner and informal way of reading belied his obvious talent. His story about his trip to Spain and his experiences with a homeless man there was funny, sad, and touching all at once.

While I was already excited to see this show, after the first night I know I will be back to see more. You should definitely put this on your list. The next shows are Sunday, March 5 at 3 p.m. with readings Jack Choover, Erica Hughes, Gloria Montez and Tara Williams, Friday, March 10 at 7:15 p.m. with Krystal Cantú, Jackie Huertaz, Arielle Jones, and Arthur Morales reading. The last show is Saturday, March 11 at 1:45 p.m. with readings from Linnea Alexander, Rebecca Flores, Beth Linda Carr, and Dani Potter.

All shows are at Spectrum Art Gallery, 608 E Olive Ave. Tickets are $5+ a $3 wristband required for all Rogue Festival shows (you only have to buy the wristband once). You can buy the tickets online or at the door with space being limited.


Too Old To Be This Young
Review by Destiney Warren

Laura Hedli is about as unassuming as they come. Her big smile and self-deprecating humor instantly puts you at home. Her show mixes acting and storytelling with a personal and conversational approach. The whole time she was acting, it was like she was just having a conversation and telling you a story.

rogue
The show itself was funny while all the while tearing at your heartstrings. We follow Laura as she tells about her experiences in New York working at an endocrinologist-and if you don’t know what that’s all about never fear, she explains in great detail. Her fluid ability to switch between the narrator, her boss and her coworker shows her acting talent while her commentary on what it’s like to be a 26-year-old virgin leaves you both laughing and wanting to hug her at the same time.

This show is definitely not one to take children to but if you’re looking for something to laugh/cry with your girlfriends then this is perfect. I made my boyfriend go to it with me and he couldn’t stop laughing so it’s great for everyone. The next shows are Sunday, March 5 at 6:45 p.m., and Saturday March 11 at 4:15 p.m. Both shows are at Fulton Street Art, 620 E Olive Avenue. Tickets are $5 after a one-time purchase of a wristband that is $3.

Destiney Warren is a Senior at Fresno State studying English Literature and Creative Writing. She likes watching Netflix and sleeping.


Delirium
Review by Mallory Moad

OK, I’ll admit it. When Martin Dockery took the stage, I didn’t think I was going to like his show. To say I’m not a fan of a frenetic style of performance is an understatement and he came on like gangbusters. What had I gotten myself into?

Within five minutes I realized my first impressions were wrong. Dockery is definitely animated and energetic, but the frenzy ends there. Delirium is a collection of three stories that explore the conflicting definitions of that word. There are stories within stories but the original narrative is never lost. I had been won over and sucked in.rogue

Dockery is a skilled writer and performer and his work is multilayered. With his loose-limbed body and expressive face, he shifts effortlessly from hilarity to heartbreak. He takes the audience close to the height of insanity, then pulls them back to a level of sincerity. The exasperation of losing sight of his non-US resident girlfriend in the airport moves to the subject of immigration officials, love and marriage, Red Hat Ladies, and arrives at a happy ending. Through the voice of a second character, a riotous tale of an experience at the Burning Man Festival comes to an unexpected conclusion. The show closes with a beautiful story about Monarch butterflies which becomes (in true Martin Dockery fashion) a metaphor for life, rewarding the audience with a positive message and a soft landing to this madcap, heartfelt ride.

Delirium is rated PG and although this show contains no “adult” language or sexual references it might be too sophisticated for kids under the age of 15 to appreciate.

Performances are at:
Dianna’s Studio of Dance
826 N Fulton St, Fresno
March 5 at 6:30 p.m.
March 10 at 5 p.m.
March 11 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.


Megill & Company’s Dances to Heal the Soul
Review by Mallory Moad

Megill & Company’s Dances to Heal the Soul is an exploration and interpretation of recovery, and provides us with just the right remedy.

The eleven dances that make up this presentation provoke a range of emotional responses without being manipulative. The opening piece, “Dance of Clarity” has a tribal feel. Set to music by Atoms for Peace, the dancers move with determination and strength. Wearing simple tunics in earthy colors, they are centered and grounded. In contrast, “Dance of Healing” is soothing. The four female dancers’ steps are graceful and flowing. The colors and fabric of their simple garments and music by Bobby McFerrin accentuate the comforting feel of this piece.rogue

One of company director/choreographer/dancer Beth Megill’s signatures is her use of humor. “Dance of Disagreement and Conflict Resolution” is a whimsical story of the battle of the sexes that has a happy ending. In a solo performance, “Dance of Transition,” Megill is adorable and flat-out goofy as she illustrates her crazy life as a new mother (Megill was six months pregnant when she performed at last year’s Rogue). The tap shoes come out for the noisy and exhuberant “Faith,” with its sly nod to faith healing and set to George Michaels’s hit–you got it–“Faith.”

In the most moving dance in this collection, Megill shows her sensitive side in the duet with company member Karissa Smith, “Dance of Acceptance.” This touching piece makes reference to the challenges of motherhood and the choices and responsibilities that come with it. The haunting music and white costumes evoke a feeling of isolation and confusion.

I have become a fan of Megill & Company and if you are, too and haven’t yet seen Dances to Heal the Soul, you need to hurry. Due to a very busy schedule (which might include that baby), they’re only in town this weekend. Change your schedule if you need to – this show is well worth 55 minutes of your time. Besides, whose soul can’t use a little healing?

Dances to Heal the Soul is performing at”
California Arts Academy – Severance Theater
1401 N Wishon Ave, Fresno, CA 93728
The final performance is Sunday, March 5 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.


Joy Compactor
Review by Terrance McArthur

Somebody called him Strangely by mistake, and the performer agreed that it fits. Now he travels with accordion, desk bell, foot tambourine, electronic gizmos, and frequent guest artist Aaron Shay. Joy Compacter is not exactly a one-man show, especially when the audience joins in at the sing-along parts at the Fresno Rogue Festival.

Strangely is a tall-ish, thin-ish, beard-ish dervish, high-kicking, and low-joking his way through a program of lively songs, strange rhymes, semi-biographical information, and backward masking. Cheerful songs and tales about suicide, a hat with a mind of its own (and a mouth), and a fair amount of polish go into his act.

rogue

Strangely

Strangely tells of performing in Australia, where performing an all-out show for an audience of two can have unforeseen rewards. He plays accordion with some of the pauses I’ve not seen since the heyday of juggler Michael Davis. He nearly stomps his way through the floor of Fulton Street Art, 1118 N. Fulton St., next door to Veni Vidi Vici.

What is a Joy Compacter? It could be another term for an accordion. It could be someone who squeezes joy out of every moment. It could be something else. My suggestion: go see Strangely and make your own decision.

Strangely’s remaining performances are Sunday, March 5, at 4:15 p.m., Thursday, March 9, at 7:15 p.m., and Friday, March 10, at 8:30 p.m.

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


Tidal Surge
Review by Terrance McArthur

Tidal Surge is a one-woman-as-three-women Rogue Festival show by L. Nicol Cabe at Fulton Street Art, 1118 N. Fulton St., next door to Veni Vidi Vici.

Imagine, if you will, a post-apocalyptic waterlogged world, and the audience hears defenses and reminiscences of three generations of a family in this future semi-fantasy that draws on current events, trend extrapolation, and Biblical legend. rogue

• A captured young hacker, whose birth is outside 29th Amendment law, tells of her fight for survival and acceptance.
• A woman who reclaims buildings in flood-plain cities is on trial without counsel for an Act of God in a Ghost Ship type tragedy.
• Twenty years after the fact, a woman recounts her part in saving her city from invading barbarians, taking her actions from the fourth chapter of the Old Testament’s Book of Judges.

Cabe invests her reading with different characterizations: the desperation of the hacker, the remorse and frustration of the neo-homesteader, and the world-weary pride of the heroine trying to set the record straight. Each one justifies her actions. Conditions of Each one tells her story. Each one reveals the not-so-brave new world in which they live.

This is one of those shows that is best seen in pairs, not as a romantic experience, but as a starting point for discussions of society, ethics, and the ways we rationalize our actions. Do we let society dictate our lives, or do we fight back and carve out an existence on our own terms?

Tidal Surge is a futuristic, ecological tale of disaster wrapped around the lives of three women caught outside the rules. Remaining shows are Saturday, March 4, at 6:45 p.m., Thursday, March 9, at 6 p.m., and Saturday, March 11, at 8 p.m.

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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