Rogue Festival Reviews: Other People’s Showers/We’re Doomed/Anatomica/This Music is Making Me Thirsty/Worst. Rock and Roll. Name. Ever

Mar 8, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Arts & Entertainment, Mallory Moad, Rogue Festival

by Mallory Moad & Terrance McArthur

Here are more of our Rogue Festival show reviews! There will be more to come! We also have several Rogue Performer Preview articles that have been going up over the last few weeks. You will be able to find all of them, along with a preview article about the Festival itself, in our Rogue Festival category and you can find more info on our Rogue Festival event page over on KRL News and Reviews. Tickets for the Rogue Festival can be purchased on their website and you can find this year’s schedule.

Other People’s Showers
Review by Mallory Moad

Dorian Follansbee’s Rogue show, Other People’s Showers, begins just there – in a shower. Speaking from behind a shower curtain over the sound of running water, Dorian offers musings on showers in a lengthy, charming monologue. But when she emerges, in her fuzzy bathrobe and hair in ponytails, the atmosphere changes. The stories transition from cute tales about soap and showering in gym class to recollections about relationships gone bad. Seriously, horribly bad.

Remaining seated throughout the performance Dorian shares the anxiety, confusion, and despair of life with people who are abusive. At times reminiscent of a young Meryl Streep, we witness a plethora of emotions that are often difficult to watch, although her performance is so riveting it is impossible to look away. However, Other People’s Showers isn’t just about suffering. It doesn’t leave the audience abandoned without hope. There is reconciliation, redemption, and healing. When, at the conclusion of the show she shares a photo of her father on her laptop, Dorian’s smile is worth the price of admission.

Dorian never exposes whether the woman in the show is actually her. She never reveals names or locations. Even the name of “my dog” is secret. Is that photo really her father, or of the character she has been playing? The pain feels real enough, though and if this is an autobiographical piece, she deserves kudos for having the bravery to relive these experiences on stage.

Trigger warning: This performance contains references to abuse and suicide. If you are sensitive to these subjects, this show may not be the right choice.

Other People’s Showers performs at Spectrum Art Gallery, 608 East Olive Ave. The remaining performances are Friday, March 10 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m.

We’re Doomed
Review by Mallory Moad

Jaguar Bennett is in a gloomy state of mind. Perhaps that is why, when it comes to climate change and global warming, there’s nothing to feel good about. In We’re Doomed, the latest Rogue offering from this comedian/social commentator, that’s his topic of choice, the result of the human race’s destruction of the planet.

Jaguar Bennett

Taking a somewhat different approach to his material, Jaguar doesn’t go for the belly laughs this time. The response is more along the lines of “Ha ha ha! Wait…what??” But the sly fox-in-the-henhouse smile and chuckle that says “I’m your friend…just kidding” are still present, as are his trademark dark suit and red power tie.

After ironically opening the show with the jaunty Louis Prima tune, “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think),” Jaguar serves as a harbinger of disaster as he proceeds to explain that not only is it later than you think, it’s just too late. Period.

For the next hour, Jaguar pontificates on dying the right kind of death (“It can make or break your reputation”), one’s last thoughts (“It will be of this show…”) and research vs. propaganda. He skewers Elon Musk, the entire Republican party, artificial intelligence, the afterlife (“If you truly believed your immortal soul could be imperiled by sin, you certainly wouldn’t be at this show”) the internet and major oil corporations.

Although he doesn’t come right out and say he’s better than the rest of us, he gives the distinct impression that he thinks the rest of us aren’t quite as good. Jaguar’s a funny guy but of his performances he says, “I haven’t done my job until you’re shaken to the core.” I certainly was. You may be, too.

We’re Doomed performs at Veni Vidi Vici, 1116 North Fulton Street
The remaining performances are Thursday, March 9 at 7 p.m. and Friday, March 10 at 7 p.m.

Review by Mallory Moad

What’s the best kind of skeleton to have? This question is asked of the audience in Anatomica, Amica Hunter’s delightfully goofball one person show. Part comedy, part anatomy lesson, part performance art and one hundred percent fringe, Amica takes the audience on a scientific adventure (sort of) with plenty of detours along the way.

Their opening strip tease down to their bones (more cartoon than creepy) is a foreshadowing of the fun that will follow. Employing crazy costumes, puppetry, storytelling, and a very long vacuum cleaner hose, they share stories about their “recipe for going to sleep,” engage the audience in a conversation about aches and pains (in which she shares a bottle of Icy Hot and offers ibuprofen to the needy). And while the production involves audience participation, it’s used gently. No one will be dragged from their seat to be wrapped in plastic or forced to dance the Hoky Poky. It is closer to conversation than exhibition.

Amica is an animated performer who effectively uses their face and body as illustrations. Their portrayal of a crab is a side-splitter, a story about the potential cause of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart is strangely thought-provoking and an earthworm dance is appealingly weird.

Anatomica is a kick in the pants that delightfully reflects the roots of alternative performance.

Anatomica performs at Dianna’s Studio of Dance, 826 North Fulton Street
The remaining performances are Friday, March 10 at 10 p.m. and Saturday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m.

This Music is Making Me Thirsty
Review by Mallory Moad

In This Music is Making Me Thirsty, Tony Imperatrice presents a show that is closer to a concert than other musical performances you might see at the Rogue Festival. Augmenting traditional sounds (organ) with contemporary technology (loopers, synthesizers), Tony wraps the audience in a big – and I mean BIG – wash of sound. It’s Bach meets Robert Fripp, prog rock goes to church.

Tony is a serious musician and this effort is far from a novelty. All of the compositions are original and are introduced with brief anecdotes about their inspiration. The opening piece, The Inescapable Past, sets the stage for what will follow, filling the small venue with waves of melodic resonance. Although all the pieces in this production employ the same techniques, they are individual and stand alone. “Obsessive Love” has a Middle Eastern feel while “Hitting Bottom,” written in rondo form, features a bubbling counter melody reminiscent of light hiding behind darkness that eventually bursts through in a shimmering crescendo. The effect is mesmerizing. “Don’t Let The Waterfalls Die,” an expansive, multi-layered ode to climate change, successfully evokes thought on the subject.

Watching Tony perform, with hands and feet in constant motion, it is obvious this method of making music in a live setting is complicated and dependent on timing. But don’t let that knowledge overwhelm you. Just sit back and allow yourself to be immersed in something unique and beautiful.

This Music is Making Me Thirsty performs at Spectrum Art Gallery, 608 East Olive Ave
Remaining performances are Friday, March 10 at 5:30 p.m. and 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.

Worst. Rock and Roll. Name. Ever
Review by Terrance McArthur

The great rock stars have cool names—Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Ozzy Osborne, Mike Alexander. MIKE ALEXANDER??? Mike has been playing the Valley in bands like Acoustic Highway and Laurel Canyon. He doesn’t think his name gives a sense of Rock Royalty. In fact, he’s calling his 2023 one-man Rogue show Worst. Rock and Roll. Name. EVER!

Mike brings in a pile of musical instruments to play—guitars, mandolin, spoons (Yeah, spoons.). He covers classic rock (Paul Simon, The Beatles, Johnny Nash, etc.). He also performs some of his own songs.
Mike has a quirky sense of humor. He is known to wear a hat with a frog on it—not a design stitched or painted on it, but a plush stuffed animal perched atop the cap. Go figure.

An audience-participation part of the show is to write out suggestions for a new Rock and Roll name to take the place of Mike Alexander. I thought of something like “Riff Baker.” I’m just letting you know so you can think up something good before you go.

The final performances of Worst. Rock and Roll. Name. EVER! are Thursday, March 9, 5:30 pm and Saturday, March 11, 3:30 pm at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen, 1279 N. Wishon Ave., Fresno. Tickets are $8. May the best name be yours.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur worked for the Fresno County Public Library for three decades. He is retired, but not retiring. A storyteller, puppeteer, writer, actor, magician, basketmaker, and all-around interesting person, his goal is to make life more unusual for everyone he meets.

Check other local arts & entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. You can also find more theatre coming up on KRL’s Local Theatre event page.

1 Comment

  1. Absolutely loved these wonderful reviews. You both say so much with an economy of just the right words to give feel and sense of the subject without overdoing! Thank you!


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