Rogue Reviews: Cookie’s Cult Classics/S’Will ‘24/seaMAN/Titillated

Mar 8, 2024 | 2024 Articles, Arts & Entertainment, Lorie Lewis Ham, Movies, Rogue Festival, Terrance V. Mc Arthur, Theatre

by Lorie Lewis Ham & Terrance McArthur

The Rogue Festival is here! It is taking place March 1-9 in the Tower District of Fresno. Here are more Rogue show reviews, with possibly still a couple more to come! You will be able to find all of our reviews, and our performer preview articles, and our article about Rogue 2024 in our Rogue Festival section here at KRL, and you can find more Rogue Festival information on our Rogue event page over on KRL News! There you will find press releases and extra info! You can also go to the Rogue Festival website for more info and to purchase tickets.

Cookie’s Cult Classics
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham

I didn’t think I was going to make it to any more shows this year, but last night I ended up making it to a couple more. I didn’t have my trusty little notebook with me that I use to take notes for reviews as it was a bit last minute, so these may be a bit shorter than my usual.

After seeing Martin Dockery’s show TRUTH again last night, this time as just a regular audience member (you have to see that one), I stayed at LAByrinth to see Cookie’s Cult Classics and I was glad I did. Cookie is a drag queen and in her Rogue show she shares some of her favorite cult films and provides live commentary—think Mystery Science Theater but with a drag queen instead of robots. Along with the commentary, there are movie theater “employees” who pop in now and then to contribute to the feeling that you are in a movie theater. And to top it all off, there is free popcorn!

The movie last night was the Ed Wood classic Plan 9 From Outer Space. Cookie cut it down to fit it into the hour slot, but trust me you would never know—all the “best” bad parts were still there. Cookie was a delightful host providing little tidbits about the making of the movie and comments on just how bad it is. If you are looking for a fun, lighthearted show this Rogue don’t miss Cookie’s last 2 performances (it is a different movie each time). You are guaranteed plenty of laughs and hey there’s popcorn—you can’t get much better than that.

Remaining performances at LAByrinth Art Collective, 1470 N. Van Ness Ave. March 8 at 5:30 p.m. and March 9 at 3:30 p.m.

S’Will ‘24
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham

Speaking of fun, the other show I made it to last night was this year’s version of S’Will presented by The Fools Collaborative. A S’Will show is always a lot of fun! The Fools is made up of local performers.

The basic concept of the show is to take a Shakespeare play, condense and adapt it, and then add drinking and fun little references provided by the audience on a whiteboard on their way in. A “Queen” is picked from the audience and they can ring a bell and make any cast member take a drink any time they want to. One cast member each night starts out a little drunk—last night it was Haley White.

Here is the description from the Rogue program: The Fools are back with their fourth “lovingly mangled” Shakespeare adaption, Julius (Little) Ceasar. Join us this election year as we Make Rogue Drunk Again!

With this one, they leaned heavily into the Little Ceasars bit adding a lot of Italian food fun, and a touch of The Godfather. Mason Beltran played Julius Ceasar with a Vito Corleone accent which was hilarious. Another familiar face was Brooke Aiello who played Brutus, among a few other characters. While the other faces were less familiar to me and without my trusty notebook I don’t have their names, everyone was hilarious.

S’Will is another great choice for a fun night at Rogue and each performance is slightly different. On a personal side note, it was so wonderful to see Haley on stage again after her recent health battles.

Remaining performances are at VISTA, 1296 N. Wishon Ave. on March 8 at 5:30 p.m. and March 9 at 8:00 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. Lorie’s latest mystery novel, One of Us, is set in the Tower District of Fresno and the world of community theatre!<

Review by Terrance McArthur

It’s a one-man show . . . with two people: SeaMAN at Dianna’s Studio of Dance.
You will always remember the mermaid.

You’ll try to forget the seagull.

Members of the audience become crew members.

It’s Gilligan’s Island, Splash, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Moby D**k (the internet no longer allows that word). Oh, throw in Jaws, although it doesn’t really fit.

Amica Hunter and Bruce Ryan Costella take turns playing the captain, but with the wigs and the beards, who can tell?

It’s strange. It’s funny. It makes no sense. That’s what makes it so good.

Dianna’s Studio of Dance is at 826 N. Fulton St., Fresno. remaining performances of SeaMAN are March 8 at 8:30 pm, March 9 at 12:30 pm, and March 9 at 5:00 pm.

Review by Terrance McArthur

Donna Kay Yarborough is a chameleon. She has appeared at the Fresno Rogue Performance Festival in many forms—a disturbed country singer, Frank Sinatra in the Afterlife appearing in a female body, an Appalachian witcher-woman dispensing mountain remedies and rural stories, a twelve-step confessional with a horrifyingly paranormal secret, and….

2024 finds her in the comfy surroundings of a boudoir studio-salon in Titillated: An Intimate Reading of Comic Erotica at Hart’s Haven. With a character somewhere between Barry Humphries’ Dame Edna Etheridge and Anne Rice’s Anne Roquelaur, Donna Kay lounges in caftan and bejeweled cat-glasses, reading naughty stories that gush ecstatically over the qualities of the rims of mixed drinks before glopping in a crude bodily expression.

Donna Kay encourages audience members to share “bad sex” stories, and her readings change from performance to performance as she comes up with different ideas for racy stories. It’s crude, embarrassing, and as funny (as sex can be).

Hart’s Haven is at 950 N. Van Ness Ave. The final performances are March 8 at 8:30 pm and March 9 at 5:00 pm.

If you love theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and also on podbean.

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

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.


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