Fringe Review: “Theodore’s Super Fun Adventure”

Theodore's Super Fun Adventure Orlando Fringe

There are plenty of laughs to be found watching “Theodore’s Super Fun Adventure” at the Orlando Fringe Festival.

ORLANDO – “Theodore’s Super Fun Adventure” starts off as a gay-meets-cute comedy, has a wonderfully engaging performance by lead actor Mike Van Dyke, tosses out plenty of funny quips … and then it takes a radical, startling change in tone at the end.

The very light beginning is almost a bit misleading at first, and as I thought about the play afterwards, I realized I had missed the initial clues about the direction it was heading in.
But they were there from the start.
“Theodore’s,” now playing at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, was written by local funnyman Bobby DeSormier and directed by veteran performer Rob Ward. It begins as a comedy about a nervous, socially awkward young gay man from the sticks, Theodore (Van Dyke), who just moved to the Big Apple, found himself an apartment above a local restaurant, and even has a gay bar right across the street. Continue reading

Fringe Review: “Phantasmagoria’s Wickedest Tales of All”

Phantasmagoria Fringe

The Phantasmagoria troop is back at the Orlando Fringe Festival. (Photo by C. A. Bridges).

ORLANDO – It’s been a constant in my life for a while now: I have a complete inability to miss theater productions that include the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
It isn’t just that I love Poe’s writing. His dark, macabre, irresistibly creepy tales are so vivid in their descriptions, and conjure up so many haunting images, that I think they’re ideally suited for stage productions.
Just reading them aloud is highly effective in and of itself; if you’ve never listened to those old 1940s radio shows like “Suspense,” you’d be amazed how scary it can be to listen to a really well-written horror tale that asks you to let your imagination do the work.
So it was that I found myself immensely enjoying “Pantasmagoria’s Wickedest Tales of All,” and in particular the final segment, which recreated Poe’s classic tale of terror, “The Masque of the Red Death.”
Phantasmagoria, for the uninitiated, is the long-running group of circus-like performers who recount classic horror stories, and they’re now are presenting a sort of “Greatest Hits” production, “Phantasmagoria’s Wickedest Tales of All,” at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival.
Phantasmagoria and Poe were made for one another, and the troupe led by writer, director and actor John DiDonna know the critical role that atmosphere plays in a story like this one. Using images on a screen, they conjure up the agony tormenting the countryside as a black death sweeps the land, leaving the survivors in mortal fear of being the next victim. Continue reading

Fringe Review: “Pillow Talk”

pillow talk

“Pillow Talk” looks at two straight guys who have to share a bed together — at the Orlando Fringe Festival, of all places.

ORLANDO — So what is it with those straight guys?
You know, the ones who are so freakin’ uptight about their masculinity, or what the lunkheads over at the roadhouse are going to think, that even something as simple as a little friendly hug is way off limits. Sheesh.
In this hip era of gay marriage, where we’re all so enlightened and even healthy majorities of Catholics and Protestants favor those non-traditional nuptials, can’t a couple of straight guys just show a tiny bit of affection for one another — you know, just as buds — without the whole world thinking they’re just a couple of homos?
And now we have the answer, folks, courtesy of playwright Peter Tolan’s play “Pillow Talk,” brought to us by director Jamie DeHay.
The answer is one big, fat, hilarious NO!
If you’re wondering why, catch “Pillow Talk” at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. When you notice that the only thing on the stage is a bed, and that the play features just two actors (Logan Ayala and Jonathan “Gyo” Gamble), you get a pretty good sense of where things are headed.
So — the plot. Aaron (Ayala) and Doug (Gamble) are best buddies doing a cross-country road trip together. They spend a night with Aaron’s grandma, who is nice enough to let them share her bed while she sleeps on the couch in the next room. So Aaron strips down to his shorts, hops in bed, and is ready to call it a night.
Only — Doug isn’t. Continue reading

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