Fringe review: Sarge

By John Lyle Belden

In this one-woman play by Cincinnati’s Clifton Performance Theatre, “Sarge” is the nickname of Dorothy Sandburg, the wife of a popular football coach who is facing allegations of sexual assault by his players and boys who he cared for in his youth foundation.

If this sounds familiar, playwright Kevin Crowley says the plot is based on the recent Penn State scandal. However, the focus is not on the indicted coach but on the woman who stood by him, firmly entrenched in her state of denial. Christine Dye brilliantly plays Dot as a woman who can’t feel anything but devoted to the man who had for decades been the keystone of her world – without him and the myth of his virtue, it all falls apart. And we can’t help but feel her pain and her struggle to maintain her fragile reality in the face of mounting evidence that she is wrong.

This may be the most intense drama of the Fringe. I highly recommend this show, playing at Musician’s Union Hall, but brace yourself for a very dark ride.

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