IndyFringe: ‘Why Be Normal?’

This show is part of the 14th Annual Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival, a/k/a IndyFringe, Aug. 16-26, 2018 on Mass Ave downtown. Info, etc., at

By Wendy Carson

Elizabeth Young Collins has lived a very interesting life. She shares some of its highlights with us, punctuated by snippets of songs.

She grew up in a large non-Catholic family (which was so quirky that it was featured in a copy of Life magazine shortly before she was born).

She was an exchange student in France, attended a prestigious Finishing School and had a nervous breakdown in her teens. She even competes in a Junior Miss pageant, but loses out because she is considered to be too fat.

After earning a college degree in French, she moves to New York and becomes a school teacher. After a while she ends up as a financial analyst with Merrill Lynch. However, she quits that job to pursue her dream of performing on Broadway. She got a role or two, but it didn’t work out.

A few years later she is on a vacation with her girlfriends when they enter her in a singing competition. Not only does she end up winning it, she gets a singing job with the resort band. A good deal of networking later, she is, at the age of 40, a legitimate singer. At 47, she ends up marrying the handsome guy who’s been carrying her equipment around. Women’s World then does an article on her about never giving up on your dreams.

This offering is quirky and sweetly sentimental. While it is suitable for all ages, it will more strongly appeal to the Baby Boomer generation.

Elizabeth presents her story at ComedySportz, 721 Mass Ave.




IndyFringe: ‘Let’s Play a Freakin’ Boardgame’

This show is part of the 14th Annual Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival, a/k/a IndyFringe, Aug. 16-26, 2018 on Mass Ave downtown. Info, etc., at

By Wendy Carson

To begin, a couple of notes:
1. The titular Boardgame changes for each performance (mine was Clue, today’s is Monopoly)
2. This show has audience participation and interaction (however, you will not be pressured into doing anything you don’t wish to do if this bothers you).
3. Each performance will have a “winner” and they will receive several new games with a net worth between $50 & $100.
4. The show is presented by veteran improv comic Mark Cashwell (who previously presented his “Improv Talk Show” at the Fringe)
Now for my thoughts on the show:
As I mentioned above, the Boardgame for the Friday night premiere was Clue. Various members of the audience were conscripted to play the various characters and in a delightfully innovative stroke of comedy genius, he has them each draw their weapon of choice.
Dice are rolled, challenges are faced, clues are revealed, the murdered is ultimately discovered, and a good time was had by all. By the way: It was Mr. Green in the Lounge with the Sex Toy.
So, for a delightfully hilarious take on games and gaming come on by Comedysportz (which is also the only venue serving actual food) and test your luck.

IndyFringe: Drankspeare

By John Lyle Belden

Just the concept is enough to drive ticket sales: Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” done as a comedy and a drinking game — with the cast drinking as well.

The actors got started on their cans of local Sun King brew even before all the audience were seated. Then, whenever a couplet rhymed, someone would shout, “Drink!” And all did.

It’s a credit to the Eclectic Pond players that they are so fully familiar with the Bard that they mostly remembered the lines of the play, and even went off-script in Shakespearean style — with a few modern idioms thrown in for comic effect.

The show even ends in the manner of a Shakespearean comedy.

Fortunately, the ComedySportz venue has plenty of drinks (with and without alcohol) for the crowd to play along. Whether or not you wet your whistle, this hilarious show is a must-see. Remaining performances are Friday and Saturday, Aug. 26-27, both at 6 p.m. Get info and tickets at

IndyFringe: Terror on the High Seas

By Wendy Carson

In-laws. We all have dealt with them or heard horror stories from friends about theirs at some point in time. Now, imagine being stuck on a 10-day cruise with them, in Alaska of all places. Thus begins Les Kurkendaal’s tale.

Being a liberal, gay, black man from L.A. was hard for his partner’s conservative, gun-toting, Trump-supporting, Bakersfield family to accept, but they have repeatedly made some effort. They brought him along on this cruise to celebrate the patriarch’s 70th birthday. Their original destination was the Mediterranean, but it was deemed to be “too hot!” by his brother-in-law. Therefore, since they’ve all wanted to see Sarah Palin’s home state, Alaska was decided on.

From taking every excursion offered in order to escape them, to making some hilarious new friends on the boat, Kurkendaal’s tale swings from one crazy situation to another. However, even among all of the zany people he meets, and the crazy antics of the family, some sobering situations are also encountered.

The storytelling skill it takes to maneuver all of these issues while still keeping everything compelling is impressive, and Kurkendaal does not fail. Every show he brings here is so much better than the last. In fact, my biggest annoyance was that I wished the show had been longer.

Whether you have seen one of Kurkendaal’s shows before, or are experiencing him and his family for the first time, you should really do yourself a favor and come aboard for some laughs.

One performance left during this Fringe: 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at ComedySportz. Get tickets at

IndyFringe: What’s a Wedding Got to do With It

By Wendy Carson

This is the journey of a man — one who abhors the very idea of the institution of marriage and all it stands for — taking the plunge and actually getting married. The story is told  by Jeremy Schaefer in four parts, each of which illustrate the various rituals and ornamentations society demands be included in order for the ceremony to occur.

From the history of the engagement ring, the music choices for the reception, the guest lists, locations, scheduling and every detail in between; it’s a pretty overwhelming feat that anyone does this at all. Still, when the right person enters the picture and the legal ramifications of the bond hit close to home, he finds himself struggling to make sure that everything is perfect for her.

For a sweetly touching look at love, marriage and all of the traditions surrounding it, this show is a delight. Besides, where else are you going to get the opportunity to see someone wearing a wooden bow tie?

Performances are at ComedySportz Aug. 24, 27 and 28. Info and tickets at

IndyFringe: The Immaculate Big Bang

By Wendy Carson

An irreverent night of comedy covering science, religion, relationships, philosophy and family, “The Immaculate Big Bang” by comedian Bill Santiago feels like what an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” would be like if it was written by George Carlin. The laughs are pretty constant, but some of the material might even make you pause to think or research one or two of the topics covered.

The material as a whole is not actually offensive, but some of it might not be to everyone’s taste. Basically, if you think the idea of telling Jesus a “Yo’ Mamma’s So Holy…” joke is in poor taste, then this show might not be for you. Otherwise, get out and see this show. Who knows, you might actually learn a thing or two from it.

Performances are at ComedySportz Aug. 25, 27 and 28. Get info and tickets at

IndyFringe 2015 Wrap-Up

We had a great time at this year’s IndyFringe. Though we didn’t see all the shows, we saw quite a few, so, here in one place are the links to all our reviews, for anyone wanting to look one up:

4.48 Psychosis” by Savage at Last

4Square” by AV Productions

Acting My Age” by Matt Holt

The Adventures of Les Kurkendaal” by Les Kurkendaal

Auditioning for Swan Lake” by Lou Ann Homan

The Best of Indy Magic Monthly” by Magic Taylor’d for You (Taylor Martin)

Breakneck Hamlet” by Tim Mooney

Bromance” by Farewell Tour Productions

Cabaret of Puppetry” by Peewinkle Studios

Ca-Ching” by Nomads Collective

Camp Summer Camp” by Defiance Comedy

Cocooned in Kazan” by Royal Kung Foolery

The Comedy Magic of Oscar Munoz” by Oscar Munoz

Dancing in the Mist” by RibbetRepublic

Drosselmeyer’s Magical Bedtime Story” by No Exit Performance

The Eulogy” by Michael Burgos

Fruit Flies Like a Banana” by Fourth Wall

Ghost Story” by Peter-John Byrnes

Growing Up All Over Myself” by Mat Alanso-Martin

Hannibal: LIAR!” by Chris Hannibal

Hell’s Fourth Ring: The Mall Musical” by Casey Ross Productions

Home Grown Originals” by Band O’ Leers

An Indian Comedian: How Not To Fit In” by Krish Mohan

I’m Not Gay” by Submatter Press

Interrupting the Sermon” by First Hand Theatrical

The Invisible Man” by What’s in a Name? Company

Jason Adams is a God Damn Mind Reader” by Jason Adams

Kill the Column” by MamaProductions

Laughing Sober” by Rick Garrett

A Little Business at the BIG TOP” by David Gaines

Men’s Room” by MayDay Productions

Mom?” by Box of Clowns

Mr. Boniface, the Wise” by KT Peterson

My Sister Diane” by Jim May

Not My Baby!” by Dreadmelon Productions

The Not So Secret Origin of Captain Ambivalent” by Captain Ambivalent

ODDyssey” by Blair Godshall

Orange is the New Black Keys” by ComedySportz Indianapolis

Sarge” by Clifton Performance Theatre

The Secret Book of Jesus” by Maximum Verbosity

Shakespeare’s Ear” by Early Music in Motion

The Shout” by In the Mix

The Sibling Staircase” by Sally Perkins

Speedthru” by Eclectic Pond

Threads” by Tonya Jone Miller

Tipped and Tipsy” by Jill Vice

Top Shelf: Our Last American Tour – Again” by Betty Rage

The Traveling Tap Dance Super Show” by TapMan Productions with Circle City Tap Company

Ulysses Grant: A Fluxkit Opera” by Stephen Rush

Up Yours, Indianapolis” by The Fleece Academy

VELOUR” by Schedule C Productions

Whisper in My Good Ear” by Vintage Players

Who Run The World: A Madwomen’s Cabaret” by Main Street Artists

The Wizer of Odd” by Gift of Gab

Working Titles” by Jeremy Schaefer

The Yellow Wallpaper” by Earlham Theatre Department