DivaFest: An odd Irish ‘three men and a baby’

This is part of the 2019 Diva Fest, presented by IndyFringe at 719 E. St. Clair St., Indianapolis, through April 21. All shows are by women playwrights, presented as one-hour one-acts at a Fringe price. For information and tickets, see www.indyfringe.org.

By John Lyle Belden

Kate Duffy Sim once again blesses us with a brilliant parody of the British sitcom, “Father Ted,” which relates the quirky lives of priests living on a remote island off the Irish coast.

This time, in “Who’s Minding the Snapper,” Father Ned and company are visited by a very pregnant American woman. The baby quickly arrives, but the mother disappears — can Ned, dimwitted Father Dermott and drunken Father Finn successfully care for the little “snapper”?

Presented by Clerical Error Productions and directed by David Malloy, the surreal atmosphere and comic potential are enhanced by “cross-gender casting,” as the program put it. Sim ably plays Ned, while Bridget Schlebecker is a hoot as Finn. Kyrsten Lyster is outstanding as Dermott, displaying deft skill at the hard task of playing a “stupid” character so cleverly. Manny Casillas charms as the housekeeper Mrs. O’Boyle, while Anthony Logan Nathan is something to behold as brash, devious Mrs. McShane, who tends the home of a rival priest.

Case Jacobus is the “girl in trouble,” while actual rapper Nate Burner plays her rap-star boyfriend. “N8” also performs the opening theme, and spun some rhymes at curtain call to introduce the cast.

Hilarious with the right amount of heart, you’ll need to do penance if you miss this one. Performances are 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 5:30 p.m. Sunday (April 20-21).

IndyFringe: Harrison!

By Wendy Carson

Hip-hop musicals are all the rage currently. However, acquiring tickets to them is nearly impossible. Currently, you have the chance to see a hilarious improv version of one dripping in Hoosier history.

When you get your ticket you are given a slip of paper prompting you to list a book, musical, TV show, movie, or fairy tale. These suggestions are put in a hat and one is given to each actor prior to the show. They use these as touchstones for their individual characters’ dialogue and motivations during the show. As an example, the actor portraying William Henry Harrison – the general-turned-President of the title – was given “Cinderella” and his “Bobbity Boo-ing” of others during the show was very inflammatory.

Expect dance battles, rap battles, and some twisted historical events intertwining to some epic beats. While the show is ever-changing and never too serious, the final song echoes a strong truth that should be noted: “History forgets, but Death remembers!”

Performances are Saturday and Sunday afternoons, Aug. 27 and 28 at the Indyfringe Basile Theatre. Get info and tickets at indyfringefestival.com.


Fringe review: The Wizer of Odd

By John Lyle Belden

The Wizer of Odd,” performed by Gift of Gab productions at Firefighters’ Union Hall, is an interesting modern take on the classic movie (based on the works of L. Frank Baum). Set in the modern day, our young woman is aware of the Oz story, but not that she’s living it. She doesn’t listen to the wisdom of her “scarecrow” friend, tramples the heart of the “Tinman” she encounters and misunderstands the courage of the “lion” who tries to help her. When she finally finds Oz, he does not provide the happy ending she is looking for.

The best aspect of this fable is that, instead of song-and-dance breaks, we get well-crafted hip-hop poetry, very well delivered by a talented local cast. Hopefully this show will return as one of the performances the IndyFringe stages host throughout the year.