Capital Fringe Review: ‘3rd Annual “Fool for All”: Tales of Marriage and Mozzarella’ by Cyle Durkee

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Over the years I have seen Faction of Fools develop beautifully. They are developing a cast of regulars that have real chemistry and obviously enjoy working with each other enormously.  Let’s just get it out of the way now…you MUST see this show. It will be different every night and if every night is as good as this night, you will want to see all of them.  All the shows are based on Commedia dell’Arte characters and scenes and worked and improvised until they are new and fresh. These are old stories and anecdotes brought into modern age without loss of understanding because the stories are based on human experiences and not political or cultural themes. The political and cultural themes are layered onto the show to give it traction in the minds of the audience, but ultimately it is the stories that are timeless.

Photo by Clinton Brandhagen.

Reasons Not to See the Show: None. They even had two deaf actors (Charlie Ainsworth and James McGowan) that spoke only with American Sign Language, and while I didn’t catch everything they “said” they were still hilarious (and hot)!

Reasons To See This Show: Damn…where to start? Um…so many hilarious performances were conceived and delivered with perfect timing. Steve Attix was great with his mandolin (it might be some other instrument, but it was great, none the less) which led into one of the best curtain calls I’ve seen in theater.

Gwen Grastorf was light and ephemeral and decidedly funny. Paul Reisman directed a fabulous scene in which he also acted (and his ability to keep his tongue in cheek would lead you to believe he was snacking on said tongue throughout the performance). Eva Wilhelm manages to give snark in that amazing way of hers. She’s never mean, but always honest. Sharp enough to draw blood, but nice enough that you’d apologize for making her cut you while you bandaged your face up.

I had not seen Deidra LaWan Starnes before, but she knows how to step into a scene and steal it (like a magician whipping a table cloth out from under the dishes without disturbing the water in the glasses)! And she knows how to move! One of my favorites of the evening was John Bellomo.  His scene was beautifully done.As a swaggering Capitano he held the stage without being overbearing. His bravado never broke and every line of his was a laugh line. Even when you knew exactly what was coming next you laughed your ass off. And Vanessa Hope was phenomenal as she swaggered across the stage and laid one liners down like land mines (you would walk right into them and explode with laughter).

Go see this show. You will laugh til you pee (and Studio Theater’s janitorial staff is none too pleased about it). You will also have the added benefit of being able to tell your pretentious friends that you went to see a Commedia Dell’Arte show and watch them try to explain its virtues and vices to you without any real understanding of the art form (which you will have because you have seen the show {so see the show}).

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