Review: ‘Un-a-parent’ at The Charm City Fringe Festival

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By Kylie Miller

The play on words of the show’s title, Un-a-parent, perfectly sets up this comedic solo show. The life experiences of Joe Minchik, the writer and performer, are both hilarious and heartfelt. He does not hesitate to share very personal information but he does so in a style that mimics stand-up comedy. Un-a-parent is all about the funny ways life can play out. Joe looks back on his life, remembering how he has always wanted to be a father. The catch is that he fell in love with someone who does not want kids.  

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The show is filled with anecdotes from Joe’s life that he does not just describe, he shows by recreating them on stage. Joe becomes various people in his life using distinct voices to portray his parents, his favorite teacher from high school and even a crazy woman he met on Craigslist. Though it is a solo show, these voices transform into characters that you start to recognize. He also utilizes actual items that he discusses from his life, ranging from a stuffed animal to a prayer portrait that sits on his bedside table.

Growing up Catholic and the poor example of marriage set by his parents are just two aspects of Joe’s struggle with love. He takes you on a hilarious journey through his childhood and young adulthood, until he meets the woman the show is really about. She is the only person in the show Joe talks about that he does not become. Instead of giving her a voice and creating a character for her on stage, Joe summarizes her words in any story he tells. This was a strong choice and created a beautiful understanding of what she means to Joe.

[A complete lineup of shows at the 2018 Charm City Fringe Festival]

Though the story is not told chronologically, it is written so that information is shared at exactly the right moment. Joe does a great job at connecting all parts of his story which keeps audiences engaged. Un-a-parent is deeply personal, which is what makes it relatable. The comedy is effective because of how honest Joe is willing to be. He does such a fantastic job connecting with his audience that by the end, you feel as if you have made a new friend.

Running Time: One hour with no intermission.

Charm City Fringe Festival

Un-a-parent plays select days through November 9th at the Charm City Fringe Festival – 322 North Howard Street Baltimore, MD, For tickets, go online.

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