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I HATE IT HERE presented by SHEatre: Cincinnati Women’s Theatre as part of the 2016 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. You can read the show description here.

CFF_I Hate It HereOn the front of their program, I HATE IT HERE is described as “A romantic dramedy about two women trying to become one.” It sounds like a good concept for a fringe show, but a concept doesn’t make a show work. You have to be the snake-oil salesman who makes me believe what you are selling. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case for me.

The opening “entangled” scene does nothing to help set the tone for the performance. It’s not big or funny enough to make me think the show is a comedy or sincere enough to take the dialogue seriously.

I also felt like the show was staged and performed too intimately for the space. It may have worked for the front row, but from 25 feet away it’s too conversational and sedate. The first two-thirds of the script is extremely repetitive and fails to build much forward momentum. The dialogue seems better suited to a “newlywed” couple, not-so-much two people who have been together since college. In fact, the relationship didn’t ring true for me.

Considering the importance of the cat to the story, using a stuffed toy on stage might have helped establish its relationship to the two humans a bit better, and cut down on some of the exposition. Less telling, more showing if you get my meaning. Even if you stick with an “off-stage” cat, leaving a stage empty as one actress “baby talks” to the cat does not make for interesting theater. Bring the actress on stage so we can see her talking to the off-stage cat. Done well, it could be a funny moment or two.

As presented opening night, the script, performances and staging didn’t come together, for me, to create a satisfying whole.

Four performances remain through June 11.

I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.

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Filed under Cincy Fringe Festival, Reviews

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