CFF19: My Fringe Show Rankings

Updated 6/14/19 11:15am

Picks of the Fringe
As a “critic” I get to nominate productions as my choice for the Critic’s Pick of the Fringe. Below, in alphabetical order, are the shows IMHO currently in the running for nomination.

CFF19_90 Lies an hour1

Paul Strickland. Photo by Paul Kerford Wilson.

Paul Strickland returns with the fourth part of his Trailer Park Trilogy (and no, you don’t need to have seen the previous shows to enjoy this one.) 90 LIES AN HOUR features three new tales written and performed by this talented storyteller which are full of wit, wonderful word play and a bit of down home wisdom. The show is closed out with a song that expertly brings the show full circle.



Hannah Gregory as The Angel, Tess Talbot as Annie & Wes Carmen as Paul. Photo by Paul Kerford Wilson.

DESCENT: A Murder Ballad
A simple story told incredibly well, punctuated by the haunting and soulful songs performed by Hannah Gregory, who is also responsible for the book and music. Caitlin McWethy’s nuanced direction elicits some wonderful performances from her small, talented cast lead by the wonderful Tess Talbot. The show flowed extremely well, and the small addition and removal of a black jacket made it easy to follow the story as it jumped between past and present.


CFF19_The MILF Also Rises 1

Jen Joplin. Photo by Dan Winters.

Local actress and “middle-aged mother” Jen Joplin unsurprisingly impresses in her one-person show, THE MILF ALSO RISES. Joplin builds an instant rapport with the audience, giving the show a “hanging with an old friend” vibe that is punctuated with a wry smile, a smart tongue, a bit of self-deprecating humor, and a few slugs of bourbon. The script is timely, smart and insightful without being a lecture.


CFF19_ This House Will Never Let Us Go1

Rebecca Comtois as Joan, Kristen Vaughan as Iris & Playwright Mac Rogers as Griffin. Photo by Jeff Burkle.

Fringe favorite Gideon Productions returns this year with an unique take on a horror genre staple. Playwright Mac Rogers provides a smartly-written, character-driven script that plays to the strengths of the excellent cast. Together they easily pull the audience into the “House” as the tale builds to a shocking and satisfying conclusion.



Jordan Trovillion as Nolan Blackwell & playwright Trey Tatum as Casper. Photo by Paul Kerford Wilson.

Part homage and part satire, ZOINKS is a modern take on the teenage mystery solver (and their trusted canine companion). The staging is incredibly creative and engaging thanks to the directing skills of Bridget Leak. So engaging in fact, that several audience members are asked to lend their voices to the story. Jordan Trovillion is excellent as Nolan Blackwell, the teenage sleuth who would rather confront monsters and mysteries than the realities of her home. Tatum also takes on the role of Casper, Nolan’s four-legged partner in crime-solving, a friend so true that you will make you miss your own pup. A truly remember-able Fringe experience.

My Fringe Show Rankings
While all shows cannot be a “pick,” there are plenty of strong and enjoyable productions to choose from for your fringe adventure. Below I am ranking the other shows I’ve attended to date, based on a number of criteria from the voices in my head. 🙂 Please understand that differences between shows in the rankings can be infinitesimal. Update 6/5. I’ve split out the solo performances into their own list.

  • CFF19_Kill You With My Love1

    Sarah Willis as Kay in KILL YOU WITH MY LOVE. Photo by Kyle Chaney.

    A solid ensemble brings this tale of a cursed love life to life on stage. As she packs to flee another possible tragedy, the classic rock records Kay plays summons the haunting memories of her late lovers.

    Local actor and playwright Sean P. Mette smartly fictionalizes the final years of Martha. Born in captivity, this Cincinnati Zoo resident was the last surviving passenger pigeon in existence. Does knowing you are the last of your kind bring any comfort?

Solo Performances


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