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Review: Short Play Festival at IndyFringe Theatre

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Essentially an exhibition of student work from the Indiana Writers Center, this two-night event featured some of Indy’s most notable talent performing seven original works presented under the aegis of Betty Rage Productions, Casey Ross Productions, Defiance Comedy, Khaos Company Theatre and Wisdom Tooth Productions.

Two pieces stood out, the first being Ledge by Jerry Holt. I, along with the rest of the audience, was consumed with laughter throughout this little jape, which was — as anyone familiar with him would have guessed— dominated by Ronn Johnstone. Some of the jokes were awfully dated, and the gallows humor of the piece about a trio of strangers contemplating suicide was dashed at the end in an abruptly saccharine manner. But the overall humor prevailed, with great assist by Johnstone’s antics, who at one point had me completely ashamed for not knowing the names of the Magnificent Seven (as well I should).

At the other end of the show was Snatch and Release by Elise Lockwood, who, in no uncertain terms, was the best writer of the evening. Her thoughtful and comparatively subtle take on raunchy comedy chronicled a woman’s internal conflict over the shoulds and rathers of desire. It was a great refreshment to see this masterful foray into the male-dominated realm of genital-based comedy. Or as this Neanderthal pronounced to the author after the show, “It’s cool, you know, ‘cause you’re a girl.” Ahem. Let’s hope this town sees more of Lockwood’s work.

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