The 11th annual KC Fringe Festival runs through the weekend and — as experienced fringers know — there are too many events packed into venues for anyone to possibly see.
Your humble theater critic has made it to relatively few of the shows, but if time limitations didn’t exist my list of productions to check out would include the following:
▪ “The Art Is a Lie,” a showcase of short plays by Margaret Shelby, Lindsay Adams and Victor Wishna. The plays, according to the official description, range from “lightly comic to disturbingly dark” and view a variety of issues through the “lens of art” — relationships, domestic abuse, capitalism, commercialism, self-destruction. The directors are Katie Lee and Elizabeth Bettendorf Bowman. The cast includes Collin Vorbeck, Meghan Newman, Jordan Fox, Frank Oakley III, Frank Lillig, Rasheedat Badejo, Anna Day, Petey McGee, Lindsay Lillig and Jeff Shehan.
Remaining performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 9 p.m. Saturday at the Phosphor Studio, 1730 Broadway.
▪ “ThisThatThen,” written and directed by Bryan Moses, associate artistic director at the Living Room. Described as a love story about two strangers who are confronted with a “bold proposal,” the show features Nicole Marie Green, Jake Walker, Jennifer Mays and Scott Cordes. Two more performances are scheduled at 9 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday at the Living Room, 1818 McGee St.
▪ “The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe,” also at the Living Room, is a musical that recalls the late days of vaudeville and the early movie industry. The show was written by Ben Auxier, Brian Huther and Seth Andrew Macchi and is directed by Jerry Genochio of Kansas City Repertory Theatre. Performances are at 9 p.m. Thursday and Saturday.
▪ “Bond: A Soldier and His Dog,” written and performed by Logan Black. Black has established himself as a talented actor, but he’s also a veteran of the war in Iraq. In this autobiographical show, he tells the story of his relationship with Diego, a yellow lab with whom he worked detecting mines and bombs in combat zones, and with whom he was reunited stateside. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Unicorn Theatre, 3828 Main St.
These are in addition to some of the shows mentioned in last week’s Preview: “The Hairy Ape” (Just Off Broadway); “Sue Aside” (Just Off Broadway); “Alphabet Soup” (Union Station); “Badder Auditions” (Union Station). And then there are the worthy shows I did see last weekend: “The Penis Monologues” (Unicorn); “Lovesick” (Unicorn); “Best Light” (Just Off Broadway) and “Love Me Tinder” (Unicorn Theatre).
For a complete schedule, go to KCFringe.org.
We are also entering the final weekend of the Invasion, the annual mini-theater festival of international artists at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, 3614 Main St. Prospective viewers can still catch performances by Bob Paisley in “Bill Clinton Hercules”; Nicholas Collett in “Nelson: A Sailor’s Story”; Ross Gurney-Randall in “An Audience With Henry VIII”; Gavin Robertson in “Crusoe”; Robertson and Collett in “Six-Sided Man” and Victor & Penny in “Project X.”