In Bill Rogers’ (“Caldwell’s Bomb,” “Collisions,” “Wild and Willful Women,” “Death and the Publican”) dark comedy, a paranoid playwright, a porn actress, a broken acrobat, a neurotic farmer, and a New Jersey plumber, who may be a hit man, meet in a secluded Missouri farmhouse in his newest entry into the Kansas City Fringe Festival, “Dangerous to Dance With.”
His array of colorful, yet broken, characters search for new meaning as they attempt to move forward. Together they face one of life’s most pressing questions: should they laugh, or should they die?
“Dangerous to Dance With” features: Victor Raider-Wexler, Vince Monachino, Coleman Crenshaw, Kelsea McLean, and Jim Hopkins under the directorial expertise of Diane Bulan who keeps the piece tightly connected and fast paced.
The piece reminds the reviewer of the short stories of Ernest Hemmingway, most notably his short stories similar to “The Short Happy Life of Francis McComber” and other short stories. The main character in “Dangerous to Dance With” is a big game hunter and a “man’s man” as were most of Hemmingway’s characters. The balance of the characters share flaws like in the Hemingway novels. Many are broken and looking for repair.
In “Dangerous to Dance With,” a schizophrenic writer believes that someone wants to kill him so he always carries a handgun with him. He’s a hard drinker (and a mean drunk), when the spirits overcome him. When sober, he’s not easy to work with either.
The main character is a drunk, estranged from his daughter, afraid of people stealing from him, and worried that his next play will not receive backing and production. He surrounds himself with other broken individuals that make his plight seem more normal.
Victor Raider-Wexler portrays the plagued writer. Coleman Crenshaw plays an emotional and physically crippled ex-performer. Kelsea McLean plays an ex-porn star with sexual problems and connections. Vince Monachino portrays a farmer trying to get a signature to lease property for his pickle crop. Jim Hopkins plays an “assumed” hit-man, that the playwright thinks has come to murder him so he can’t change his will.
The dark comedy is just that–dark–very dark. The cast is amazing and the directing created a perfect blend with that talented cast. The show is a good piece and well worth the admission an hour’s time slot.
The show continues at the Off Center Theater in Kansas City’s Crown Center. For more information on “Dangerous to Dance With” and other shows, check out the Kansas City Fringe Festival’s website.