Sunday, June 12, 2022

Bad World—Crave theatre—SE Portland


Tangerine Dreams…Icicle Kisses

    This original, Live musical is written by Kylie Jenifer Rose,James Liptak, Jennifer Provenza, Rachael Singer, Michael Cavazos, Ashley Mellinger, Maya Maria Brown, and Zeloszelos Marchandt.  Music by James Liptak and Kylie Jenifer Rose and lyrics by Rose and Jennifer Provenza.  It is directed by Rachael Singer and Jennifer Lanier.  It is playing at the Shaking-the-Tree space, 823 SE Grant St. through July 3rd.  Full covid protocols in place…vaccine cards, masks, etc.  For more information, go to their site at or call 360-931-5664.

    Once upon a time there was a little girl named Rose who grew up in a fun and loving family (good world).  As she got older, she dreamed of distant lands and all the magical things that could happen there (good world).  Finally, she decided on  a career in the arts and to travel to Gay Paree (good world).  But Rose (Kylie Jenifer Rose) was now a young adult, and out on her own, and the dreams she had would soon be dramatically altered by some ruthless beasts who would shatter those dreams (Bad World)!

    This mostly sung play is a map of the journey, cathartic for her and educational for others.  As she traverses her own path down memory lane, she is joined by other selves; other victims of sexual abuse; and even the strangers themselves, played in a mostly jazz, concert style, in dance and song, as a reflection of her inner artist.

    These three remarkable people that share the stage with Rose, filling in the blanks of her tale/memory are Zeloszelos Marchandt as Langston, Gayle Hammersley as Zaria and Kayla Leacock as Linnea…and they are terrific!  Being victims themselves, they are all a part of Rose’s, Symphony of Life, and she a part of theirs.  They struggle valiantly; they harmonize beautifully; and they relate a too, oft-told tale of abuse by an ignorant, brutish gender that feel they are the superior race and demand submission by all others… “a tale told by an idiot!”

    The is a play you simply must see to appreciate and it is a safe space to explore this very destructive trend in our society.  Rose is a very brave lady and an absolutely amazing singer and actor! And hopefully this show is Broadway-bound, as it is topical in content, and professionally done in style.  Liptak’s music is magical, as it always connects seamlessly with the lyrics.  Not only that, but the lighting (Griffin DeWitt) and set (Yelena Babinskaya) throb in unison with the music and plot.  A union, I would say, conceived in a…Good World!

    I highly recommend this musical.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.



Friday, June 10, 2022

Mr. Madam—Triangle Productions—NE Portland


“An Awfully Big Adventure”

    This Live dark comedy is written by Donnie, directed by Donald Horn and is based on the writings of Kenneth/Kate Marlowe, featuring Wade McCollum.  It is playing at their space at 1785 NE Sandy Blvd. (free parking lot next to the building) through June 25th.  Be advised that full Covid protocols are in place…vaccine cards, masks, etc. (also restricted to those 18 and older only, please).  For more information, go to their site at or call 503-239-5919.

    From the mouths of Peter Pan (who is often played by a girl, by the way) and the Lost Boys, to the orphans in Annie, who must live “a hard-knock life,” childhood can be a scary thing.  But in those formative years, our personalities are emerging and will lead to who we are as adults.  And it is also the ages in which we discover our self-identities.  I think it’s agreed by most experts that we all have a masculine and feminine side, regardless of our physical gender.

    Mine is my Muse, who developed all my creative writings and reviews, and I trust her implicitly.  The subject of this play, Kenneth/Kate Marlowe (Wade McCollum), also has a Muse who fosters his/her writings, as this play is base on that life, much of it in print.

    Marlowe has a less than glamorous beginning, as spewed out by an alcoholic mother (who wanted a girl) and a father “who was in love with long-distance.”  But he was very sexually active from a very early age with other boys.  As he grew, he found his life-calling (more or less) in being a hair-dresser.  He also liked dressing up in women’s clothing and make-up, and ended up becoming a drag queen.  Even worked in a club ran by the mob. He also ran a call center, who got him a lot of prospects and even found, for a while, a sugar daddy.  And his little stint in the army gave him a hard-hitting dose of reality for those such as he.  Eventually, finding the courage in the 70’s to become—Kate!

    I have skimmed over his story because it pales in comparison to McCollum’s performance in relating it, and to Donnie’s amazingly, poignant script of his journey.  This is something you have to experience for yourselves and I guarantee you will be profoundly moved, as was I!  You will also see yourselves (and others) in the character of Marlowe, as he is first and foremost, I believe, very human and that is what softly explodes in your hearts and minds as you listen to his/her story.

    McCollum is a consummate artist, being able to paint a vibrant personality, exploring every nook and cranny of one’s being, and stitching together its threads to create a rich tapestry…a cornucopia of adventures, that exemplifies who we are! And he plays to perfection all those side characters he meets, as well!  Out of the hundreds of plays I have reviewed, I can count on one hand those that could equal McCollum’s performance here!  “May you live long and prosper!”

    And Horn’s script should be Broadway-bound (but only with McCollum as its star and Horn as its director)!  Donnie has managed to present a riveting story of what makes us who we are.  I think this is Horn’s best work and, further, I think you should not miss seeing it!  Bless you, Horn, you have a treasure here and it should be shared by the world!

    I highly recommend this play.  If you do see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.


Monday, June 6, 2022

Julia’s Place—Imago Theatre—SE Portland

Graphic Design by David Deide

 Once Upon a Time…Ever After

    This World Premiere LIVE production is written, designed and directed by Jerry Mouawad and produced by Carol Triffle (co-founders of Imago).  It plays through June 18th at Imago’s space, 17 SE 8th Ave.(off E. Burnside).  Parking can be an issue, so come early.  (Covid protocols in place…vaccine cards, masks required and spaced seating).  For more information, contact them at or call 503-231-9581.

    Since Mouawad cites Ionesco’s play, Rhinoceros, as an inspiration for his piece, I think it only fair to give you a brief overview of the underlying substance of that avant-garde play, written several years ago.  There is also a fairly good film of it starring Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder and Karen Black.  Any resemblance to real life is purely…intentional:

    “Imagine a circumstance where an incompetent, egomaniacal boob stands up in front of you, spewing out utter nonsense and promising to fulfill this blather if he were King.  Then imagine a circumstance where this nitwit is offered just such a position, and his herds of followers bow to his every whim, and blindly accept every blathering he utters.  Soon they are espousing his “holey” words as truth, even as the world they knew and loved collapses around them.  In the end, he leads them to a cliff and proclaims they should all jump.  In this setting, those beings are called lemmings, in this incarnation of them in this play, they are called Rhinos.

    The above definition holds pretty true to form for Julia’s Place.  Julie (Carol Triffle) is the owner, cook, server, et. al. for this little establishment located (perhaps) on an “Ill-Land,” resembling an European cafĂ© on the road to Forever.  It’s main dish, is not the food (except for some stale saltines) but its motley crew of what may be the last vestiges of civilization, as we know it.

    There are the two regulars, consisting of Porkchop (Josh Edward), a dishevel prophet (aka, John the Baptist), spewing words of seeming nonsense, professing we are all just stories…and stories within stories.  Then there is his best pal Ralph (Noel Olken), a more studious and reserved sort (looking much like a young Einstein), who has a “thing” for Julia.

    Into this dubious haven from life’s pitfalls, bursts Leonardo (Christopher Kehoe), like a big-game hunter, looking to bag a prize beast.  Also, on hand, to complete this picture of instability is Poem (Laura Loy), whose heart has been broken by a lover who has deserted her.  Oh, yes, there are a storm of rhinos (Cosmo Kay & Olivia Vavroch) marauding the streets in packs, in search of what…a mate…to merge with the conforming crowd…to evolve into the next step of Evolution?

    But where did they all come from?  Most of the characters seem to have an odd yearning, and yet revulsion for this new, dominant tribe.  Or is the quest much simpler…will Porkchop ever get his desired slice of lasagna?!  You just have to see it and draw your own conclusions as to the meaning of it all.

    Mouawad’s casting, as always, is unique and they fill every inch of these improbable characters, chief among them is Edward, as it’s his narrative we follow, and he is marvelous in his zaniness to hold these fragile threads of humanity together, even when everything around him is unraveling.  The puppeteers (Kay & Vovroch), too, are to be given kudos as, even as shadows, they exude an eerie menace, not to be ignored.  And Mouawad’s script, of the avant-garde genre, is chilling and thrilling, as it seems to speak to the root of nightmares, where only the brave may tread!

    I highly recommend this play.  If you do see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.