THE ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, FORGET-ABOUT-IT, LAST NIGHT AT VON DAHM’S SPORTS BAR, WING HUT, AND KARAOKE PALACE (Actors International Theatre): Fringe Review 48

Founded by members of the National Stuttering Association, Actors International Theatre is committed to employing actors with disabilities with the goal of altering global and personal perceptions of limitations. The actors in THE ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, FORGET-ABOUT-IT, LAST NIGHT AT VON DAHM’S SPORTS BAR, WING HUT, AND KARAOKE PALACE are also members of NSA; some of them have never been onstage before. This shows: There are some dropped lines and some line-readings that could be drawn from an Xtranormal video. But there’s a charm to see amateur actors create a world onstage despite their shortcomings and director Kathe Mull has done a admirable job in coaxing viable performances from her cast.

absolutely-actors-international-fringeSean Grennan’s  original script, specially commissioned for the company, is well-crafted with light-hearted humor (“whatever happened to Dan Rather” “He’s still alive” “Yes, but whatever happened to him?”). Sue Camlin plays Barbie, a widowed bar owner forced to close because her friend (Katherine Filer) sold her property across to street to make way for a now-popular Applebee’s. (Connor Smith has crafted a convincing bar set on the small Shubin Theatre stage). Old regular Bigby (Gary Auker) stops by to help her pack up. They share memories, jokes, and some karaoke songs (all of non-copyrighted material, which means some delightful 1920s duets: “Ain’t We Got Fun“). Some Fringe Festival shows display great production values and artistic quality. VON DAHM’s isn’t one of those shows, but those aren’t the only things that make theater is a joy. [Shubin Theater, 407 Bainbridge Street] September 13-15, 2014; fringearts.com/the-absolutely-positively-forget-about-it-last-night-at-von-dahms-sports-bar-wing-hut-and-karaoke-place.

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Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.