Theatre Review: Awkward Silences

review

kc-fringe-logo“Ice Cream Social … Issues”, written by Natalie Liccardello; produced by Phoenix KC Theatre (part of the KC Fringe Festival): seen July 21, 2012

The basic plot of “Ice Cream Social … Issues” is simple: a family (some extended) is throwing an intervention for Jordan, who’s “on the crack” – but each family member has their own issues and secrets, whether it’s alcohol, pot, eating, or Xanax. As the afternoon progresses, they each end up going after the others in a fierce battle of personalities. And of course Jordan, who had figured out that the ice cream social was not just a party, doesn’t even show up until the end.

As a script, Natalie Liccardello (who also wrote “Pies from the Porn Kitchen”) and her sister Talia definitely have a good basis. There are some good laughs and some biting interactions.

Manon Halliburton is the strongest, and fits right in as the stressed party organizer, maybe due to her turn in the Rep’s August: Osage County, which has a lot in common with this script. However, I was constantly aware of how aware the rest of the cast members were of the audience – too many conversations were held with each person facing front instead of each other, with Meredith Wolfe as Lauren the worst offender. Maybe it was intentional – trying to be symbolic of how these people are not really talking to each other – but for me it just made me constantly aware that this was ‘just’ a play and made it hard for me to buy in to these characters and this situation.

I left not sure what to think of the play. Definite potential, but I just didn’t feel it. “Ice Cream Social … Issues” performs three more times during the 2012 Fringe, and tickets are $10. More information can be found at http://www.kcfringe.org/2012/artist.php?ID=140 .

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