Rogue 2020 reviews: ‘Jaguar and Heather,’ ‘Dangerous Curves,’ ‘Gobsmacked,’ ‘Let’s Prank Call Each Other’
Editor’s note: The Rogue Festival is taking things on a day-by-day basis. As I’ve already told you, Thursday night is a go. Here’s a statement from the festival’s board:
“The Rogue Festival is committed to completing the remaining three days of performances if possible, but we are evaluating the situation on a day-by-day basis. Thursday evening performances will continue as scheduled. We advise all persons who are feeling ill, are elderly, or have compromised immune systems to stay home. Our festival volunteers are cleaning surfaces in our venues and maintaining hand-washing and hand-sanitizing hygiene. Any change to our Festival schedule will be announced on our website, via Facebook and Twitter, and in our e-newsletters by 2 p.m. Friday and noon on Saturday.”
With that said, I’m happy to offer Rogue reviews for the festival’s second weekend. You can find reviews on the Rogue website, and Kings River Life is compiling a whole bunch of them. I enlisted some guest reviewers to help me out.
‘Jaguar and Heather Save Your Marriage’
By Shane Moreman
Jaguar Bennett and Heather Parish, stalwarts of the Fresno Rogue Performance festival, look as pleasant as a wedding cake topper as they stand at the light-filled edge of their Veni Vidi Vici patio-now-stage. Of course, certain elements are, um, off. Bennet’s knit tie? Too casual for wedding formalities. Parish’s black dress? The opposite of virginal white. And they need to switch spots so that the bride is on the left and the groom on the right.
Related stories: OPENING NIGHT: MY PICKS FOR THE ROGUE FESTIVAL AS THE FROLICKING BEGINS
And: FRIDAY CORONAVIRUS ARTS UPDATE: CANCELLATIONS BY FRESNO PHILHARMONIC, FRESNO STATE
Visually, they prepare us for nuptial knowledge that may run contrary to what we think we already know. With a self-help show title, “Jaguar and Heather Save Your Marriage,” the acting duo comedically offers the front-stage and backstage of matrimony. As the audience hard-winces and then belly-laughs, Bennett and Parish parlay our good time into some good advice without ever letting us misunderstand the importance of levity against the ideal.
The concept: Bennet and Parish offer insight on how to make marriage work. From scripts on stands, they deliver satirical and sardonic sass that is clever and downright practical. For example, Bennett quips: “Telling people why you don’t like them, doesn’t make you like them back.” In all the years I’ve watched Bennett, he is at his best in this particular show. He funnels his wisecracker wit through a slight self-deprecating tone that’s provoking and endearing. Parish’s deadpan delivery calls it like she sees it. And she sees it with blue eyes that say more than words as she banters with Bennett through side glances, dead-on stares, and coy flashes.
The high points: The Fresno Rogue Performance festival offers opportunities for artistic risk. Sometimes, the risk is miscalculated. “Jaguar and Heather Save Your Marriage” is an example of a risk that pays off. Indeed, their calculations are spot on with laser-focused comedic timing, professional-level theatrical craft, and polished and pithy script writing. The show has an arc that moves the audience from one place to another. By the end, you’re wiping tears of laughter and cheering for the underdog — all of us imperfect people seeking an intimate life with other imperfect people. And there stand Bennett and Parish to offer all of us forgiveness, through a show that’s pure perfection.
The takeaway: Say “I do” to this show. (Hey, they’re the funny ones, I’m not.) But really, go see this show.
The details: 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12, 6:45 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at Veni Vidi Vici. Extra show 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 13, at Spectrum Art Gallery. Tickets are $7 (Rogue wristband required).
Related stories: OPENING NIGHT: MY PICKS FOR THE ROGUE FESTIVAL AS THE FROLICKING BEGINS
And: THURSDAY CORONAVIRUS ARTS UPDATE: CANCELLATIONS BY FRESNO PHILHARMONIC, FRESNO STATE
By Jocey Thieman
The concept: In this comedy act, a sisterly duo performs public acts of flogging in an 18-and-up, audience-involved show. Bring a good sense of humor and friends for this sex-positive show. You are guaranteed to laugh all the way through.
The high points: These ladies do a wonderful job of jokes for every generation. The script is playful and for the lighthearted. With this interactive show, you get tons of laughs, especially if someone you know is up for the flogging.
The not so high points: Not for families, unless everyone is 18+ and very comfortable around one another, or those who may be sensitive to sex-related content.
The takeaway: The fun-loving flogging duo has a well performed act that is worth the public humiliation if you are one of the lucky picks to be on stage. If not, you are guaranteed to get in some great laughs.
The details: 5:30 pm Friday, March 13, and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at the Revue. Tickets are $10 (Rogue wristband required).
Jocey Thieman is a student in Donald Munro’s spring MCJ 2 newswriting class at Fresno State.
‘Gobsmacked: The Magic of Tim Mannix’
By Rebecca Rendahl
The concept: Tim Mannix is a Fresno comedy magician and mentalist. His one-man act, “Gobsmacked,” appeals to all ages and includes some incredible mind-reading tricks, a fun card trick or two, and comedy that had me laughing so hard I almost fell out of my little plastic chair in the back of Hart’s Haven, a quaint used bookstore.
The high points: The performance was not on a grand stage in Las Vegas, but rather on a small elevated surface a short 10 feet in front of me. Without blinking once, the magic was happening right in front of my eyes and still Mannix pulled off some incredible stunts. The magic tricks got increasingly more and more complex, starting with a basic rope trick and ending with a card trick so incredible it had the volunteer spooked! This young girl couldn’t believe he had just made her card appear in a snake’s mouth. Only after jumping a mile did she find out the snake was actually fake, which made the audience laugh uncontrollably.
The not so high points: The only flawed trick was his very first one. Upon realizing that Mannix truly messed his trick up and it wasn’t just a joke, a wave of disbelief and awkward silence filled the room. Despite the cringy moment, Mannix quickly recovered and turned his failed attempt into something quite humorous. Actually, the fact that he messed up his first trick made the audience engagement even stronger. Everyone kept watching and waiting for him to mess up again, though he never did.
The takeaway: It is apparent that Mannix really loves what he does, and his interaction with both kids and adults proves that it’s a show the whole family can enjoy. Mannix creates a fun, light-hearted environment while still being able to blow your mind. It’s rare when a person can turn an ordinary bookstore into an extraordinary experience
The details: 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 13, and 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at Hart’s Haven. Tickets are $12 (Rogue wristband required).
Rebecca Rendahl is a student in Donald Munro’s spring MCJ 2 newswriting class at Fresno State.
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‘Let’s Prank Call Each Other’
By Gisselle Acevedo
The performer and concept: Zach Dorn used puppetry and multimedia tools to conduct his show, “Let’s Prank Call Each Other,” with a comedic, but relatable, concept.
The high points: I enjoyed the creative used of recycled materials to create little puppets and drawing of materials, which were then displayed on a projector screen with a live digital camera. I can tell that it took a lot of practice in terms of timing because the background music and sounds had to come on at the exact same time that he picked up the camera to film his puppets/drawings. There were a lot of relatable comments that he made and skits that seemed to be from his perspective, which was refreshing and unique. There were a lot of funny comments, figures and skits. I enjoyed his added emotion/personality. It made it more enjoyable and fun for every moment, without becoming boring or static. Plus, I really enjoyed his stories. It made it seem like we were looking into his past with him and viewing all the stories of what he went through becoming a puppeteer.
The low points: The only low point that I could think about is there were certain moment throughout the show where I could not tell if it was a part of the show or real. For example, he would stop the show, and something would malfunction only to become fixed right away and the show would continue. I realize that it was most likely a part of the show to add more comedic relief, but those parts during g the show only made me feel confused and uncomfortable because I felt that I did not know what was going on.
The takeaway: Continue pursuing your dream, even if the world tells you not to, as long as you are happy and content. Also, I got to take more of a look on how artists use physical arts and media and crafts tools, combine them, and create a whole show. I did not think that such small materials would be able to have such a lasting impact upon an audience member like myself.
The details: 7 p.m. Friday, March 13, and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at Dianna’s Studio of Dance. Tickets are $12 (Rogue wristband required).
Gisselle Acevedo is a student in Donald Munro’s spring MCJ 2 newswriting class at Fresno State.