The 2021 KC Fringe Festival returns to virtual reality

Randy Ross

Just last July, we thought the pandemic would surely end soon. Yet it is not yet. This year’s KC Fringe Festival, from July 18 to August 1, remains virtual like last summer.

As an advantage, an online Fringe is also a digital cornucopia: a menu of dance, music, movies, stories, word, shows for one person, plays and musicals. Just watch the show you’d like (Fringe offers this year 48) whenever you want. There is no juggling, maneuvering and tightening on your visits or recommendations from attendees; there are no attempts to work multiple or conflicting shows on a schedule that will not always give.

KC Fringe has a wide variety of display options: $ 5 to $ 10 per program, depending on the length of the program, or all-access season tickets: $ 25 for one day, $ 60 for three days, or $ 100 per week. Or, you can go out of style and get a $ 200 VIP pass, valid for three weeks through August 8th.

Mooney Tim

Timothy Mooney. // Photo by Brian McConkey

It’s often hard to choose what to watch, but this challenge is also part of Fringe’s fun. This year, the performers originate here and abroad. So far, several have piqued my interest.

Timothy Mooney, of Timothy Mooney Repertory Theater, returns to KC Fringe for the eighth time. The perennial lover of the people of Illinois channels this time the seventeenth-century French playwright Molière Molière Than Thou, which Mooney has performed more than 500 times since 2000. The individual play, which includes excerpts from several of Molière’s classic comedies and satires, was named Best Adapted Work by the San Francisco Fringe Festival. As we approach Molière’s 400th anniversary next year, this “big hits” program seems like a good place to start.

I discovered storyteller Martin Dockery at Virtual Fringe last year and have been following the Brooklyn actor-playwright ever since, watching his pandemic performances online for the past few months. His saga of spoken words from a single man An easy lie it is a fun and captivating thread that arises from simple everyday life. He appears under a beard and pandemic hair from a Montauk shelter, building a delicious detail on top of another. The duration of an hour and a half is worth every minute exquisitely developed.

Heidi Van directs the production of Bodhi Theater Roar: a new musical, written by Kevin and Allison Cloud, with musical direction by Jeremy Watson. Described as a “family musical,” it tells the story of Sarah, a dancing bear who is forced to act but has her own aspirations. Ultimately, Sarah inspires other oppressed bears to raise their voices.

Billed as a work of reading, Because of sex, by Bryan Colley and Tara Varney of KC, was recorded for the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Four actresses portray the main suffragettes, sing songs of the time and talk about their long struggle, sometimes with humor, to win the right to vote.


Martin Dockery. // Photo by Victor Trejo

After last year, many have a new tendency to travel. But a few years ago Randy Ross, self-labeled as a Boston man, visited four continents and doesn’t seem to be having a great time. Tell us why a Tales of a reluctant world traveler, suitable for “quetches and misanthropes,” as well as for “book lovers, writers, and travelers.” Most of us probably fit in somewhere.

“Inspired by real events”, Gaddafi’s cook transforms the experiences of a diplomatic chef into a story of two Mexican chefs in Muammar Gaddafi’s kitchen recreating (on stage) their favorite dishes or their “metaphors of oppression”. It has been said that the show connects “food, passion and power”. Sounds like the kind of thing that begs for taste.

The Fringe Holidays of Canada and Florida have been praised Becoming Magic Mike: An action adventure comedy. Washington’s DK Reinemer solo show has little plot, but involves a lot of acting, in a comic play about a “narrow-eyed detective” who goes undercover as a male stripper. I’m not sure I need to say more.

KC SKIPPY, also known as Luke Harbur, gives us a beatbox master class in his program Here’s why Beatboxing will change your life, which includes an interactive beatbox lesson. The artist informs us and interprets the art form. He sells me only for his enthusiasm.

It is now or never: my life in the Middle Ages is an individual show by Judah Leblang, a Massachusetts writer and narrator who has composed stories from his life, some funny, about the consequences of growing up.


Converted to Magic Mike

Other shows of interest: from Rising Tide Productions by KC, Far from ages is a play by Emmeline McCabe about two 20-year-old millennials struggling and trying to navigate the challenges of living. From South Dakota, Triple Bypass is a compilation of three short works “on living by death and dying by life.” From Orlando, My dear Debbie gives the appearance of I Love Lucy“I have a feeling it’s anything but.” And RiSE (Repertory in School Empowerment), a program at the Black Repertory Theater in Kansas City, In his words is a collection of five original plays by high school students produced during the “Covid year”.

You can preview shows on the KC Fringe website for additional interesting options. See, click the “For Audience” and “Find a Show” tab. On this page, you will find a link to 2021 teasers to see brief excerpts. (You’ll also discover other festivals in the city; click the “Attend” and “Want More Fringe” tabs). Then make your viewing selections and enjoy the shows.

KC Virtual Fringe Festival 2021, July 18-August 1, visit for tickets and the $ 5 Virtual Fringe Button

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