Fringe 2019 Review: ‘Super Variety Match Bonus Round’

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Mags and Erns Eagleton (Elizabeth Murf and Rod Cathey) are a pair of middle-aged homebodies in the middle of Texas, whose lives have revolved around game show reruns ever since the passing of their wounded warrior son. One weekend, Rod opens their modest home to Chrz (Douglas Warren Jensen), a genderfluid pre-med dropout attending a Burning Man-esque desert bacchanalia outside their town. Chrz secretly doses the recliner-bound couple’s applesauce, sending them on a psychedelic trip to a vintage television quiz show, whose blue-haired host (Maria Flores) promises “that thing you want more than anything.”

Super Variety Match Bonus Round, which playwright Deb Hiett premiered in Los Angeles, comes to the Orlando Fringe with a first-rate cast, pitch-perfect projections and set pieces by Samuel Finken and Tori Oakes, and fast-paced direction by Tara Kromer. This surreal stew is overstuffed with a surfeit of subjects, including anti-immigrant racism, grammar-induced orgasms, contaminated tap water, mental health treatment and much more. Improbably, it somehow all solidifies into a satisfying whole. By using the trappings of a wacky, campy fantasy, this play addresses sensitive real-life issues with more empathy than many so-called serious shows, and manages to inject a surprising amount of heart along the way.

Super Variety Match Bonus Round
Jouska Productions
Orlando FL
Ages 13 and up
60 minutes
Thursday, May 16th 11:00 PM
Saturday, May 18th 5:30 PM
Tuesday, May 21st 7:45 PM
Friday, May 24th 10:45 PM
Sunday, May 26th 6:45 PM

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