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Reviewers chose whether or not to include their names within the review.

Ghostly Podcast

  • The “Ghostly Podcast” paired with a latte was a delight at the Blue Box Cafe! Family friendly with an extra flavor shot of morbid humor, and delicious history that was truly an homage to Elgin’s history, I can’t recommend the group enough to ghostly believers and skeptics alike. Key takeaway: don’t hang out in Bluff City Cemetery alone (ever), and invest in zinc for your headstone!

  • A special live recording of the Ghostly Podcast was a relaxing change of pace in the more casual Blue Box front of house. The 3 hosts share Elgin specific ghost stories and urban legends as well as an open debate between believers and skeptics as we worked together to determine the legitimacy of photographic evidence of paranormal activity. This podcast was lighthearted and family friendly. Tune into this episode which will be available to stream on Wednesday.

Adrian Mesino

The Mayfields

  • The Mayfields at the Martini Room were charming, funny, and, mind-blowing! I promise, I was only halfway through a martini and I witnessed a man’s head shrink right before my eyes! Pro-Tip: Audience interaction is key to full enjoyment of the performance, so be sure to get there early for a good seat and to get your drinks ahead of time.

Mike Lemme: Healing+

  • Mike Lemme speaks to the heart of every Millennial. Both hilarious and poignant, Mike doesn’t shy away from the awkward. He embraces it. I walked away feeling understood, and better about everything. He’s right about Carnegie Hall’s motto: Life isn’t just about “practice, practice, practice.” Success is built by our relationships, and our zeal for life. Thoughtful, silly, and heartfelt, his standup is one not to miss!

- Katrina Syrris

  • From the beginning comedian Mike Lemme made his presence known. Mike learned our names, established our roles, and after this brief introduction we are launched into the show. His bold entrance at the Fringe Fest Preview Party at Martini Room, where he proudly proclaims his opposition to “paying your dues' to an audience of artists who couldn't agree more; this caught my attention. Equal parts one-man show, stand-up, and performance art, Mike Lemme weaves hilarious story lines whose direction changes unexpectedly from the absurd to the beautifully sinceer, the artist makes an effort in tying up any loose ends along the way. 

​- Adrian Mesino

Melanie Mosley: Polyamory the Musical

  • Melanie Mosley shows her range in her one woman show Polyamory the Musical. The memorable songs and story format explore the complexities of Polyamorous relationships and the journey to owning our desires. Expertise in the topics discussed however is not necessary, expect the truth here. The distinct roles which Mosley transitions between kept the story's pace moving nicely. Mosley's essay style was brought to life by the distinct characters which filled up the performance area. Mosley's piece paired well with this intimate setting to deliver a consistently funny and meaningful performance.

Adrian Mesino

American Maniacs Unlimited: The Death of God on the Frontier

  • The American Manic Unlimited players performed with great intensity, their commitment to properly worn masks is commendable. In their show Death of God on the American Frontier, nothing was lost from this experience with their lack of oral expression, in fact this added a very real challenge to their show and like any prop it should be considered. The maniacs engaged in a variety of genera's using their streamlined production as an open platform for the four to show off their versatility, adopting a number of roles each, highlighting each other's strengths. An unexpected highlight was a mime and Foley artist pairing which made me realize how well timed and clever their choreography had been through the show. I commend their commitment to experimenting with visual elements and inserting comedy in unexpected ways. 

Adrian Mesino

Parker Forest Olson: Welcome, Home

  • Parker Forest Olson's production, Welcome, Home tells the story of a  household dealing with the aftermath of loss. The embodiment of home now lost leaves our protagonist without a space or role to truly inhabit. The cast displayed strong character through their performance, delivering lines with confidence, their chemistry is noticeable. The entire production moved together very smoothly, down to the musical transitions which added to the moments of tension and relief. Welcome, Home is a strong production with a cast that made it memorable.

Adrian Mesino

Night Moose 

  • Night Moose treated us to the company specific style of improvisation where the small suggestion becomes large in a crociendo of humor. The group of 4 worked together to push each other's ideas with some memorable moments in the first act. Concluding with a dirty joke joke-off the Night Moose Improvisors are not afraid to take it there.

Adrian Mesino

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