The first sketch in Poking Fun — Annie and Crystal, an overlong and unfunny look at girlfriends, boyfriends and where the twain meet — had me contemplating poking my eyeballs out, just to get out of what looked to be the longest hour of my life.
But in true Fringe fashion, the rest of the sketches by local playwright Larry Stallings — who’s very appealing in two roles here — produced by the Center Players of the Roth Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando, were a pleasant surprise, at least by comparison.
In A Breath of Fresh Air, Shay Cambre and Eric Kuritzky shine as a May-December pair of newscasters who pack an entire relationship into a few short broadcasts. In Car Salesman’s Handbook, Stallings blends a sweet vulnerability with knowing regret when confronted by a customer (Danielle Spisso) who turns out to be something else entirely. Got Murder? brings a sharp change in tone — it’s a shocker, tackling an issue that will resonate with many long after the show is over.
60 minutes, Blue Venue, $9, Orlando Fringe Festival official page.
• Thursday 17 May; at 7:15pm in the Blue
• Sunday 20 May; at 11:00am in the Blue
• Tuesday 22 May; at 6:45pm in the Blue
• Friday 25 May; at 5:15pm in the Blue
• Sunday 27 May; at 3:15pm in the Blue