Orlando Fringe review: 'Strange Dreamz with Kevin J. Thornton'

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Kevin J. Thornton returns to Fringe with funny, frank bits that range from why 15-year-old boys love living room furniture (and sometimes peanut butter) to his first sighting of male strippers on the old “Real People” TV show to his grandpa’s guitar.

The set looks ready for stand-up comedy, but Thornton’s act (“90 percent new, 10 percent lazy,” he says) is more storytelling than punch lines -- with  fab-but-faded references to Chess King and the Columbia House Record Club thrown in.  The vignettes are punctuated with remarkable vocals in a handful of songs, including “Teenage Dream,” “Edge of Glory” and “Natural Woman,” all sung straight.

The tunes are certainly the straightest part of the hour. Thornton enthusiastically, sometimes explicitly shares about having two boyfriends (“I know I’m destroying the sanctity of gay marriage.”);  his teenage exploits with Vaseline and a mannequin;  and his confusion over straight men who act gay. He kind of misses the old days when heterosexual men were on the defensive side:  “I’m going to need you to homophobe it up a bit.”

He drifts into serious topics such as Christianity and the cost of AIDS care. Then, randomly, he strips down to a pair of gold lame stretch pants. (This could be cut from future shows as there was a “ventilation” issue, um, down there.)

The show and those shiny, tight pants have similar qualities. They don’t have many secrets and they’re not for everybody, particularly folks who don’t want to let it all hang out.

60 minutes, Brown Venue, $11, Orlando Fringe Festival official page.

Showtimes

  • Thursday 17 May; at 12:00am in the Brown
  • Saturday 19 May; at 10:45pm in the Brown
  • Sunday 20 May; at 4:20pm in the Brown
  • Monday 21 May; at 10:00pm in the Brown
  • Thursday 24 May; at 7:30pm in the Brown
  • Saturday 26 May; at 8:00pm in the Brown
  • Sunday 27 May; at 9:00pm in the Brown
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