Harrison Held's SceneAroundTown

Special Hollywood Fringe Festival Report

I had a great time watching 5 feisty fabulous Hollywood Fringe solo shows online this year...  I would've preferred to see them in person at the Broadwater Theatre - Black Box on Santa Monica Boulevard but with the current covid climate I thought watching them online would be best.  There was so much talent and creativity on the stage. This year I had the pleasure of watching Naturally Tan , written and starring Tanya Thomas, I Heart Maroc , written and starring Azo Safo, REDEEMher written and starring Tatum Langton, The Whistleblower , written and starring Johnny Avila, and I Have Too Many Feelings written and starring Bethany Vee.  All these terrific solo shows were developed and directed by the talented  Jessica Lynn Johnson  www.soaringsolostudios.com       

Tatum Langton in REDEEMMher
Photo by Daniel Sripuntanagon

REDEEMher starring Tatum Langton, is a heart wrenching and often funny story of an attractive young Mormon lady who becomes an actress and how she must deal with her beliefs, her husband,  her loved ones and her church.  The lovely and talented Tatum Langton is a relatable excellent story teller drawing audiences in with her sincerity, humor and hope for a successful life against shocking adversity.  

Tanya Thomas in Naturally Tan
Photo by Jessica Lynn Johnson

Naturally Tan, starring Tanya Thomas, is a dynamic terrific one woman show about an attractive mixed actress from Singapore & the great racial obstacles she must overcome to be her authentic self and  live her life to the fullest. Ms. Thomas is a very polished actress equally well versed at comedy and drama and an excellent storyteller. She seamlessly performed over 35 characters and reminded me of an exotic Sandra Bullock.

Azo Safo in I Heart Maroc
Photo by Jim McCaffree

I Heart Maroc is a fun, funny &  fast moving solo show starring talented Azo Safo, about a  lovable charismatic young Armenian American lady who joins the peace corps and the obstacles she must overcome while serving. This winning solo show was the shortest show of the group I watched and  was very entertaining, illuminating and full of humor and soul.  Ms. Safo engaged the audience thoroughly. Her journey to discovery and truth is inspiring terrific and heartfelt and told with great  spirit, humor and sincerity.

Johnny Avila in The Whistleblower

The Whistleblower is an earnest winning one man show starring Johnny Avila, about a well meaning agricultural teacher in the Santa Barbara area who must stand up for himself and his students when an evil corporate  nemesis threatens their world.  This solo show was  energetic,  very enlightening and educational and the actor's  multiple characters were commendable, touching, funny and serious  This true story is very inspiring but a tad too long.

Bethany Vee in I Have Too Many Feelings

I Have Too Many Feelings starring the lovely and talented Bethany Vee, is a very entertaining, inspiring and winning solo show about a lesbian actress who has fought tooth and nail to be her authentic self.  Her difficult journey was very poignant and very funny.   Ms. Vee is an excellent stand up and a very likable lady with sincerity and guts. I liked her use of including humorous video footage and her story sheds a lot of  light why not all prescribed medications are  suitable for all patients.   This funny and talented lady  found herself and it is a joyful humorous and commendable  triumph.

After watching all 5 of these winning solo shows online I decided to venture in person to see the highly recommended The Dean's Office.  Strict covid regulations were in place, everyone had to wear a mask and no one was allowed in the theatre without proof of vaccination or a recent negative covid test.  I thoroughly enjoyed The Dean's Office which is well written by talented  Joyce Lee and well directed by Sherrie Lofton.  This gritty, daring and very well acted ensemble piece starred Nadege August, Darrell Phillip, Tory Devon Smith, Minerva Garcia, Yolanda Romersa and Helen Duffy. It's a shocking very timely, fast moving must see story about systemic racism in education told over the course of 3 decades that kept the audience glued to their seats and the talk back which followed was very interesting and poignant. Each member of the cast shined and was excellent.

Naturally Tan won Pick of the Fringe and Best of Broadwater 2021, so the encore is this Saturday, September 4th at 3pm at the Broadwater Black Box.

I Heart Maroc is a winner of Best of Broadwater 2021. There will be one more performance this Sunday, September 5th at 3pm at the Broadwater Black Box.

The Dean's List won Best of Broadwater 2021.

Posted By Harrison Held on September 08, 2021 06:38 pm | Permalink