FRINGE 2020 REVIEW: Dream&

If you’re looking to get a little trippy and explore the nature of connection and fulfillment, Dream& hits on these points and more

click to enlarge FRINGE 2020 REVIEW: Dream&
Photo: Provided by Fringe Festival

Raise your hand if, until this weekend, you’d hadn’t seen any of your friends in 65 days! (It’s me; I’m raising my hand now.) The Queer Feminists Next Door from Cincinnati know exactly how you feel. In a proudly queer, definitely trippy and song-filled journey through social isolation, Dream& explores the concept of life beyond our known reality and the truths about ourselves we might encounter there.

The story begins when Iz gets assigned to Emma’s case in a secretive mission and literal dream vacation through Iz’s unconscious to save the multiverse. Along the way, Emma encounters new friends, dimensions and ideas never experienced before. But most importantly, Dream& is about seeking and craving connection.

The production was filmed and is streamed virtually, adding an interesting layer that helps drive the idea around the toll of isolation. When each character breaks out into song, it reminded me vividly of watching videos of Italian citizens who raised their voices in song under quarantine in March and early April of this year, starved of human connection and desperate to feel together in any action possible. Though the characters were together, the actors were not, which brought a lovely loneliness to the scenes.

As Emma continues on her journey seeking the human connection she thinks will make her feel whole, she discovers that each person she meets seeks the very same thing, almost as if each encounter is a window into a different version of herself, existing in a different universe, pursuing the same dreams in different ways. Through this realization, Emma comes to understand that true fulfillment derives from one's self, not from others or from career or life accomplishments.

Dream& offers meaningful insights and sweet character development in its musical journey. Some songs were catchy, but most feel a little one-note and forgettable. The most impactful and beautiful musical moment in the production, in fact, came from the show’s lovely opening harmonies. 

If you’re looking to get a little trippy and explore the nature of connection and fulfillment, Dream& hits on these points and more in an increasingly relevant, pandemic-influenced and completely original Cincy Fringe production.


The 17th annual all-digital Cincinnati Fringe Festival runs through June 13. Get tickets and show info at cincyfringe.com.



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