FRINGE 2019 CRITIC'S PICK: 'Dandy Darkly’s All Aboard'

"Dandy Darkly’s All Aboard" is Fringe theatre at its finest: an outlandish collision of styles and stories that provokes visceral reactions

click to enlarge "Dandy Darkly's All Aboard" - Paul Corning Jr.
Paul Corning Jr.
"Dandy Darkly's All Aboard"

Twisted and timely, Dandy Darkly’s All Aboard: Southern Fried Tales of Sex and Death is a dazzling display of skillful, solo performance. Frosted with ruffles and glitter and drenched in plot-relevant costume jewelry, drag clown satirist Dandy Darkly invites audiences aboard the runaway storytelling train that speeds them off to the remote backwaters of Gaybird, Georgia, where the Gaybird Express has just barreled off her tracks. A ghoulish and grim tall tale, Dandy Darkly’s All Aboard is an uproarious and vivid ride that tours through the foul underbelly of greed and racism in the United State's Deep South.

On a cool Halloween evening, the Gaybird Express train wreck takes place as an innocent young boy traipses through the dark forest in his favorite costume, accompanied by his Auntie Nancy. After stumbling upon an ominous assembly of ghosts gathered deep in the woods, the boy is changed forever when he narrowly escapes both the wreck and the malicious apparitions.

But the derailment is only the beginning. In Gaybird, there is always more to the story: Who are the ghosts that lurk in the woods? What grotesque secrets do they hide? As Dandy swirls and sashays across the stage, seizing the audience with hilarious portrayals of Gaybird’s eccentric citizens and nightmarish landscape, more substantive questions emerge: Can any of us truly face the frightening realities of contemporary life? Or would we prefer to bury the unsightly truth beneath a mountain of stuff, bad TV shows and cell phones?

Dandy Darkly’s All Aboard is Fringe theatre at its finest: an outlandish collision of styles and stories that provokes visceral reactions — both belly laughs and tears — even as it powers deep into complex territory, addressing politics, culture, gender, capitalism and courage along the way.

The Cincinnati Fringe Festival runs through June 15. Find showtimes, tickets and more info here. Check out more reviews from our CityBeat team here. For a comprehensive list click here