For veteran Fringe goers, the old Media Bridges venue on Central and Race is now Elementz, and rather than a first-floor venue is now a cozy, cool third floor venue (with elevator access and a bonus view via their spectacular roof garden). MixTape, presented by Theatre 3 from Tucson, Ariz., is
a charming suite of Dell’Art- style physical theatre (read: clowning) by Matt Walley as R.G. Chesterton, the saddest clown in the history of clowns, and Angela Horchem, who appears with a wave of a sexy, gloved arm and plays multiple others including an old man and a washerwoman. A handful of props are presented early on to tickle the imagination: What could that bucket and pocketbook be for? What? Two glasses of water? How did they do that? How will they use them?
The props that were not theatrically presented and we assume live naturally in the backstage world of these travelling clowns prove to be the most useful and powerful. An umbrella, a baby pool and a bottle of water provide the most beautiful image of the night: Walley’s patient, nurturing, slightly addled Chesterton makes his own rain to bring his flower back to life. That said, I am still puzzled about the calendar: Why October 2013?
The show is set up as a MixTape and is a mixed bag of, for lack of a better word, skits. Some moments are quite charming, others quietly moving and a handful feel as though your slightly drunken aunt and uncle decided to take up clowning. There is a nifty soundtrack with most songs hailing from the cassette era of the late ’70s to ’90s and plenty of winsome physical comedy. Walley’s Chesterton had the advantage of character development and long, silent, heartbreaking stares. Horchem had to do more heavy lifting in charming us swiftly with less interesting characters. (They are colleagues of the Wonderheads, and having seen last year’s spectacular Grim and Fischer, I am now forever jaded when I see another clown/puppet version of “old person.” Having also seen 7 (x1) Samurai in 2009, my bar is set over-the-moon high when it comes to mime work.)
In the end, this 60-minute, good-natured confection left us smiling and better acquainted with a number of our fellow Fringe patrons, as Theatre 3 very nicely engages the audience throughout. It contains 100-percent family friendly content and is a win-win for those looking for the theatrical equivalent of a cool glass of water on a hot summer Fringe night.
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: 7:15 p.m. May 31, 8:30 p.m. June 4, 7:15 p.m. June 6 and 3:30 p.m. June 8 at Elementz. Find more of CityBeat's ongoing 2013 Cincy Fringe Festival coverage, including performance reviews, commentary and venue details , here.