Petunia and Chicken (Review - Critic's Pick)

Sick of cynicism?Sarcasm overload? Impatient with imps and people who cut in line? You need a love-laden dose of Petunia andChicken!

Critic's Pick

Sick of cynicism? Sarcasm overload? Impatient with imps and people who cut in line? You need a love-laden dose of Petunia and Chicken!

Starring two multi-tiered actors from the Animal Engine Theatre in New York City, you will be transported via ship and train to the American prairie (and even to Alaska) through many character voices, mime, song, dance and poignant storytelling. Performers Karim Muasher and Carrie Brown are a formable team — onstage and off, as they are getting married. (They also created the show, with direction from Melinda Jean Ferraraccio.) They work together beautifully, telling a tale of immigrants moving to Nebraska, young children growing up together, falling in love, experiencing a separation, and finally a reunion.

Brown (Petunia) has a background in professional clowning. Her facial expressions and physical control of her characters are fascinating to watch. She is at once a child, a teen in love, her mother, her grandmother, a horse, a dog — and too many other roles to mention. She melds seamlessly into each character. Love makes her simply lovely. Petunia is in love with Chicken, played with a breathtaking range of depth by Muasher. Chicken used his hat as a cat, a Bible — and a hat. One of the reasons I dig the Fringe is the small, intimate venues, and the space at 1334 Main Street was perfect. I was fortunate to sit in the front row; every wrinkle, every smile, every raised eyebrow, every kiss was LIVE!

This is an exquisite show. When Petunia and Chicken reunite at the end of the show, you feel good. You are happy and hopeful. You know you are in the presence of love. As well as damn fine theater.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, 9 p.m. Thursday and 7 p.m. Saturday at 1134 Main. Find more of CityBeat's ongoing 2013 Cincy Fringe Festival coverage, including performance reviews, commentary and venue details, here.

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