FRINGE REVIEW: Mouthy Bitch

Photo by Mikki Schaffner
Photo by Mikki Schaffner

The character in MOUTHY BITCH, played by Kelsey Torstveit, certainly is.  A very mouthy bitch. But an insightful one.  And an incredibly funny one.

I consider this solo performance a must-see of The Fringe, but I will warn you – it’s not for the faint at heart.  I was actually somewhat surprised that no one walked out of the theatre; some of the things that come out of her mouth are more than foul – but not for the sake of being so.  In fact, this brilliant script contains some of the must descriptively offensive sexual references I’ve ever heard on stage or off.   And Torstveit delivers it all with style and gusto.

We, the audience, are at a seminar, and our host is a sort of feminist motivational speaker.  With lots of baggage.  Some of it is heart-wrenching to hear her re-live; but playwright Dennis Bush manages the horrific stories with plenty of hilarity.  His descriptive language maintains an air of honesty and realism while describing things not ordinarily discussed in polite company with zeal.

Torstveit is exactly the actress for this part.  It was written for her by Bush, who was a teacher of hers.  They’ve formed a working partnership since – but this is the first time this particular play has been performed.  In fact, this the first time this actress has performed on stage alone.  You’d never know it, though.

I’ve been a fan of hers since I first saw her in THEORY OF MIND, a touring show from the Playhouse in the Park aimed at adolescents. Then she stole the show in their children’s show, BIRD BRAIN.  She’s understudied roles in PETER AND THE STAR CATCHER, CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION, and VANYA, SONIA, MASHA, and SPIKE.  In this play, though, she is bold, brazen, and completely fearless.

There is a moment where things border on preachy; however that’s sometimes how TEDtalks go.   In fact, everything about MOUTHY BITCH feels authentic, even down to the lack of curtain call.  Go see it.  And since you won’t get to give her the standing ovation she deserves, be sure to tell Kelsey how good she was when you see her out and about at the Fringe.

MOUTHY BITCH runs Sun 5/31 at 7:40, Wed 6/3 at 6:30, Friday, 6/5 @ 8:30, and Sat 6/6 at 3:30 in the Art Academy’s Auditorium.  Click here for more information.

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