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American Conspiracy

ensemble theatre · cyanide theatre · world premiere · United States of America

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June 15, 2018
IMPORTANT NOTE: We cannot certify this reviewer attended a performances of this show because no ticket was purchased through this website or the producer has not verified they attended.

What I liked

Great acting, writing, and direction.

What I didn't like

My wife had to explain the end to me and sequencing of events. Lol. It makes sense now though!
I’m an idiot.

My overall impression

This is so far my favorite piece yet offered by fringe veterans Ben Schwartz (playwright) and Matt Ritchey (director). American Conspiracy is an excellent ensemble piece where we see how far desperation (personal, financial) can push one family member from another. When does selfishness kick in? Is escape from these forces is even possible? This crisis is embodied beautifully by Spencer Cantrell as he is hopelessly prodded by the endlessly watchable David Garver. Cantrell and Garver together pop with energy and intensity. Hank Doughan who plays Hinkley makes a hilarious introduction to the show and possesses a believable and pitiable isolation. I won’t get into the connections between the characters as that might spoil plot. I will say that Schawarz has exceeded himself with dialogue threading its needle into the heart while also throwing the occasional relevant pop culture reference (Taxi Driver anyone?) and masterfully layers the story of Jane and her mother Fran over the events as a mirror of the show’s central theme. To that effect, Katelyn Schiller is breathtaking, heartfelt and accessible to anyone sitting in that audience. Ritchey knows she needs to be and does the greatest service any director can do for a show which is to let the truth of the characters shine forth. Ritchey has mad skills at his craft and could easily have thrown a bunch of pomp and bombast to the staging but his sensitive ear to Schwartz’s tale seems to insist on commitment to character first, to the point where “direction” is almost imperceptible and we are just free to experience the world as it is. This is one of the top Ensemble offerings of substance at this year‘s Hollywood Fringe and people should take note.

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