Beyond the Fringe
Sketches triumph in Oak Park Festival Theatre’s production of ‘Beyond the Fringe’
Doug Deuchler, Wednesday Journal
This landmark, influential show originated at the dawn of what would soon become a huge boom in satire. Although lots of water has gone over the comedy damn during the past half century, this highly enjoyable satiric sketch comedy classic still sparkles with sharp wit and hilarity. Director David Minks and his four-member ensemble present a delightful evening of tightly performed skits that are fast-paced, irreverent, and well-executed.
‘Fringe’ comedy is still far beyond ordinary
Tom Witom, Pioneer Press
…the seminal “Fringe” gets a good run for the money under David Mink’s keen direction. Mink’s sharp cast — featuring the theater company’s artistic director Jack Hickey, Mark Richard, Maggie Graham and Chris Ballou — lets its hair down and has a jolly good time as it works through the revue’s 16 classic sketches.
Beyond the Fringe Theater Review
Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
….Oak Park Festival Theatre’s Beyond the Fringe is a comic dream for Anglophiles. You can see how Beyond the Fringe inspired Monty Python’s Flying Circus with great absurdist sketches with funny play-on-words writing. And it’s also a treat think of how this influential, if very 1960s period material, launched the showbiz careers of Miller alongside future famed actors Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and acclaimed out playwright/author Alan Bennett.
Mink’s non-traditional casting for the show works, and the acting company all dazzle with their great comic timing and mastery of various British accents (particularly in the case of Hickey and Richard).
Richard and Ballou are particularly in fine form in the Act II sketch of a Bethlehem shepherd being interviewed by the Biblical rovi ng reporter Matthew, while Hickey is hilariously understated as a stiff-upper-lipped patriarch having a bit of chat about his misguided notions of human reproduction. Although her roles were not written for a woman, Graham brings a great energy to the show with her exaggerated facial expressions and officious bearing.
So if you love British comedy, Oak Park Festival Theatre’s Beyond the Fringe will definitely be your cup of tea.