REVIEW: Killjoy, Ohio

Kirk Sheppard
May 30 · 2 min read
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So, this year’s Cincinnati Fringe Festival is a unique one, for sure. One hundred percent digital, it’s been interesting to see how my favorite Fringers have adapted to the online platforms. Some have stuck with that they know — live theatre filmed (without an audience) for the screen. Others have wholly embraced technology and taken their work to a new level. The variety of offerings is intriguing, and it’s great to see that people have accepted the challenge.

Trey Tatum is such a prolific writer; it makes me a little angry. Other writers are equally or even faster content-machines, but few are as talented. His Fringe scripts over the last several years win award after award — and rightfully so.

KILLJOY, OHIO has an engaging script. As per usual for Tatum, there are a lot of words for the characters to say, and in a traditional Fringe space, it would likely hold an audience’s attention — maybe more so than it does on the screen.

Director Bridget Leak takes a minimalistic approach. It’s a socially distanced performance, using Zoom to connect Tatum with his scene partner, Jordan Trovillion. Text on the screen notes at one point that Tatum is a “reluctant” performer; he’s an engaging personality who does well in front of a live audience. Trovillion is an accomplished actress. But acting online is extremely difficult; the chemistry you have with your partner is a lot about shared energy.

The sound effects and atmospheric music does give the show some cinematic elements, and the subtle but colorful lighting cues also give a window into what might have been done had COVID-19 forced Fringe to go digital.

I think KILLJOY, OHIO is a well-written story; It’s more a “filmed play” than a show created for a digital platform. I wonder what would have happened with a big budget, a year to create it, and a professional film crew. I wonder what would happen if Trey Tatum wrote a movie?

Magic, I think.

Watch this video interview with Trey, Bridget, and Jordan about the show here:

This year’s Cincinnati Fringe Festival is 100% online. Check out cincyfringe.com for all the details!

The Sappy Critic

Theatre reviews and features about theatre in the Greater…

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