American folk hero returns for third installment


By Bob Evans

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For his third installment in Fringe Huckleberry Finn pieces, playwright Phil Kinen crafted his best piece with “Huck Finn and the Mystery of the Ominous Shadow” currently playing at the Just Off Broadway Theatre for the 2018 Kansas City Fringe Festival.

Kinen’s piece runs about 52 minutes and keeps the action fast-paced and the characters fun and exciting to watch. The two-person play relies to lots of dialogue–especially from the main character, Huck Finn, played again by Jake Leet. His partner in crime, Silas Condesent slithers and sways with panache as played by Vincent Wagner. Both actors play wide and grand in this installment of the Huck Finn saga that Kinen crafts.

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Huck’s adventures leads him out West where he meets fellow writer Silas Condesent, who despises Huck for his style, the tone of his stories, the legend Huck created. Yet, the two adversaries, both writing under pseudonyms strike up a relationship to collaborate on a series of mysteries. Huck’s character and persona makes the stories more and more popular, yet something is dreadfully wrong.

“A 26-year old Huck Finn finds himself collaborating on fictitious murder mystery news articles alongside his despised rival newspaper reporter, the arrogant and sophisticated Silas Condesent. Yet, the popular articles inspire the murderous Ominous Shadow to sadistically recreate the stories on unsuspecting victims as he hunts down the duo to create their demise. Strangely, Huck’s own feelings toward his adversary, Silas bring into question the mysterious emergence of his own inner ominous shadow.”” Phil Kinen said of his play.

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As the stories by Huck and Silas continue to attract readers and the publisher pushes for more, some strange, unaccounted and unsolved, gruesome murders begin occurring nearby. Murder after murder appears to resemble a published story by the dastardly story-telling tandem. Huck and Silas believe it to be the work of their most famous character, the Ominous Shadow. As the murders continue, the writing duo believes the Shadow stalks them and seeks their demise.

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Get ready to be captivated by Leet and Wagner as they take on the characters of Huck and Silas. Both play well together and obviously have great trust and respect for one another as they cavort through this production. They both give charmingly funny characters and bring some fun, laughs, and merriment to the Just Off Broadway Theatre.

For those rushing from theatre to theatre during the Fringe, be advised that a food truck sits in the parking lot of the JOB theater and serves a variety of hot food items for those wanting more than theater concessions. Adult beverages are also available at the concession stand.

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Tags: KC Fringe Festival, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment, “Huck Finn and the Mystery of the Ominous Shadow”, Just Off Broadway Theatre


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