By Bob Evans
Sometimes a show surprises the audience with something completely unexpected as does “Respectful Prostitute” where the story does concern a prostitute, but in a way where the focus becomes right verses wrong, white verses black, and social position sways victims into unplanned circumstances.
Sex, lies, and honor get a different look when She and Her Productions lays them out in front of audiences after a street-wise prostitute with a heart of gold becomes embroiled in the death of a train commuter. Even though the prostitute knows what she witnessed, outside forces begin to hammer at her to cloud her memory and rewrite her experience,
Power, money, social status, greed, and race–all contribute to the spellbinding but painful story of a young whore’s journey to hell as she is coerced into compliance by powerful, rich, outside forces.
“Our show, ‘The Respectful Prostitute’ is such an important Fringe show to see. Cori (Weber), Jamie (Weber) and Lewis (Morrow) did a wonderful job adapting and modernizing the script. A great choice they made was to make the Senator’s Son Fred into Winifred. It brings more dimension to that character, and the show all together,” Tiffany Schweigert, of She and Her Productions, said.
Changes pay big dividends in this hour long production at The Unicorn Theatre on the Jerome Stage. Opening performance saw a capacity crowd there to cheer on the play. Tickets for future shows will sell quickly as word of mouth spreads. The show is phenomenal; the actors, riveting; and the result, chilling. This stands to be in contention for BEST OF FRINGE. Most certainly, “The Respectful Prostitute” will compete for Best of Venue.
As noted the change of character from Fred to Winifred opened a new approach to the story of a prostitute entangled in a murder. The LGBT community, long ignored, comes front and center with the “trick” becoming a woman instead of the typical male. A whole new mind-set premiers with this change of character.
Knock-out performances only heightened the drama and message of “The Respectful Prostitute,” A the two central characters Jennifer Coville as the prostitute and Cori Anne Weber as the senator’s daughter commanded the stage with compelling force. The cat and mouse game they played as they finagled their way through their relationship proved authentic to audiences. As the theater cleared, many comments praised their performances and presentation of the characters. The casting of them by director James Weber solidified the play.
Supporting cast members in the form of the wrongly accused and the senator sprang to life by way of Steven Hence and Peter Leondedis. Although their on-stage time is limited, both deliver strong performances. Steven Hence breaks the audience’s heart with his need to escape his destiny as a Black man wrongfully accused of a crime to save a prominent White man’s reputation. Peter Leondedis plays the skin-crawling, creepy senator whose charm, money, and smooth talking can sway the honorable to perjure herself to please him.
What starts as a simple story of a girl on girl sexual encounter quickly erupts into a dark drama with dire consequences for one person. Innocence sometimes changes to sinful. Lives spin out of control for a single mistake, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. “The Respectful Prostitute” brings top caliber acting and a chilling story to the public to enjoy.
Tags: She and Her Productions, The Unicorn Theater, “The Respectful Prostitute”, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment, Kansas City Fringe Festival