‘If you are a fan of Mae West, rest assured that all (or most) of her most classic lines are recited in the Arts Asylum’s Fringe show, “The Sin-sational Mae West,” and that the heavily censored nemesis of broadcast and film found ways to push beyond the limits and change both Broadway and Hollywood.
Cut down from a full length production of the legendary buxom artist, the Fringe show captures Mae’s lines, persona, and highlights of the show. If you want Mae West, you will find glimpses of her at The Arts Asylum. The show was prepared by Kristine Norvaishas, who serves as writer/actress/impersonator of West.
“The ‘SIN’-sational Mae West is a snapshot of the life and career of the actress, sex symbol, playwright, and icon, Mae West. Highlighting her career from vaudeville to her time on the silver screen, all the way to her very public arrest for allegedly ‘corrupting the morals of youth.’” (KC Fringe)
The standout performance is Norvaishas as the movie icon. And, she struts and slinks and moves like the artist in her slow, sensual way as she teases the audience with her gyrations and swiveling hips. The character on the stage is a good representation of the legendary movie maven. Also of note, the lines delivered by Norvaishas are mostly projected so the audience can hear–if they sit near the front of the auditorium.
The main problem with this production is sound. Even sitting in the front row, words are not heard. The words projected on a screen are un-recognizable. This is a problem with The Arts Asylum. The space has a horrid echo and anyone without a microphone is essentially not heard. In this show, the only performer who really projects is the lead character. Others try to project and some are audible, but not all of their lines are heard or clear.
This is a Fringe show, so knowing the show is produced on a shoe-string budget, with a volunteer cast and crew, some of the sound issues are allowable. A person with hearing issues would not hear even the signature lines, and that hurts the piece–a lot. Another problem is lack of precision. Simple dance numbers are not in unison, and that distracts the eye and breaks the attention.
“The ‘Sin’=sational Mae West” give a nice glimpse into the legendary star of Broadway, movies, and even Las Vegas, but this show only gives an introduction to her. A good effort was made to cut down a full-length show to a Fringe entry, but far too much of West’s life is missing and not well seamed together.
Kristine Norvaishas as Mae West, Danise Deckert as Maude, Michael Eddy as Gregg/Lou/Announcer, Doyle Haverfield as Cop/Cary Grant, Tessa Luchtefeld as Gertie, Mark E. McNeal, Eli Peach as Duchess, Dav Riley as
Censor/Judge, Ryan Stevens as W.C. Fields, Susan Williams. The show was directed by Therese Riley.
“The ‘Sin’-sational Mae West” continues at The Arts Asylum. For specific dates and times, check out the KC Fringe website.
Tags: “The ‘Sin’-sational Mae West” review, Arts Asylum, Kansas City Fringe Festival, Kansas City Theatre, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment