Fringe 2019 Review: 'Death Face'

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Last year, writer-director Adam McCabe confronted Fringe audiences with a grim sci-fi fable about a world where people can be murdered with the flip of a switch. This year, he returns with Death Face, a high-concept black comedy that’s equally as edgy and misanthropic, although with more morbid laughs.

Kelly Kelly (Jerry Jobe Jr.) is a messenger for Buhu (pronounced “boo hoo”), a near-future corporation that profits off the social media apocalypse by delivering painful personal news that people can’t bear – or be bothered – to say for themselves. After witnessing a client’s violent demise, Kelly goes into a depressive spiral; his platonic work-wife Peggy (Leigh Green) attempts to pull him out of it, while his other co-workers (Cassandra Heinrich, Adam McCabe, and Brett McMahon) seem intent on triggering his PTSD.

To call Death Face ambitiously overstuffed would be an understatement; McCabe (who also plays two roles) packs his play with Rick & Morty-esque cartoonish cynicism, bitter-pill morality lessons, and rapid-fire repartee right out of a screwball romance. Sometimes the soap opera storyline strays into sincerity, but then it yanks the audience’s chain with lowball yuks. The tone swings abruptly – intense interpersonal drama one second, fourth-wall breaking gags about menstruation and incest the next – and the script’s winking acknowledgment of its own gimmickry doesn’t entire defuse criticism of it.



However, there’s a truly intriguing idea at the core of McCabe’s play, and as a director he pulls some powerful performances out of his fellow actors, especially Jobe and Green. Death Face is likely to be just as divisive as Adam’s earlier works, but love it or hate it, it’s undeniable that as an author, he’s developing a uniquely identifiable voice all his own.

Death Face

Wicked Tongue Arts
Orlando FL
Green
Ages 18 and up
60 minutes
$10
Friday, May 17th 10:30 PM
Saturday, May 18th 9:00 PM
Monday, May 20th 9:00 PM
Tuesday, May 21st 11:30 PM
Friday, May 24th 9:00 PM
Saturday, May 25th 12:00 PM
Sunday, May 26th 8:30 PM