Fringe 2019 Review: 'Meatball Seance'


John Michael just wants to introduce his new boyfriend to his mother. Unfortunately, she died a little over 2 years ago. Still, that’s not stopping him from whipping up a batch of her famous homemade meatballs in hopes of resurrecting mama for a metaphysical mangia. Between sharing fantasies about being anally violated on the Second City stage, and telling touching tales about cracking mommy’s clandestine beer cans, this Puckish performer (who wears a backless apron and little else) whisks his viewers on a wacky, campy romp through grief and reconciliation.

At this point, you likely have so many questions, which I’ll attempt to answer:
—Yes, the meatballs are cooked onstage, with the assistance of an audience recruit who must mash raw meat and eggs with their hand.
—No, you're not allowed to eat the meatballs after the show.
—Yes, this show is heavy on audience participation, but (pro tip) you can avoid being picked by crossing your arms.
—No, I don’t entirely understand what it all means.

But John Michael’s irrepressible exuberance – which grows more intensely invested as his show’s absurdities exponentially multiply – is irresistibly infectious. And his final revelation about becoming the vessel for his mother’s spirit may have made me tear up ... or it could have just been all the chopped garlic.

This only-at-Fringe experience is a lot weird, a little wonderful, and if nothing else, made me hungry for a big plate of pasta.

Meatball Séance
John Michael
Chicago IL
Ages 13 and up
55 minutes
Friday, May 17th 7:00 PM
Saturday, May 18th 7:15 PM
Monday, May 20th 10:45 PM
Wednesday, May 22nd 7:15 PM
Friday, May 24th 5:45 PM
Saturday, May 25th 1:45 PM
Sunday, May 26th 4:30 PM  

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