Sunday, September 17, 2017

Robert Frosty Theatre Co. at Elgin Fringe Festival

Don't be fooled by the makeshift set, exaggerated stage combat and ridiculous premise. "Andrew Jackson: American Maniac" stands as proof that the actors of Robert Frosty Theatre Company actually know what they're doing.

Part history, part fantasy, lots of comedy — Frosty has created its own genre of theatre, based on plots filled with famous personalities, shameless use of pop culture references, and fluid timelines fraught with anachronisms. It simply can't be judged by the standards of legitimate theatre.

Yet these skilled actors can project their lines without shouting, take full control of their performance space, and handle any degree of full-body physical action that the script requires. Did we mention the script?

Robert Frosty Theatre Co. at Elgin Fringe Festival.

"Jackson" chronicles the past, present and future life of America's seventh President, the temperamental Father of the Democratic Party, famous for the Indian Removal Act and his zest for dueling. According to Frosty, he also plays a mean guitar and sports a bionic arm.

You'll spend half the show laughing and the other half holding your breath, as you watch a great cast doing what they love to do, in their own way, on their own terms. That's when artists are at their best.