Saturday, September 19, 2015

Kelly Bolton at Elgin Fringe Festival

Life is surprisingly full for each of the quirky characters played by Kelly Bolton in her one-woman show "Lonely, Flirty, Weird" Friday night at Elgin Fringe Festival. Her string of almost twenty 1-3 minute humorous vignettes developed those themes with well-written monologues, costumes, props and vocal affectations.

"Thirty-five and Single" might have been the center of gravity for a wide range of personalities preoccupied with relationships, sex, food and awkward conversation.

Kelly Bolton performs at the 2015 Elgin Fringe Festival.
Photo by Scales Off Media.

A muumuu-clad, coupon-clipping housewife offered a little TMI to open and close the show. During the intervening 35 minutes we met a lady mad scientist, a nervous airline traveler, a talkative cinema patron, and a barista with imaginary animal boyfriends.

Bolton has a gift for capturing glimpses of human eccentricities in these brief but well-composed snapshots, complete with closing captions that are essential to the effect.

We could construct a sophisticated subtext around a theory of survival that surfaces in her animated riffs on diversion, impersonation and self-defense (though never hiding).

But that would be seriously overthinking what is really a clever concept album of sassy, funny sketches with a beat you can dance to.

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