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Dallas Solo Fest's First Weekend Was Filled With Strong Performances

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Audacity Productions’ Dallas Solo Fest at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park is presenting its second celebration of short shows written and performed by brave souls who aren’t afraid to go it alone. The standouts from the first weekend of the eight-show festival were Jill Vice’s Tipped & Tipsy and Van Quattro’s Standing Eight Count.

Vice, an L.A. import, played a dozen characters in a grungy bar, arguing, flirting, kibitzing. Working on a bare stage, Vice displayed impressive physical dexterity and vocal variety to portray bartender, waitress and a saloon full of customers. Conversations stopped for a detour into “Great Moments in Drunk History,” a litany of hilarious intoxication disasters. Great show, masterfully rendered.

Quattro, a Dallas actor and writer, launched Standing Eight Count (on again at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Sunday) at last spring’s Out of the Loop Festival, but he’s done some rewriting and he and director Clay Wheeler have added more boxing choreography. This is deeply autobiographical stuff about Quattro’s year as a heavyweight boxer-in-training in Los Angeles. At 19, he was an aimless, heartbroken addict until a chance encounter with Manny, a patient fight-trainer who was willing to take on a “blue-eyed palooka” who hadn’t even finished high school. In 75 minutes, Quattro recreates the punches he threw and took in the ring, giving a knockout performance as his younger self and, back in the present, revealing the thoughtful man he fought to become.

Second weekend additions include Bremner Duthie’s ’33: A Kabarett, a ghostly journey in which his character sings the tunes of acts who died long ago. Duthie, from New Orleans, is a regular on the major fringe circuit, selling out shows in Edinburgh, Berlin, Prague and elsewhere. We saw him at the New Orleans Fringe. He’s a sleek and witty performer, a mesmerizing singer with a love for minor keys and poetic lyrics in great old songs. (This one’s on at 9 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3:30 p.m. Sunday.)

Dallas Solo Fest continues through June 14 at the Margo Jones Theatre, Magnolia Lounge, 1121 First Ave., in Fair Park. Tickets $12 per show at 214-888-6650 or dallassolofest.com.

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