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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Fringe 2018 review: 'An Excruciatingly Ordinary Toy Theater Show' is in fact extraordinary

Posted By on Sat, May 19, 2018 at 12:34 PM

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Pittsburgh puppeteer Zach Dorn is nervous to the point of neurosis about his Orlando Fringe appearance, since our sister publication Creative Loafing panned his Tampa Fringe appearance. But even if he gets off to an awkward start by flossing popcorn from his teeth for an opener, stick with him and you’ll be rewarded with one of the most wonderfully whacked-out experiences of this year’s festival.

Dorn transforms anecdotes from his everyday life into pint-sized performances, which play out on flipbooks and miniature stages he’s made out of cardboard; the results resemble a pop-up storybook for clinically insane children. Zach’s surreal skits – which are projected on the theater’s upstage wall behind him – involve eating burritos in a strip-club parking lot, feeding sauerkraut to Chloe Sevigny, and his love/hate relationship with YouTube; the briefest, most inexplicable bit, is simply a wind-up turtle gyrating to Olivia Newton-John.

Even if he appears at first to be a hot mess, Dorn’s precision in livestreaming his ingenious dioramas demonstrates a remarkable dedication to his craft. In his finale, Zach describes an obscure backstage video of Stevie Nicks as “a moment we weren't meant to see, and probably don’t deserve.” The same could be said about his exquisite, extraordinary show.

An Excruciatingly Ordinary Toy Theater Show
Zach Dorn – Pittsburgh, PA
18 & Up – Strong Language, Mature Themes
60 Minutes
Black Venue
Friday, May 18th 6:00pm
Saturday, May 19th 1:30pm
Sunday, May 20th 3:00pm
Wednesday, May 23rd 7:30pm
Friday, May 25th 6:00pm
Saturday, May 26th 3:00pm
Sunday, May 27th 1:30pm
Check out ALL of our Fringe 2018 reviews at

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