Fringe Review 'Roller Derby Saved My Soul'

click to enlarge 'Roller Derby Saved My Soul' at the Orlando Fringe
'Roller Derby Saved My Soul' at the Orlando Fringe
I've seen plenty of death-defying acts at Fringe already this year, but none quite as impressive as Nancy Kenny's ability to roller-skate in endless circles around the postage-stamp Black Venue stage while delivering hilarious and touching monlogues without tumbling off into the audience. I know nothing about roller derby beyond what I learned from the Drew Barrymore film Whip It, but Kenny's one-woman confessional, Roller Derby Saved My Soul, was delightful enough to make me entertain the idea of attending a match.
Roller Derby Saved My Soul
Broken Turtle Productions – Ottawa, ON, Canada
Venue: Black
Length: 60 Min
Price: $11 
Rating: 13 & Up – Mature Language
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To be honest, Kenny won me over to her side long before she strapped on her skates, as the opening scene had her sitting alone on her couch eating popcorn chips (which she generously shares with her audience) and watching a crucial seventh-season episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, wishing she too could be a lone-wolf superhero. Eternally jealous of her uber-talented younger sister, Kenny joins her sis's skating league on a whim, eventually working her way up from insecure newbie to top-scoring player. 

The roller derby rules read a lot like those of Quidditch, and remained equally confusing to me after Kenny's explanations, but no matter – the ecstatic empowerment she feels on the skating track is as invigoratingly infectious as her geeky pop-culture references (like a delirious slapstick dressing sequence set to Meco's disco Star Wars theme) are endearing. Nancy Kenny's Roller Derby Saved My Soul provides all the pleasure of a well-placed hip-check, minus the pain of getting fishnet-patterned road rash.
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