Orlando Fringe 2023 reviews: ‘Ain’t Done Bad’

The most polished, professional, propulsive piece of contemporary dance theater in Fringe history

[Editor's note: This is a rerun of our 2021 review of the same show. The show producers informed us that dancers Gabriella Sibeko, Ryan Redmond and Miles Yeung have replaced Lauren Cannon, Reed Tankersley and Tanner Wilson, and some songs were replaced due to music licensing, but otherwise the show remains "relatively similar."]

With Ain’t Done Bad, dancer-choreographer Jakob Karr has gifted the Fringe with the most polished, professional, propulsive piece of contemporary dance theater in the Festival’s 30-year history. Karr (an alumnus of So You Think You Can Dance and Cirque du Soleil) stars in a story inspired by Reba McEntire’s “Fancy” as filtered through Orville Peck’s catchy pop-country albums, playing a small-town boy who leaves behind his protective mother and disapproving father for lust and love in the big city.

His Manhattan-based dancers — Lauren Cannon, Adrian Lee, Jordan Lombardi, Ian Spring, Reed Tankersley and Tanner Wilson — are all incredibly skilled technicians, and it’s thrilling to see a stage full of male dancers who can be powerfully masculine and simultaneously achingly vulnerable. Karr’s thoughtfully developed choreography reminds me in the best way possible of modern masters Mia Michaels and Pina Bausch, and his cast conveys their characters clearly without heavy-handed overacting. Joel Zishuk’s textured lighting is some of the best I’ve ever seen in the Silver Venue, designer Zachary Feivou’s spinning mirrors are simple perfection, and even the scene transitions are utterly seamless.

At a certain point, I stopped taking notes and simply marveled at the show, which is just about the highest praise I can offer. You done bad if you ain’t already made plans to see this superlative production.

Location Details

Renaissance Theatre Co.

415 E. Princeton St., Orlando Ivanhoe Village


Ain’t Done Bad
Jakob Karr

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