CincyFringe Review: Harold

Terror is Funny.  Sitting by a campfire with a flashlight to your face telling a story while your friend hides in the bushes with a hook in his pants waiting for the right moment to jump out and scare the cute girls is funny for everyone.  It just isn't funny until after you calm down and release there isn't a man about to stab you to death.  Four Humor Theater's Harold brings the Funny to Terror and hits the Scarecrow out of the park.

Two goat herding brother arrive in a remote cabin to find they need for a Scarecrow to ward off the birds from their vegetable garden.  The isolation and a brotherly rivalry lead to tension that the two take out on the Scarecrow in the form of abuse.  That abuse leads to the Terror and gives a new story for someone to tell someday around a campfire.

A great set fit for goat herders, a haunting use of music, and smart use of darkness to build the tension all direct the audience to allow their senses, almost force their senses to believe they are in a rural cabin.  It works and the three actors brilliantly work together to make the Terror and the Funny meld.  Jason Bellweber stands out as the Scarecrow by using his ability to harness the tension from the self control and subtly put into his character. Brant Miller and Matt Spring blazingly embrace their characters and show the frailty, anger, and fear with invigorating depth.  They bring the energy needed to be the Funny that makes love to the Terror, in more ways than one, creating the focal point of the story.  The script also wonderfully uses various points of view to add layers to the story, keeping the audience in motion, never stopping the tension.

I would love to see this play made into a movie.  It might need a few variations to make up for the emotional connection live theatre gives you, but the story has the right mix of uniqueness and familiarity to fit on screen as well as on stage.  Until then, don't miss this great production.

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