Dallas — There’s been a murder! No, a double murder! Now a sex murder! And it’s up to Butt Kapinski (Deanna Fleysher) and the audience to suss out the unlikely culprit. Or, at least that’s the conceit in Fleysher’s quizzically amusing, part improv, part noir performance show at the Dallas Solo Fest. Of course, though, it’s about so much more.
The Butt Kapinski character is a cartoon mash-up of noir tropes. Trench coat, sunken eyes, slicked down hair, permanent scowl, “voice over” narration, and a single bulb lamp sprouting out of the back of said coat, painting Kapinski in stark, low-key light. In the neo-noir fashion, the show is exceedingly self-aware and laces its hard-boiled plot with some strong social commentary.
Skulking about the space, Kapinski pieces together the narrative of a murder, casting audience members as victims, cops, witnesses, and even background music.
Fleysher is more successful at garnering audience participation than others. A lot depends on the audience, and she was fortunate to have a good one on her opening night. To that end, most of the amusement of the piece isn’t in its construction, but in the uncomfortable and nervous laughter of people put on the spot, followed by the more belly-originating laughter that comes when someone really sells out for it.
In fact, while generally enjoyable, the show doesn’t really do much…or so she’d have the audience believe. To discuss too much would reveal spoilers, but the theme of gender roles is subtly distinguishable throughout the performance, and confirmed in its conclusion. All couched in an atmosphere of play, which makes this the most fun and playfully poignant murder investigation of all time.
» Butt Kapinski, which is for adult audiences only, plays at the following times at the Margo Jones Theatre:
- Friday, May 23, 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, May 24, 9 p.m.
» To see a full festival schedule, go here