Fringe 2009: Review—”Casebolt and Smith: Speaking Out!”, Five stars


by Matthew A. Everett | 8/6/09 •

Beautiful and Funny, Dance Mixed With Comedy

“Hey, do you want to go over there and not have sex?”

Casebolt & Smith

Casebolt & Smith – Speaking Out!

Wow! That was fun!

(And also really unexpectedly touching.)

[and by that I mean both – really touching, and really unexpected]

single white fringe geek is the blog of matthew a. everett. in addition to being one of seven bloggers covering the minnesota fringe festival for the daily planet, he blogs throughout the year about theater and culture.

I knew from the Out-of-Towners showcase that Casebolt & Smith were two dancers Mom and I needed to get on our schedule. Their deconstruction of a routine of dance moves, each with a potential sexual charge, was hilarious for the audience because of the disconnect between what looked like it should have been awkward, and the fact that both dancers couldn’t seem less interested in one another’s body parts – except for their role in getting that dance routine down just right. (It’s highlighted in the couple of the video clips below. Check it out, you’ll see what I mean.)

Grace, and a sense of humor – always a good combo for accessible entertaining dance. The full Fringe production begins with grace, the aptly titled “Two Minute Duet To Open The Show” – Liz Casebolt and Joel Smith in blue shorts and light blue tank tops cut a lovely pattern across the floor and through the air.

Then, with “In The Space Provided” – Liz and Joel give us a glimpse into how they became Casebolt & Smith. First there is a sequence of moves, both graceful and goofy, with no context or explanation. Then, pulling on various layers of clothing, they launch into the story of the day they met. How their days began separately, and then they met in an audition. They then tuck themselves inside the story, and become themselves, back then. They strike up conversation. Small random details about themselves, personal trivia. As the moves continue, and the stories become more detailed and personal, the layers of clothing are peeled away. Their hugs become less awkward, and more caring. She’s straight and married. He’s gay and single. But they both share a love of dance. The layers of unfamiliarity and self-protection get peeled away with those clothes. And when we return to the opening moves again, they have words and a context. It was simple, but quite lovely. The grace and the humor now had an added element of humanity – as we get to know them, getting to know one another. Quite lovely indeed.

“After Words” was the deconstruction of the sexually charged dance moves – even funnier at its full length (oh, word choice, sorry). Now, because the audience sort of knows them, this piece has an additional context. The gay/straight, male/female dynamic gets picked apart as well. Again, initial moves that have no context of their own are revealed to have a different story when the routine circles back around to them again. One last hurdle to the routine – the audience expectation that a man and a woman walking off into the dark together most likely leads to sex. How to get around it? Perhaps just state that it’s not gonna happen, people. Once more, graceful and very funny – but also keeps the brain giving past assumptions second thoughts.

The final piece “In Other Words” consisted of the two dancers doing a little hand choreography. They stand before a table filled with green plastic toy soldiers. At first they place their hands carefully, so as not to disturb the soldiers. Gradually, the soldiers get moved aside to make more room as the moves continue. Finally, the soldiers are just shoved off the table altogether, a few at a time, as the movements become more insistent, taking up more room both on the table, and in each other’s personal space. This was an interesting piece to watch, focused as we were on a much smaller area, with symbols aplenty to contemplate. After all, sometimes a toy soldier is just a toy soldier. And sometimes it’s not.

Grace, humor, humanity. It’s a great way to spend an hour of your Fringe. Like taking a deep breath. And letting out a sigh. [Bonus points from a gay friend of mine – When Casebolt & Smith came up in conversation the other night, in addition to agreeing that we loved the show, we also both admitted we think Joel Smith is pretty dreamy. Liz, also lovely, so it’s really equal opportunity eye-candy here, people. Neither of them may be available, but at least the Fringe gives us an opportunity to gaze and not feel too guilty.]

Casebolt & Smith seem to be enjoying our little Fringe community here. With luck, that means they’ll be back again. But don’t miss them now. They are…

Very Highly Recommended

Their website –

Their show page

Their video trailer

And just ’cause they’re funny, how about some more…? After Words

In Other Words

Having Words

Fringe 2009 – 5:30 Monday – show #23

Matthew A. Everett is a local playwright and three-time recipient of grant support from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Information on Matthew and his plays can be found at

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