written by Catherine Hansen
with additional scenes devised by the ensemble
directed by Aidan Jhane Gallivan
It’s Sally’s birthday party and she is determined to have the best party ever! But the only person who shows up is her cooler and older best friend, Casey, who moved away. Pranks are played and secrets emerge as Sally and Casey reminisce about their friendship and their best friend, Bruno, while navigating wacky menu items over the loudspeaker and a possibly evil clown. You’re all invited!
Natalie Shaw as Sally
Sage Backer as Casey
Mitch Vosejpka as Bruno
Sophie Widman as Cassandra/Bruno’s Mom
Bailey Hess as Sally’s Mom/Levi
and featuring Rob Ward as Karl/Cooper the Clown
Stage Manager – Morgan Strickland
Choreographer – Rob Ward
Production Photos and Design by Aidan Jhane Gallivan
Performed at Augsburg Studio as part of the 2019 Minnesota Fringe Festival
“Tragedy is done best with comedy and this show delivered for me. The dark underlayers, sadness, depression, grief, and guilt all slam into you with unexpected swiftness at the end and the moments of levity from Karl were amazing in breaking up those dark moments so that the true impact didn’t hit you until the end. Really well done.“– Audience Review
Chocolate Covered Chicken Wings takes a dark turn, but it doesn’t have to turn very far: There’s something fundamentally unsettling about adults playing the roles of children. Add the suggestion that animatronics may be lurking nearby, and you get one of the Fringe’s eeriest shows.
Inspired by childhood experiences at Chuck E. Cheese, playwright Catherine Hansen imagined two kids’ birthday parties in successive years at the same theme restaurant. (The title refers to one of the venue’s signature offerings.) Celebrating her 11th birthday, Sally (Natalie Shaw) is still reeling from the loss of her late peer Bruno (Mitch Vosejpka), whose 10th she attended the previous year. In its second half, the show flashes back to reveal exactly what happened at Bruno’s ill-fated fete.
Tones swing wildly and the plot unfolds in fits and starts, but director Aidan Jhane Gallivan and her cast make the lumpiness work in their favor by keeping Fringe-goers on our toes. It’s hard not to be impressed by the downright frenetic performances from Vosejpka and, as a young rival to Sally, Sophie Widman, with Sage Backer and Bailey Hess as party guests with cooler heads. That said, the show really belongs to the extraordinary Shaw, whose Sally is an unforgettable creation: both hilariously over-the-top and poignantly earnest.
– Jay Gabler, City Pages Minneapolis
“This is another one of those plays that starts out very light, but turns more serious. It is much more successful at doing so than most plays that attempt this. It didn’t feel forced at all, and I was very moved by the end. I left the show wondering what happens to some of the characters after the play ends, during the rest of their lives. That RARELY happens. Congratulations to the cast, director, and writer on a beautiful show!”– Audience Review
The energy of Natalie Shaw and Mitch Vosejpka was amazing and natural, and best friend Sage Backer was a perfectly wry and grounding compliment. I also loved the characterizations written into the mother types, played excellently by Bailey Hess and Sophie Widman. I had no idea it would end as it would and found it shocking, bold, and poignant. I kept turning around the final dance scene over in my head after I left and it suddenly clicked shortly after I left. Thank you for a wonderful show and performance.– Audience Review