St. Lou Fringe Review: Flesh and Bone

Naturally, a theater piece themed around media-influenced body dysmorphia will begin with blissful, ignorant Adam and Eve romping about in their underwear. You see, before hungry, bronzed models and Photoshop, there was nothing but organic produce, beatific confidence and bold cunnilingus!

When they broke Dad's rules and partook in the fruit of that sexy, unattainable tree of knowledge, a certain unhealthy self-awareness set in and, we can only assume, the patriarch of all humanity noticed his thinning hair while his better half noticed her vulva didn't resemble the ones she'd seen in porn and, no matter how much weight she'd lost, she'd always feel fat.

Fast forward to the pair's iPhone-toting descendants and witness the same series of events again and again, sub magazines for serpents, mirrors for apples and squishy bellies for exposed genitalia. The characters' awareness of and subsequent resentment for their bodies leads to an inability to connect, rendering them all the more isolated.

(re)discover theater's Flesh and Bone explores the concept of distorted body image with an earnest sincerity, but is at times obvious (circling imperfections on bare skin with washable markers while reading poetry) and preachy (the audience is asked to write something they like about their body on a piece of paper and turn it in at the end of the show) in its approach; it's also varied and unpredictable, like the imperfect human bodies it aims to defend.

Flesh and Bone will run again Friday 7 p.m., Saturday 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m., all at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 North Grand Boulevard). Tickets are $10 (in addition to the one-time purchase of a $5 Fringe Fest button).

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