REVIEWS – Brother From the Great Beyond

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BROTHER FROM THE GREAT BEYOND
(A Kurkendaal-Barrett Production)

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POSTED 6/8/2021 – Les is appealing but he really should offer you a cup of coffee before you get going. He’s gonna tell you a story, you will listen (even without coffee), and you will want to come back the next day to hear another bit of wisdom. Bring your own coffee though.

–Linda Shary, PortFringe 2021 Independent Review Team

POSTED 6/9/2021 – You may be tired of hearing me say it by now, but I’m going to keep saying it; major kudos to Les, and all the PortFringe artists, for creating art after the challenging long months and year we’ve had. I know I struggled immensely with everything being shut down and put on hold, and I can only imagine what other artists felt. But we’ve managed to roll with it and figure out how to make art in this new, weird way. And Les has certainly succeeded in that regard with his show, Brother from the Great Beyond.

I’ve seen Les perform before and I’ve always enjoyed his shows. This one was no exception. Les’ style of storytelling is very conversation, it feels like he is talking directly with you. That did not change with the change in format to video.

The setup and Les’ engagement, style, and delivery made me feel like I was sitting at a little table on the sidewalk, under the shade of a tree, on the first truly warm afternoon of spring, sipping tea with a friend, while we caught up on life and our goings on. The fact that he didn’t try to hide, or edit out, the sounds of the neighborhood and life happening in the background around him, without distracting from his story or making it hard to hear, made it feel very personal and in the moment. It was, quite literally, the soundtrack of life playing in the background, underscoring the piece. Given the message, and subject, of the show, such a soundtrack made it that much more poignant and beautiful.

The whole piece felt very natural. I was so engaged with Les and his storytelling, that when it ended, it felt as if no time had passed at all. I wanted to get up and hug Les at the end and thank him for such a beautiful gift.

–Ian-Mer, PortFringe 2021 Independent Review Team

POSTED 6/9/2021 – From the moment the scene opened in Brother from the Great Beyond, I felt like I was on a personal Zoom call rather than watching a film. Reenacting the experience of hiring a mediator after a brother’s recent passing, Les uses skills of an incredibly storyteller with a engaging tonal quality that sets each visual clearly within the mind. Instantly building connection to the audience with language like that of a close friend, I would highly recommend this show for the whole family. Fun for all, Brother from the Great Beyond should be summoned, I mean watched, over and over again.

–Christina W. Richardson, PortFringe 2021 Independent Review Team

POSTED 6/10/2021 – I liked it. Despite not being a big fan of mumblecore within the film medium, I think the format of this one is the reason why it worked. It felt like a vlogger telling a story to the audience and I liked that. The aspect that really made it work for me was the very ending where they turn off the camera. That sealed the deal with the vlogger format of this story to me. Overall, the film was well-paced, I didn’t find myself getting bored at any point, and it was a smooth watch. Les Kurkendaal-Barrett did a good job at performing this monologue/story … Good, watch. I enjoyed it.

–Anonymous, PortFringe 2021 Independent Review Team