< PortFringe 2024

REVIEW: 25044

25044 – Russell Kaback

To learn more about this show, click here.

POSTED 6/3/2023

‘25044’ is a must see. Brilliantly written and vocalized, writer and actor Russell Kaback jumps through a multitude of characters in this story about Russell’s grandfather’s encampment in work and concentration camps during the Holocaust.

With rock ballads and emotive chords as a story enhancement, Russell takes audience members on an expressive journey and several years of life in war torn Europe. An incredible use of the short play format, I was intrigued but Russell’s non stop energy and captivating storytelling skills. This is definitely something I would recommend for the whole family.

submitted by: Christina W. Richardson, PF23 Independent Review Team

POSTED 6/3/2023

In this latest iteration of his grandfather’s story, Russell Kabak takes us on a tour of one teen’s journey from carefree village life in WWII-era Poland to work camp, to concentration camp, to eventual liberation (that’s not really a spoiler since Kabak is already proof that his grandfather survived…). Kabak does not shy away from the atrocities his grandfather, Szyjek Magier, lived through during the Holocaust, but neither does he dwell in them or exploit them. He’s not out to shock the audience with ancestral trauma. His message is uplifting — an invitation, even.

Kabak foregrounds highly physicalized storytelling interlaced with guitar accents and song, taking on the voices of his grandfather as a child, that child’s own grandfather, an older brother, even Himmler. At times a little more differentiation between those characters’ vocal styles and physicality would help to keep character distinctions clearer, but Kabak’s energy and focus are consistently engaging and his voice is strong and resonant. Guided by seemingly divine instructions at key moments and a promise made to his mother, Szyjek Magier’s story is one of resiliency and triumph.

(Note: this piece runs a little over time, so plan your Fringing accordingly!)

submitted by: Amanda Painter, PF23 Independent Review Team

< PortFringe 2024

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