Reviewed by Matt Ritchey
You won’t see another show quite like Butcher Holler Here We Come! at Fringe. And that’s a shame because it’s possibly the most grounded, yet most immersive (without being immersive) piece I’ve seen yet.
The story is based on real events of a coal mine collapsing and burying five men who struggle to survive, come to grips with their pasts, defend themselves from one another, all while trying to escape. The production (a Broadway World Outstanding Original Script award winner by Casey Wimpee) is done in the dark, with only the glow of the coal miner’s headlamps as illumination. It’s claustrophobic, even in the large performance space, and makes you really feel like you’re trapped with these men. Throughout it all, the men dream of Butcher Holler, both an idyllic place in Kentucky (as sung about by Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter) to retire, but doubling as salvation from their terrifying predicament. The few scenes involving memories work incredibly well in this setting, as the hallucinations from lack of oxygen and coal dust materialize in front of the miners.
The cast is across-the-board fantastic. Guided by director Leah Bonvissuto, it’s some of the most grounded, honest acting I’ve seen from a company in a long time. With the storytelling style, the costuming, the stellar performances, and a near-perfect script, Butcher Holler Here We Come! is something not to miss. It isn’t a Fringe original, as it’s been performed around the country a number of times over the years, but make sure this is the year you see it.
Very Highly Recommended
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