Borderlight International Theatre and Fringe Festival

Best of Cleveland 2017: Traveling Theater

Bizarre, awkward, awesome — Wizbang is the stage show you can't miss.

Jason and Danielle Tilk want you to meet their bizzarro friends. 

A tattooed 6-foot-5 lazy strongman who rips license plates in half. An awkward lounge singer who nervously croons Lady Gaga and Sir Mix-a-Lot. A crazed ‘80s aerobics instructor who dances in sequined outfits.

So they started the roving Wizbang show to highlight the most talented performers they know in a lightning-paced outlandish variety circus a la the old Gong Show. “It’s this sort of epic little bit of extravaganza that really brings that audience to the end of the journey,” says Jason.

The show bucks the traditional circus format of a formal announcer and scheduled acts by having performers come and go haphazardly. While the audience may expect performers to start onstage, instead the Tilks — as vaudeville duo Pinch and Squeal — clown around with the audience, climbing over chairs, sitting on laps and kissing people on the cheek. 

Wizbang is revving up for more hijinks with shows at Cleveland Public Theatre Dec. 8 and 9, and Feb. 16 and 17, and hopes to start a Cleveland circus school. 

“Cleveland just needs something completely weird,” says Danielle. “It needs a little quirky.”

Cover story by Adam Dodd in PRESSURE LIFE magazine: http://pressurelife.com/biggest-bang-town/

Cover story by Adam Dodd in PRESSURE LIFE magazine: http://pressurelife.com/biggest-bang-town/

Rochester City News Paper

Opening night review of Pinch and Squeal's show at the Rochester Fringe 2017 show

 I saw two shows last night, and both of them, though different, are now on my recommendation list. Cirque Du Fringe peppers its performances with classic cornball humor, but Cleveland banjo and accordion  duo Pinch and Squeal wallows in it. I mean this is "fill–the–bathtub-with-gin-and-gasoline-and-light-it-on-fire-before-doing-a-cannonball" wallowing in it. 

They opened with a couple of dirty ditties from the 1920's and one from the early days of “Hee Haw,” complete with a harmonized Bronx cheer, before going into card and balloon tricks, a tirade in Pig Italian (no, not Latin, Italian) that made no sense whatsoever, and a beautiful French love ballad where Squeal attempted to stick two audience members in her party dress.. Ah, show business. I laughed my head off.



Wizbang: Variety Circus Mayhem

Took my kids to see Wizbang: Variety Circus Mayhem at Mahalls: Twenty Lanes in Lakewood on Saturday. It. Was. Awesome.

The organizers for Wizbang are the great duo of Pinch and Squeal, whom I’ve seen in any number of locations, with their enormously energetic creations of vaudeville, burlesque, humor, and magic. Here, the production was lifted by an entourage of similarly-minded artists who were amazing as much for their individual talents and the level of energy they maintained throughout their performance

For the kids, Wizbang was just about as stimulating at you’d want a theatrical experience to be–especially in the conspicuously over-stimulated world in which they exist today. At Wizbang, things were happening everywhere. That is, everywhere you looked there was something to engage the eye and interest: costumes, lights, balloons, exceptional performance. On the stage there was a fantastic mix of sexual appeal, fear, glory of color and execution of feats, and the downright creepy. The show is a glorious vaudevillian circus with the promise of great joy and the threat of death that all children desire: magic, juggling, jump-roping, hoola-hooping, egg-cracking, dancing, romping, clowning.

And yes, later at night, there is an Adult version.

When it comes around again, Wizbang is a must see.

Thomas Warden Hayes