Review: FRANCINE WOLF: PLEASE DON'T TELL MY KIDS at Alliance For The Arts Classroom Theater

The performance runs again today at 4 and Sunday at 2:30.

By: Jun. 03, 2023
Review: FRANCINE WOLF: PLEASE DON'T TELL MY KIDS at Alliance For The Arts Classroom Theater

Written by guest reviewer Ton Hall

Tom Hall is a local author and historian. Since 2010, he has been one of the leading visual and performing arts journalists and advocates in Southwest Florida. A member of the Florida Association of Public Art Professionals, Tom also serves as the Public Art Consultant to the City of Fort Myers.

In the Alliance Classroom Theater for two more shows (today at 4 and Sunday at 2:30) is Francine Wolf: Please Don’t Tell My Kids! In this memoir-style one-woman show, Francine shares tales from a life well lived … often in the fast lane. For tickets, call 239.939.2787.

Most of us can count on one hand the number of times we’ve brushed up against or actually rubbed shoulders with a bona fide celeb. Francine did it on an almost daily basis. Some of her encounters were innocuous. It’s pretty clear why she doesn’t want
her kids and grandkids to know about many others. In the latter category, is her voiceover work with some pretty raunchy talking dolls. They’ve come with her to the inaugural
Fringe Fort Myers, nestled at the bottom of Wolf’s version of Mary Poppins’ bottomless bag (though without the umbrella). Get your mind out of the gutter! They’re more like Chuckie than the silicone-based Sex Doll Genies manufactured by Gynoid.

Sex is front and center in many of the true-life anecdotes that Wolf shares during her hour-long show. Well, kind of. She does go on at length about an affair she tried to have with a Scientologist. Although he’d flown the coop, he refused to go beyond heavy petting because Francine was not part of the fold, and not even the apocalyptic threat of Hurricane Charley could induce the guy to unzip. While there was nothing to audit, Dr. No did get his
comeuppance after Francine got a knock at her door late one night from his new Scientology girlfriend. [You have to see the show to find out what they did.]

Speaking of coop, Francine mentioned Anderson Cooper a number of times during her show. As the publicist for a law firm that was involved in a case of national notoriety, Anderson Cooper was one of a horde of news correspondents with whom Francine had daily contact. Unlike Greta Susteren, who was “just annoying” and Matt Lauer, who was officious and abrupt, she forged a connection with Anderson Cooper, with whom she scored a date.

“It was 2006 and no one knew,” Francine explains. She was all set to fly to New York and meet up with the CNN Newscaster, but the Pope had other plans. I mean, who among us hasn’t had a date pre-empted by the papacy?

Not all of Wolf’s stories are humorous or head-scratching. That law firm she worked for handled a famous right-to-die case that clearly impacted Francine and the lawyer she worked for in a profound visceral and intellectual way.

If you’re looking for a comparison, Francine Wolf: Please Don’t Tell My Children is in the tradition of Sue Mengers: I’ll Eat You Last. It’s not always funny. It’s often bizarre. But it is always thought-provoking. And if you like name dropping, this is a show you’ll really enjoy.

Wolf is a Largo-based artist who began studying acting at the age of forty. Today, she is a union member who has been involved with assorted improv groups since the mid-90s. With thirty-three years of stage, screen, and commercial experience, Francine toured her previous solo improv show to festivals across the country, including the 2018 Tampa International Fringe Festival, the Countdown Improv Festival, and the Vintage Improv Festival in Boston – a show that the 2019 PortFringe Review Team lauded as “lovely and inventive,” stating that she has a “wonderfully weird and creative‖ mind.”

In 2019, Francine had the honor of being juried into The Art of Women: A Heart and Soul Celebration (an evening showcasing diverse art installations by diverse women in Tampa) and brought Half-Baked Boomer to the Rogue Festival in Fresno, California and to PortFringe in Portland, Maine.

During the pandemic, her Pants Optional Comedy online show included improvisers and audience members from around the world.

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