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Southern Gothic Novel: The Aberdeen Mississippi Sex-Slave Incident


One of the shows included in the inaugural Fringe Fort Myers is Southern Gothic Novel: The Aberdeen Mississippi Sex-Slave Incident, written by Frank Blocker who, coincidentally, plays all 17 characters portrayed in the play.

This advance could tell you that the play recounts an incident that occurred in a Mississippi town of just 5,218 residents, when a tall, dark, handsome, great smelling stranger arrived in town and swept the local assistant librarian completely off her feet at the very same time someone began kidnapping Aberdeen’s young women.

It could tell you that Blocker received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance or that the play was the critical darling during its debut season for its revelation in storytelling.

This advance could tell you that Southern Gothic Novel is the book of a play that is based on a book that was never written and which feels like a movie.

But it might be more saliant to just share excerpts of some of the reviews the play has garnered over the years.

So here goes:

  • Anita Gates of The New York Times writes: “FLAWLESSLY EXECUTED.  Apparently Mr. Blocker can act in any physical position. His performance feels like that of a party guest who suddenly had a  manic Robin Williams attack and knocked everybody’s socks off.
  • Stan Richardson writes for “A compelling show.   Enchanting, unusual and delightful. Hilariously vivid characterizations.  This is a show I endorse without reservations.   So make reservations.”
  • The Columbus Dispatch raves: “If Tennessee Williams had written a one-man-roller-coaster-ride about a Mississippi town as a showcase for a chameleonic talent, the result would be as poetic and brilliantly funny as Southern Gothic Novel: The Aberdeen Mississippi Sex-Slave Incident, a nuanced tour-de-force for author/performer Frank Blocker.”
  • David Hurst writes in Show Business Weekly: “An opus. Or at least an HBO Special.  A deliciously convoluted plot with a dazzling array of dysfunctional Southern characters that surpasses anything Margaret Mitchell dreamed up for Gone With The Wind. This is a terrific way to spend an hour in a theatre. It is a testament to Mr. Blocker’s vocal dexterity that I found myself putting together a dream cast for a fully-staged Broadway blow-out.”
  • TheatreMania says: “Southern Gothic Novel pays loving tribute to the genre of pulp fiction, sprinkled with liberal doses of romance, mystery and humor. Frank Blocker is an adept storyteller who possesses a charming stage presence and exudes a manic energy that keeps the show moving at break-neck speed. There are plenty of plot twists and red herrings here, all of that mystery affording Mr. Blocker the opportunity to showcase his ample talents while keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.”
  • Oscar E. Moore writes this for Talk “Frank Blocker gives a commanding and remarkable display of what one can do with one’s voice if so inclined.”
  • In American Oggi Magazine, Mario Fratti opines: “A miracle of good acting. The best one-man show of the season, without a doubt. Conceived, written and performed by the incredible and convincing Frank Blocker, who admirably interprets seventeen characters to tell us about the adventures of Viola, an unsuspecting woman about to become another victim of slave traffickers in Mississippi. Bravo!”
  • Sam Oglesby writes for The Philadelphia Bulletin: “Funny. Very Funny. And then some. Unique and utterly brilliant, Southern Gothic Novel is a must-see for anyone interested in innovative, beyond-the-fringe theater. Mr. Blocker believes so utterly in the roles he plays that he becomes these personages.”
  • And Mark Peikert writes in Backstage: “His obvious love for the world he’s created ensures that we’ll like the citizens of Aberdeen as much as he obviously does. But it’s Mr. Blocker’s delight in performing that keeps the audience enthralled. What a delight to watch even villainous characters imbued with so much life and charm.”

Blocker performs Southern Gothic Novel in the Off-Broadway Palm at:

  • 7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 2;
  • 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 3; and
  • 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 4.

You can also sample a 2-3 minute excerpt from the show during the Thursday night preview show that starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Foulds Theatre at the Alliance for the Arts.

May 31, 2023.


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