Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

Mckenzie Tomski is an immigrant to America. She is also the persona of Czech performer Mirenka Cechova and the character we follow during the hip-hop-inspired performance Miss AmeriKa. The show follows the protagonist as she attempts to fit into the hustle and bustle of New York, whilst overcoming cultural and personal differences. Miss AmeriKa combines hip-hop, comedy, storytelling and use of projected visuals to present themes of alienation and loneliness.

One of the problems behind Miss Amerika is a technical one, in that the vocals sound far too low. The hip-hop performance moves at a fast pace and the quiet lyrics get lost in the loud music. Even though Cechova is singing and rapping in English, it is too hard to decipher what she is actually saying. To the back of the stage is a screen where images and illustrations are projected. This sets the scene of New York and fully expresses the isolation of the protagonist. These visuals carry the bulk of the storytelling and give the audience something to focus on whilst Cechova raps and sings her way through the narrative.

Halfway through the performance the music stops and the performer directly addresses the audience. The show now becomes a short standup comedy routine. It feels a little out of place, but does convey the themes of displacement in a haphazard and awkward method. Eventually the music restarts and the hip-hop continues, but again the lyrics are lost and the show becomes difficult to follow.

Miss AmeriKa is definitely infused with energy and Mirenka Cechova is a fantastic performer, but the story is completely lost due to the bad quality of the sound. The story of Miss AmeriKa has also been published in a book. Maybe this format is the best way to convey the themes that Spitfire Company are looking to tackle in their latest performance.