Cappies Review: Thou Shall Rot In Hell

Hell just got a little hotter.

When one man finds himself mysteriously dead and dropped in hell, his temper and frustration flare as he struggles to find both the meaning of his capture in the Devil’s den and the meaning of his life…all while burning in hell in FringeNext’s production of Thou Shall Rot In Hell.

At its core, Thou Shall Rot In Hell is one young adult’s reflection on all of the pitfalls and challenges that come with growing up in our world today. While has to fight battles growing up, Thou Shall Rot In Hell demonstrates what happens if one not only has to admit his own mistakes, but also hold himself accountable to the people who care. Zak Kelley delivers a story of love and loss coupled with endless dark humor. His story delivers because it contains many elements that a diverse group of people may relate with—from growing up gay in a seemingly hostile world to dysfunctional parents and grandparents—but also contains wacky anecdotes that all end surprisingly and hilariously. Why does Zak’s relative put a towel on her car seat? You’ll have to join Zak on his hellish journey to find out. His storytelling dances right on the line between profane and sinful—but when has hell ever been civil? At times, it becomes difficult not to get caught in a wave of teenage angst. The story is sometimes predictable at best, but nevertheless entertaining because of Zak’s comedic prowess and the passion in which he imparts the more personal details of his life.Yet along his reflection on a seemingly chaotic life, Zak poses some of the biggest questions that haunt our child and teenage lives. Why do we think the world is out to get us? Why is it so hard to find the bright side of life? These questions and more are explored during Zak’s stay in that satanic furnace below our beloved Earth.

Thou Shall Rot In Hell is part of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival’s effort to give high school artists the opportunity to share their passions in a professional context. Upcoming performances are Friday, May 31 at 9pm, and Saturday, June 1st at 5pm.


By: Matt Ruehlman

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