Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up Polaroid

Thumbs Up, Michael Venske’s first foray into the solo theatre world as writer/performer/director, premiered at the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C., in July 2012.

Thumbs Up was later seen in August 2012 at the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

Written, performed, directed, choreographed, and with sound design by Michael Venske.

Technical direction at the Capital Fringe by Anthony Logan Cole with writing feedback from Matthew A. Everett.

SYNOPSIS: A widower and only child prepare for a cross-country trip. Plans change when the father can’t ride along instead instructing his son to hitchhike with a bonsai tree.


THANKS: John Potter & Tony Milder; KC Fortune Cookie Factory; Minnesota Bonsai Society; Cory Ryan Frank & Capital Fringe; Mark Franko & Minnesota Fringe; Ryan Nichols; A.R. Stevens; Rebecca Blackmore; Ken Koegler; Manu Kumasi; So It Goes band (Adam Gislason, Travis Gislason, Brian Gruidl, Lee VanLith, Micah Thormodsgaard); James Castoro; Ray Steveson; Julia Reisinger; and Uncommon Gardens.

“Venske’s acting anchors the piece solidly. The improv-trained Venske is at his best, unafraid to bust a move or pull out a silly dialect. His intensity is impressive, and each short scene ends on a poignant or fun note.”

-DC Theatre Scene

“There’s so much good stuff you’ll hear during this play… You’ll also experience some brilliant acting along the way…”

-DC Metro Theater Arts


“…clever! Wonderful writing. Great show!”

Jane Pena

“Fast-paced, well-rehearsed… This guy has a bright future ahead of him.”

-Publius McGee

“Polished, funny, endearing, and poignant.”

-Krystal McKay

“…well acted with dialogue that was funny and sentimental.”

-Shannon Hunter

“An entertaining script, brought to life. Transitions are wonderful and don’t miss the dancing!”

-Maureen Anderson

“…heartfelt, yet not too sappy, and interjected with great one-liners.”

-Ashley Wurster

“Funny, high energy…”

-Frederick Melo

“…inventive and funny.”

-Cato Brutus

“…ranging in tender, heartfelt moments to down right laugh out loud funny.”

-John Potter

“About two-thirds of the way through this show I realized my face hurt from laughing so much!”

-Ellen Anderson

“…exceptionally well acted with interesting characters, a timely theme and a well constructed plot line.”

-Janis Emily Peabody