Fringe Reviews – Day 2
Last night, I watched four more shows. My Fringing will slow down a bit this weekend as my two shows open. Here’s the write up of what I saw yesterday. I apologize for the brevity but I’ve got to get ready for my shows at some point!
For the record, The Complete Works of William Shatner (abridged) opens at 1:00 today (Saturday the 4th) in the Rarig Thrust and we also have a performance at 5:30 tomorrow (Sunday the 5th). Stop Talking: A Game of Talking opens at 2:30 tomorrow.
Four Humors can be relied on for consistently funny and thoughtful shows. Last year, they were in the Bryant Lake Bowl and sold out every show. As an artist, I never made it into a show. Fortunately, the thrust is an enormous space and there is more than enough room for an artist or fifty.
Candide is a fast paced adaptation of Voltaire’s novel about the best of all possible worlds. With only an hour to pack in the entire book, the story moves rapidly through the chapters of the book. It’s all rather dizzying but also very clever.
Four Humors’ reputation is secure for another year.
I don’t imagine they were particularly worried.
Nobody needs me to tell them to go see a show by Joseph Scrimshaw but I’m telling you to go see it anyway. Joseph’s writing is consistently clever and he has the ability to assemble some of the most talented casts at the fringe. This year, he enlisted Shanan Custer to play his lead and watching Shanan perform Joseph’s script should be enough for any comedy fan.
It almost seems boring to say that I thought Joseph’s show delivered on its promise but when you expect to see a very funny show, it’s nice when you get a very funny show. While it is entirely possible he will disappoint me someday, he hasn’t done so yet.
I know Joseph well enough to both resent him for how easy he makes it look and respect him because I know that it isn’t easy at all. So congratulations to Mr. Scrimshaw as I Respent him once again.
Allegra Lingo is another Fringe veteran with a devoted following. This year she ditches her usual storytelling format for an actual play and while I applaud her effort, the results for me were mixed.
Allegra works with big words and big ideas and I admire that about her given that I write shows about William Shatner and songs about zombie chickens. As someone who is officially low-brow, I’m impressed by those who are not.
It wasn’t that the show was poorly written but all of the dialogue was about a topic I’ve seen before. The artist’s journey is a valid topic for exploration but it isn’t one that grabs me as an audience member. Being an artist, I’m not sure why I have that problem.
Perhaps I’m too close to the experience to get much out of another artist’s exploration. I dunno. This one just didn’t connect for me the way I hoped it would. The rest of the audience seemed pretty pleased so consider me an outlier.
Ben San Del has written some very good plays for the Fringe but this show is straight stand up comedy. There is nothing wrong with that because Ben is sharp and almost every one of his jokes is a winner. He had a good-sized audience for a 10:00 PM show and he got all of us laughing in short order.
If you are looking for serious, thoughtful theatre, Ben is not going to deliver this year. If you just want to laugh a lot, you probably won’t do much better.