Fringe Reviews – Days 3 & 4
I managed to watch several of my friends’ shows this weekend, which means I can spend the remainder of the Fringe finding new producers’ work to enjoy. While there is definitely personal bias because many of these folks are friends of mine, I really enjoyed most of the shows I saw this weekend because, in large part, I am fortunate to have very talented friends.
I had three of my own shows this weekend so I only saw five shows on Saturday and one on Sunday. Here’s what I managed to squeeze in.
These folks aren’t friends of mine but they had a great preview and all of their proceeds are being donated to Minnesota United. They also produced a wonderfully quirky show called “Cat” last year. I had to go.
For someone like me, who is a vocal supporter of marriage equality, this send up of the “secret gay agenda” was right up my alley. It mercilessly skewered homophobia by emphasizing all the ridiculous excuses people use to explain their beliefs. The actors were uniformly excellent and writing was very sharp.
I thought the very opening of the show (and by that I mean the first minute or so) was pretty weak. There were some sound cues that felt unneccessary. After that first stumble though, I have no complaints.
This show starred Dawn Krosnowski, who is a friend of mine. Actually, I knew a large number of cast members and the writer/director.
I’m going to spend much of this review complaining about the Rarig Proscenium because in a dialogue heavy show like this one, the acoustics are just frustrating as all hell. Seated in the back row, I lost at least half of the dialogue (which was very rapid fire) because I simply couldn’t understand the actors.
I don’t blame the actors nearly as much as the space. I will say, however, that the show was so densely scripted, the actors had to speed through most of their line. I would think there would have been some benefit to cutting about five minutes out of the show in favor of giving the actors some time to work their lines. This would have been especially helpful for the two villains, whose lines were almost completely unintelligible from my spot in the theatre.
The actors seemed to be having a great time. Dawn was excellent. As were the two villains (the fact I couldn’t understand them was not their fault – they chewed scenery admirably).
I have to give the show an incomplete. I think it was trying to do a little too much and could have benefitted from some trimming but I also missed too much of the dialogue to say much more.
Class of ’98
I totally scored the last ticket for a sold out show on this one. Like a boss!
Josh Carson writes comedy so well, the biggest problem with this show was the overlapping laugh lines. The audience would be so busy laughing at a punchline that we’d completely miss the next one.
Packed with references to 1998 that most of us should still remember and featuring a group of very well cast teenagers (and adults), the show moves at a pace best described as breathless.
Josh is a wickedly funny writer. It’s OK if that pisses me off a little, right?
Someone is Wrong on the Internet
While I often think it is more fun to watch Kelvin Hatle fret about the writing process via Twitter, that is only because his fretting is so damned entertaining.
This is Kelvin’s second solo show and I think he’s grown a lot since last year’s “Death Perception.” Last year’s show was mostly a progression of funny stories about how it sucks to be death. It was funny but there wasn’t a big narrative arc to his show.
This year, he had a much more cohesive arc to his writing. It was funny but it was also thoughtful and when he got to the point of his show, it felt like he’d arrived there naturally.
Kelvin has always been a great comedian. I think it’s been nice to watch what he’s done as a writer the last two years.
The Love Show
I already know Courtney McLean and I think she’s awesome. I already know the Durty Curls and I also think they are awesome. For whatever reason, I thought this show was just going to be Durty Curls music, which would have been more than enough.
It was actually songs interspersed with funny stories about love, snot, awkward karaoke moments and girl crushes. Somehow, that made it even better than I had expected it to be.
It’s hard to say a show by a talented person surprised me but I was surprised by the show. It was even better than I expected it to be.
Portrait of the Artist as a Yo-Yo Man
A “one man” show about growing up as a geek with a yo-yo. Having spent much of my life around jugglers, I found this show thoroughly enjoyable.
David managed to combine stories of growing up as a yo-yo nerd (yes there is such a thing) with juggling tricks, acrobatics and yes, yo-yo’s.
He had what I’d call a “false ending” to the show that he may want to re-work. It seemed over and then there was more. I’ll grant that the “more” was impressive but the show would have been stronger if the audience hadn’t been thinking it was already over.
Having a similar moment in my show, however, I’m not going to complain too much.
This one was a bit of a surprise highlight for me as I had no prior knowledge of the show, I just decided to check it out because it was in the slot right before my show.
So that’s my rundown of this weekend’s Fringing. I’m taking tonight off to hang with my kids so if you’re out at the Fringe tonight, enjoy!