Minnesota Fringe – Day 1
As you may (or may not) know, I’m involved in three productions at this year’s fringe Festival. Somehow, not a single one of them had a performance on opening night so I got to spend the entire evening enjoying shows put on by other people! It was strange! And exciting!
Here’s what I saw:
Co-Produced by the frighteningly talented Dawn Krosnowski, I’m a big fan of the basic concept behind the show. The history of theatre in 60 minutes? I’m in. Every member of the cast was a terrific and versatile actor and the overall conceit is executed very well. I found myself frustrated from time to time because a particular segment of the show would run on a bit longer than I felt was needed. Perhaps that was just because I really wanted more parodies of theatrical conventions rather than longer ones. So that’s probably on me.
What is absolutely true is that I really enjoyed the show and I while I think it appeals to audiences of every stripe, there are certainly a great many jokes that are there just for theatre insiders. I’m totally OK with that. Find a Fringe Producer and we’ll be happy to explain the stuff you didn’t get.
Mike Fotis and Joe Bozic are two of the funniest people in the history of people. This allows them to gather other funny people around them, resulting in a perfect storm of funny. Let’s see if I can use the word “funny” a few more times.
Look, the point is this: these guys consistently create some of the best and most intelligent comedy at the Fringe. I’m fairly certain that if they had written The Happening, it would have been a good movie. I could possibly be giving them too much credit but until they produce a show about “The Happening” that sucks, I’m going to stand by my prediction.
Please note, you don’t need to know anything about Hoosiers to enjoy this show. It might help if you knew something about Rudy, though…
Phillip Low can write.
I mean, I can write, too. I’m writing right now. My point is that he can write very well. It isn’t that he’s a good storyteller (he is), it is that his stories are engaging. I’m genuinely sorry when he reaches the end of one of his stories. Not because I don’t like the ending but because I really liked the story itself.
Phillip is joined by Elizabeth Byrd, who manages to match his intensity, which is no mean trick.
This is only one of something like ten shows that Phillip will be doing at the Fringe this year. I’m not in a position to say it will be his best but I’m going to say it anyway.
I’ve been producing at the Fringe for a little while now and that leads to the problem of knowing too many people who produce good work. Inevitably, I spend my entire Fringe trying to figure out how to see one or two shows by companies I haven’t seen before.
And then I like those people and I need to see their shows as well.
I bring all of this up because before this year, I’d not seen one of Laura Bidgood’s shows. I was, therefore, unaware that I needed to add her to my “must see a show by this person” list. Until now.
Laura’s storytelling style just appeals to me. She is sassy and talks so fast, you want to tell her to stop for just a second so you can catch up. Thing is, you also want her to keep going. Unless she’s curling. Then she should stop.
I give this show a resounding slow clap.
Seriously, that’s a compliment.
So yeah, it was a very good night of Fringing. Everything was at least as good as I expected it to be. Tonight, I’m opening a show and I expect I’ll be unable to see anything else. If you are doing the Fringe, I hope all of your choices are good ones. Or at least interesting.