Fringe Festival – Day 8 & 9

Seems kind of silly to review shows that are over but since I watched them, I want to make sure I write something about them.

I’m not going to pretend I’m satisfied with my shows at the Fringe this year.  Stop Talking was fun to do but no particular stretch.  I stretched myself by writing “Schrodinger’s Apocalypse” and while I feel the script was not perfect, I was mostly frustrated that the show didn’t draw enough of an audience to really get a feel for what I could have done to improve the work.

See, audience reviews are frustrating but the Fringe is filled with other people trying to do the same thing I’m doing – produce good theatre.  We all want to see each other succeed and, I think, help each other when we don’t.  I wish more people I knew had seen the show and were able to offer their opinions, it would have helped me figure out how to do a better job the next time I write something.

Frustrations with my own work aside, I still had a great time hanging out with friends, watching theatre and coming up with ideas for next year.  There’s always next year.

Here’s what I watched on the last two days of the Festival

Centipede! The Musical

I admire the cheek it took to produce the show.  A musical about The Human Centipede?  Just about the silliest idea ever.

And while the audience really seemed into the show, I was never satisfied with the result.  My problem is probably that I write music and I just felt the lyrics and music didn’t nail it.

If you are going to have characters singing about being turned into a human centipede, you need to go all the way.  I didn’t feel like the show went all the way.

What would I have done differently?  I’m still thinking about that.

I think I’m in the minority in my response to this show.  Most of the audience loved it.  I just didn’t.

Comedy vs. Calories: FIGHT!

The premise for this show was just about as nuts as one might expect from the minds of Andy Kraft, Levi Weinhagen and Joshua English Scrimshaw.  Three guys open the show by slamming a McDonald’s Happy meal and then they have to spend the rest of the show trying to burn those calories.

Thus begins a crazy hour of dodgeball, jump rope and comic monologues.  The show was fast paced, varied and filled with a whole lot more laugh out loud moments than any other show I saw at the Fringe.

I love that these guys are producing family friendly theatre that works for kids and adults.  I’m pretty sure most everyone in that audience had a good time.

They even threw in some serious stuff about body image and parenting.

But I’m not going to hold that against them.

Fringe Orphans 2: Orphan Harder

The structure of Fringe Orphans would suggest a mixed bag but there were a lot more hits than misses in this grab bag  of theatrical shorts.

Last year, Ben San Del and phillip andrew bennett low provided the funniest two minutes of the Fringe with their improv comedy due.  This year, Fringe Orphans delivered again with a series entitled “The sound of Food.”  I’m not going to try explaining the bit.  Either you saw it or you didn’t.

If you saw it, you will never forget it.  They deserve the best slow clap of the Fringe.

Promiscuous Fiction: The Runaway Stories of Jonathan Lethem

I spent so much of the Fringe going to shows that were produced by people I knew, I nearly missed this one and I really enjoyed it.

It was a weird little series of somewhat twisted stories that were all so fascinating I didn’t want them to end.   While there were certainly amusing moments, the show didn’t come off as a comedy because most of the stories were even a bit creepy.

Really well acted and scripted, I wish I’d caught the show earlier in the festival so I could have recommended it to others.

The Critic and the Concubine

I went to this show for two reasons.  First: I had attended a show in every venue of the 2013 Fringe except The Playwrights’ Center and I wanted to fully cover my Fringe venue Bingo card.  Second: this particular show had been ripped apart by the Pioneer Press and I wanted to see if it was really as bad as all that.

No.  It wasn’t.

Mind you, I think the script was a bit of a mess and the idea that a critic would need to apologize for their opinion of a movie or a performer is a bit absurd.  I’ve spent too much time in theatre to believe that a critic can have that much impact on the artist.

But look, this is a young scriptwriter and director who is still learning her craft.  Her idea wasn’t bad but the end result wasn’t quite there.  I can certainly relate to that.

I’ve seen far worse shows in and out of Fringe Festivals.

They Shoot 25 Year-Old Gay Men, Don’t They?

Fearless Comedy sponsored this show and I finally managed to see it in the second to last time slot.

The show was plagued by cast problems (a couple of cast members dropped out at the last minute) and that meant it was never going to be fully formed.

There was some really funny stuff in the script and the writing showed the skills of a guy who knows how to make people laugh.  Unfortunately, it was filled with a lot of people who were clearly not actors and that can cause problems with any script.

Saying they were not actors is different than saying they were horrible actors.  They had no experience doing simple things like finding their light, which was frustrating.  They delivered lines too quickly and too softly.  They didn’t know their lines. That’s what happens when you have no experience.

At the Fringe you cast who you can cast.  Unfortunately, an inexperienced cast can really hurt your show.

I want to see Jakey do more work at the Fringe.  But I think he needs to cut back his cast size and really focus on the writing.  He’s got great potential.

To Mars with Tesla or the Interplanetary Machinations of Evil Thomas Edison

It took an encore slot for me to finally see this show.  I’d missed it twice due to the twin curses of traffic and a sell out.

I played the odds that the encore performance wouldn’t be sold out and while it was popular, it was not sold out.  Score!

I’m a sucker for a live silent movie so it was a guarantee that I was going to like this show.  Especially when you have a cast as talented as this one.  Kelvin Hatle is the perfect choice for evil Thomas Edison.

To be fair, I knew that before I saw the show.

Kelvin was not the only talented person in the cast.  I just single him out because he was playing a role that he was clearly destined to play.  At least he would be if destiny was actually a thing.

It was a great way to close out the 2013 Fringe Festival.

My personal record as a producer may not have been what I wanted it to be this year.  That’s the way things go.  Sometimes you succeed and sometimes you don’t.  Taking chances and stretching oneself as an artist are important.

Every show I saw, whether I liked it or not, were produced by people taking chances.  They put their work out there to be judged by others.  I have nothing but respect for anyone who does that.

And, of course, I already have plans for next year.

So it goes.


About Petsnakereggie

Geek, movie buff, dad, musician, comedian, atheist, liberal and writer. I also really like Taco flavored Doritos.

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