Fringe Reviews – Days 10 & 11
I spent a lot of time at the Fringe this weekend and while reviewing shows makes no difference for anyone’s attendance at this point, I’m still going to write about what I saw.
I’ve developed a lot of friends at the Fringe over the years. At first, I would try very hard to see all of their shows because that’s what friends do. Over time, I’ve reached the point where watching every show by a friend could mean I’d never see anything by someone I don’t know.
So I reached the point where I realized that everyone I knew was in the same boat as me. Making a choice to miss a friend’s show isn’t personal. You are only going to see so many shows over the course of eleven days.
When you reach that conclusion, it takes a little bit of the pressure off.
So if you are a friend of mine and I missed your show this year, I’m sorry. If you missed mine, that is OK too. I’m sure we can all still be friends.
I love Erin Sheppard’s choreography. It is bold and whimsical and very subversive. I would happily sit through a show twice as long.
The spoken word contributions by Sam Landman (read by Sean Dillon) were funny but I liked the dancing so much I wanted to get back to it faster.
That is not a critique of Sam’s writing (which is very good) so much as it is a complement of Erin’s choreography.
As the Fringe is over, I’ll just encourage anyone reading this to put a big star beside anything Erin is doing and make sure you go.
Songs to Hitch Your Trailer To
Ever go to a show where absolutely nothing is wrong but it just doesn’t grab you?
That was this show for me. The storytelling was terrific. The music was very good. The performance was spot on.
And for whatever reason, I just didn’t get into the show.
Now that said, I would seek out another show by Paul Strickland because even though his show didn’t resonate with me, I would want to give him as many shots as possible to change my reaction. He’s good. It wasn’t him. It was me.
Yama & Kalindi: A Transdimensional Love Story
I liked this show but I think that the structure of the Fringe worked against it.
By that I mean the time constraints really didn’t give the show enough room to breathe. There were three separate story lines and they were all interesting. They all felt rushed, though. A lot of time was spent on scene changes and we lost time to really get into the heads of the two (or was it four) main characters.
That was too bad because I thought the story was interesting and the performances were nicely done.
I don’t think the show needed to be two hours long but I do think it would have benefitted from an additional fifteen minutes. There was a lot there and I wanted to see more.
This show was a comic adaptation of “Our Town” filled with pop song references, Minnesota jokes, and a whole lot of non sequitur impressions.
What it lacked was any sort of cohesiveness. I just never got into the show because the writers seemed more interested in shoehorning Grover into the source material than they were with creating something that was watchable. The jokes were mostly tired and obvious. The reverential humor didn’t feel natural.
In a lot of ways, I found this show to be the most disappointing experience of the Fringe due to the obvious talent of the performers involved.
They threw everything they had at this show but someone forgot to say “enough.”
Sole Mates: An Almost Romantic Comedy
I thought this show was adorable.
It was a story about two people looking for love without the slightest idea how the process works. Their interactions with others are awkward and when they finally make a connection with each other, they over think everything.
You are pulling for them, though, because if these two people can find love, maybe everyone can.
Did they find love? The play left that question delightfully up in the air. Love isn’t always at first sight and romantic comedies are fantasies. Reality doesn’t work like the movies and this show was all about how that is OK.
This show was by a first time producer sponsored by Fearless Comedy. In essence, they took a bunch of old scripts they had written and produced them as a show.
The basic premise was a lot like “Amateur Hour” but there was a lack of self-awareness about the scripts, which all needed a lot of polish. There were funny moments throughout but the humor wasn’t sustained. A lot of the punchlines were telegraphed and that muted their effectiveness.
I think they needed a director who wasn’t involved in the show to help them tighten things up (the show page doesn’t list a director). They also needed someone to go through the scripts to give them polish or they needed someone to help the structure the show to play up the fact these were old drafts that weren’t their best work.
I saw a lot of promise in the show and I know they came off the wait list fairly late in the process. so that had an impact on how much they could achieve.
They need work, though, to up their game. The good news is the Fringe is exactly the kind of place to do that kind of work!