Fringe Festival – Day 1
Fringe 2015 has begun! Strangely, I’m only artistically enmeshed in one show this year and I don’t appear on stage for the first time since 2009. As I’ve worked to position myself more as a writer than a performer, this was bound to happen. I still very much love to perform. If anyone ever came to me and asked if I’d be in their fringe show, I’d be inclined to say yes.
You know, as long as I didn’t have to rehearse or anything.
As is my habit, I will write reviews of the shows I see during the festival. My opinions are my own so feel free to think I’m a raving idiot. If you didn’t think that already.
I don’t give star ratings and I don’t write reviews on the Fringe web site unless I think a show needs a boost. As an artist, I don’t want to be responsible for torpedoing a show’s rating just because I didn’t care for it.
I won’t actually review this show because I’m the writer. I did watch the opening and will simply offer my kudos to the cast and crew who found a way to realize my bizarre mash-up of an idea. Did it work for me?
Yeah. They found the humor in the script I wrote and while I don’t expect I will ever win an Ivey for my writing, I’m satisfied that I didn’t write a complete pile of crap. What will the audience think? Given we had the 5:30 Thursday slot, my sample size is still pretty small. Hopefully later shows will help all of us have a better idea how we did.
I would go to a Comedy Suitcase show even if it had nothing but one star ratings. I would assume that the audience simply didn’t get the show and I was going to enjoy it regardless. I’m almost positive I’d be right.
My kids are in love with their work so it wouldn’t be be the Fringe Festival without a family visit to the world of Josh, Levi and whatever extremely talented people they asked to join them this year.
At the end of the show, my eldest told me that he liked my show more than theirs this year. I bring that up mostly as a humblebrag because I love my son but boy was he wrong. There is no way my show is better than theirs.
The cast was uniformly great and the physical comedy (one of Josh’s strongest suits) was probably some of the best you’ll see at the Fringe this year. You probably don’t need me to tell you to watch their show but I’m going to do it anyway.
So…um….watch their show.
Josh Carson annoys me because he writes more good jokes for a one hour Fringe show than I write for every damn show I write in a year. For the last several years, he has had little difficulty pleasing audiences. I don’t see that trend ending any time soon.
It certainly won’t end this year. Backlash is, surprisingly, a little more thoughtful than what he’s done in the past. He has a point to make about the nature of dreams and the relationship between mentors and their students and even about the comedian psyche.
All of the serious thoughts are buried beneath the usual avalanche of jokes that come so quickly, you barely have time to laugh between them. It was nice to see that side of Josh. I didn’t miss it in his other shows but I sure was happy to see it in this one.
I knew nothing about the folks producing this show. I only knew I wanted to see a comedy and the show was walking distance from TRP.
Billed as an adult fairy tale, I was totally ready to enjoy myself. I will say this much – the college students behind me loved the bawdy jokes.
My problem, I guess, was I’d heard all those jokes before. They didn’t feel particularly shocking or irreverent. Nor did they feel surprising. I felt like I was watching people play a script at least partially written during a game of Cards Against Humanity.
I was supposed to hate the Cinderella character because she was whiny and didn’t do anything for herself. Fine, I suppose, but I wasn’t provided with a single likable character to relate to instead. The fact everyone in the show seemed to hate her the most was just mean spirited. If everyone is horrible, why should I celebrate when they triumph of the person the writer wants me to think is the most horrible?
But I will admit that there were people in the theater at least 20 years younger than me who were having a ball. They were probably hearing these jokes for the first time. To them it felt edgy and clever.