Fringe Festival – Day 4
Part of my Fringe tradition is to take a night off.
When I first began Fringing, I did it hard. If I didn’t have a show, I was at someone else’s show. I wouldn’t even take breaks before my performance because I had an artist’s pass and I was going to use it.
After a full day of shows, I would go to Fringe central and stay there until 1:00 AM or later.
By the end of the festival, I’d be a little burned out.
Somewhere along the way, I realized I could take a one night break about midway through the festival and it really helped restore my enthusiasm for the whole experience.
Tonight, I’ll be staying home. By making that choice, I know I’ll be missing my chance to see something fantastic. I’ll be missing out on the opportunity to socialize with some amazing people I see only once a year.
That’s the price I pay for my fringe tradition. I hope everyone else has a great night at the Fringe.
And now on to my reviews from Sunday!
This show was co-created and choreographed by my good friend and collaborator Windy Bowlsby.
Before I say anything else, I have to give gigantic praise to Windy for simply taking on this project. The choreography was dramatically different from her typical style and to stretch herself as an artist in this way was an impressive choice.
The show focuses on the disappearance of a family member and the emotional aftermath. The dances are accompanied by a live brass quintet and tied together by a series of narrations that serve to introduce the story of each dance. There’s a lot going on.
I think all of it worked well together. The live music lends an intimacy that was a little unexpected. The musicians and the dancers are part of the same artistic moment and that is unusual for the fringe.
I thought the bridging narratives sometimes served as a weak point for the show. I understood why they were there and I think they were neccessary but there was, at times, a strange detachment to them. They were oddly impersonal given such a deeply personal subject.
That mild critique aside, I definitely recommend the show. If this was a typical Windy dance show, nobody would need convincing. Because she is reaching as an artist, it is all the more reason to go.
Not originally on my radar, I saw a show written by Ari Hoptman and directed by Shanan Custer and that was enough to get me into the theater.
The cast included Hoptman and Custer, Levi Weinhagen, Eric Webster, Joshua Scrimshaw and…yeah you get the idea.
The show is about Satan and his attempt to gather the souls of two people who don’t quite think the bargain through until it’s too late. Or is it?
Ari writes comedy that is a little bit subversive and subtle. He doesn’t have a lot of laugh out loud moments in his shows. Instead, you find yourself constantly grinning and chuckling.
I found the character of the Devil the most interesting and his journey was the most confusing. He made choices near the end of the show that seemed to come from nowhere. If there was anything missing from the show, it was that character arc.
The talent involved in the production is top notch and the show has more than enough laughs to keep me happy. Well worth seeing.
Do I need to tell you to go watch a show choreographed by Erin Sheppard?
No? Good. It should be obvious.
Much like “Bump in the Night,” Erin combines storytelling with dance in a way that is never dull. Her dances are energetic and powerful. The storytelling is a terrific complement to the dance.
I could spend a lot of time trying to convince you to go but I shouldn’t have to. You should want to go already. If you haven’t been to one of Erin’s shows yet, it is time to fix that.
Mrs. Mortimer’s Xenophobic Travel Guide
I’m going to champion this show because I fear it will not find enough of an audience. And it should.
Mrs. Mortimer is a real person who wrote travel books in the 19th century. They are horrifyingly racist and inaccurate. Viewed through our enlightened, 21st century lens, what she says is shocking and hilarious. At times, they serve to remind us that we haven’t come quite as far as we might want to believe.
Sara Broude plays Mrs. Mortimer and her facial expressions alone are enough to recommend the show.
The show features a presenter (Earnest Briggs), who guides us through Mrs. Mortimer’s attitudes. At times, I felt his lines led the humor just a little bit too much. Her own words presented without ironic commentary were typically enough.
This show made me laugh more frequently and more loudly than any I’ve seen at the fringe this year. I’m pushing it to everyone I know.