2016 Fringe Reviews – Day 3
I had a big weekend what with all three of my shows opening on the same day.
Now I know what you’re thinking – three shows? What the hell Tim, are you some kind of attention whore?
Um…yeah. I mean I’m a writer and a performer. I can’t get around the fact that I like to put things in front of an audience. Sometimes those things include myself. I like it when people pay attention to that stuff. And while I didn’t set out to be involved in three shows, when the opportunity presented itself, there was no way I could say no.
Every artist at the Fringe is, to some degree, looking for attention. They have talent and they want you to notice. They have ideas and they want you to listen. I love them for that. Because I love to notice talented people and I love to listen to interesting ideas. I love watching people trying new things. I love watching them succeed. I love watching them fail.
I’m totally OK with the fact these people want my attention. Because they deserve it.
Trump Count: 7
I was the playwright on this show so I won’t review it. I will just say a few things about two longtime collaborators who worked with me. The first is John Newstrom, who I’ve been working with since Highlander: The Musical.
For the most part, our relationship has been me telling him about this crazy show idea I have and him saying “OK, let’s do that.” Then I hand him a script and say “good luck!” This show is fairly wordy because Dr. Seuss and Sherlock Holmes are both wordy sources. I was counting on John to provide the physical comedy that would really sell the show. Of course, he delivered. It is really great that I can trust him to take what I write and make it better.
The second is Dawn Krosnowski. I just feel incredibly lucky that she is willing to perform in work that I write because she’s just so freaking good. When I decided to write a piece about Sherlock Holmes, I knew I wanted Dawn to be Holmes. It wasn’t because I was excited about a gender bent role. It was because I knew she’d nail it. And she totally did.
The rest of the cast is an amazing combination of people with whom I have worked before and people I would love to work with again. I’m really pleased with the results.
I’m one of three storytellers in this showcase of speculative fiction. Obviously, it wouldn’t be right for me to review my own show. But I’m going to tell you some of the things that I really loved about putting our performance together.
First: I appreciate that our three styles are so different. It really helps one understand that storytelling is not just one thing.
Second: I loved that phillip low curated the show. He had us submit our stories and offered editing and presentation advice. He pulled in a musician to enhance the presentation. He really helped make our time on stage better.
Third: It scared the fuck out of me. I’m not a storyteller. At least I never thought of myself as one. Yet I found myself asked to do something far outside of my comfort zone and I did it. So far, the feedback on my story has been astonishingly positive. Which is awesome. For me, though, the important thing was just stepping on stage and doing it.
One might think that a show in which several people stand at a music stand and read the words of supreme court justices would be boring. It turns out that thought would be completely wrong. Instead, it is an amazing introduction into the legal wheels that drive our nation. In recent years, the court has become what might be the most important political battleground in our nation. I have all sorts of feelings about that but this show gives you a window into why. I particularly enjoyed Zoe Bentson’s presentation of a decision by Justice Anthony Kennedy and Katherine Glover’s passionate reading of a dissent by Justice Sonya Sotameyor. The show has sold out once and, I expect, will again. You should make sure you get there a little early.
Allegra Lingo returned to the Fringe stage with a series of essays about being a new mother as well as a writer. Her stories are droll and thoughtful and heartfelt. She has a comfortable presentation that puts her audience at ease almost immediately. And she totally told a story about being a Disney addict! If I didn’t already relate to being a writer, I totally relate to that. Allegra is a really gifted artist and I loved seeing her back on stage at the Fringe.
I was one of many artists tapped to help put together this show about distance and communication. Windy Bowlsby curated this rotating cabaret of dance, storytelling, sketch, and improvisation and if there was ever a show to give someone imposter syndrome, this would be the one. I’m in a sketch with Matt Kesson! I mean, I’ve thought he was the bomb since I saw his first Monster Science presentation and thought “who the hell is this clever and hilarious giant?” I’m sharing stage time with Ariel Leaf and Erin Sheppard and Ben San Del? AND Duck Washington and Cole Sarar and…well you get the idea. Yeah. I don’t know what the fuck I did right to end up in this show but I need to figure it out quickly so I can do it again.
So this show was sponsored by Fearless Comedy and I’m the Artistic Director. That said: I had nothing more to do with this show than hoping it was a success. The basic concept is fairly simple – it is an improvised singing competition. It lives or dies on how well the performers manage to carry out that extremely challenging task. I have some experience with improvised singing and let me tell you – it is hard as hell. You try to come up with a rhyme for “podiatrist” in five seconds. The performers really nailed the concept and Chad Dutton is a fantastic improvisational keyboard player. For me, the biggest issue was the fact I got a little tired of the format by the time the show finished. Nobody stopped being talented or funny. I just started wanting something a little new. Kudos to Chad for making the final song a rap because it helped to change things up a little bit.