2016 Fringe Reviews – Day 8
I like to play Fringe venue bingo. Basically, I’m trying to watch a show in every Fringe venue (not including any site specific shows). I very rarely manage to pull this off but I enjoy the challenge.
This year’s biggest obstacle (if you can call it that) has been the high concentration of shows on the West bank. With eight venues within walking distance of each other, it is very easy to park yourself on the West Bank for a night. I’ve done it several times already.
Getting to the Uptown and Northeast Minneapolis clusters have required actual effort. I only have one venue left so I think I’m going to fill my bingo card. I feel like there should be a button or something.
Another note on venue – there are two differing philosophies on shows in your own venue. Mine is to see as many as possible in order to support other artists. I’ve heard others believe they should avoid seeing shows in their own venue or they increase someone else’s chances of getting the encore.
Honestly, I don’t even understand why that second philosophy is a thing. If you lose out on the encore because a couple of members of your cast went to someone else’s show, congratulations! Your show was super popular too! Besides, how do you know those folks didn’t go see your show?
Support your venue buddies. It’s just nicer.
Trump count is still stuck at 10. I must have gone to all the shows with Trump jokes in the first few days.
I went to this show by accident. The plan was to see a show at HUGE theater but for some reason, I thought it was at the BLB. My bad.
I was very interested in the subject matter because it was about a family cruise to Alaska and I’ve been on a couple Alaskan cruises. While the show was a story about Les Kurkendaal’s experiences, I just wanted to hear about Alaska.
I haven’t seen one of Les’s shows before. I was interested in his story but I found that the presentation lacked any kind of built. He started high energy and just stayed there. He also has a tendency to pace on the stage rather than planting himself. A little less movement and a little more focus on varied intensity would help.
Here’s where listening to other people talk about shows can be helpful. I hadn’t even considered this show until several people told me how much they loved it. The buzz has slowly been building over the course of the Fringe and last night’s show sold out. I imagine their next one will as well.
This show is all about creating a sense of fear and isolation. Creative technical decisions manage to help the audience feel like the characters are completely isolated from one another and can only communicate via radio.
The direction is fantastic. The show isn’t afraid to allow for long, uncomfortable silences.
It is every bit as good as I was told. If you can’t make it to their final performance, you may still have a chance if they get the encore. Go see this one.
Ben San Del has created a darkly comic show about existential ennui. If you know Ben, you shouldn’t be too surprised.
He has, as is frequently the case, assembled an ultra talented cast of performers. My favorites were Joshua Scrimshaw and Rachel Petrie as possibly sentient apple trees. I mean, standing around and holding branches is not the most prestigious role in the fringe but they carry it off with considerable skill.
The show is thoughtful and funny in turns. There are a few points where it gets bogged down in its own philosophical musings but those moments are rapidly rescued in an adept and clever fashion. Frequently by talking trees.
I make no secret of my love for the shows of Ferrari McSpeedy. Joe Bozic and Mike Fotis have a deeply disturbing sense of humor that is, without question, right up my alley. I also love spies.
To describe the plot of this show is an exercise in futility. It is a series of painfully hilarious scenes that acknowledge spy tropes before completely blowing them to pieces in favor of something considerably more absurd.
My favorite, though, was the elevator scene. I don’t know how to describe it except to say it was a scene that nobody should have been able to make funny. It should have been tedious and annoying.
But it was not.
I didn’t think that anything would supplant my John and Lacey Zeiler for my favorite comedic moment of the festival. This show pulled off what was, at least, a tie.