Long-time Fringer wearing all the buttons and showing her ticket
waiting for "This Play Is Trash"
Arena Theater, U of M 8/7/08
By one informal measure, I hit a Fringe wall: I managed to miscount the number of Fringes seen. Not a big deal, but when that happens, usually in the second week, it's time to slow down. I was scheduled to see five Fringes today, but between the Vikings game and the attempt to schedule shows in different venues to tidy up I pooped out after the third one. I'm sitting here watching Monk rather than a dance show, mellowing out and typing reviews.
I don't even have time to do another Fringe podcast...
On the other hand, all three shows I saw today were good, ranging to great.
Red Tide *** 1/2
"I wear second hand bras, you bitch!"
Ootie Fest, 7/30/08
Well acted story that slides up and around the timeline. Everyone demands the truth and no one gets it. The characters verge on likability but always skitter away just when you think there might be something salvageable. Three and a half kitties, rounded up for all the breast fondling.
Only half-kidding about the breast fondling. To be sure, there was some. The show is not for kids. It was sometimes hard to follow the interwoven stories, but that was secondary to watching everyone on stage self-destruct. This is the type of thing I usually don't like -- unpleasant people doing unpleasant things -- but there were enough odd twists and a bit of depth to the characters that kept me interested.
The Gypsy and the General ****
Astonishingly staged production that changes the definition of "up". With just a few props, minimal lighting cues and a live singer, the show morphs not just the location but the locale. The plot is thin, though effectively presented, and the performance only lasts 45 minutes, so it almost loses a kitty but I had too much fun so it stays at four.
A lot of people liked this more than me. There is a lot to like. If you're into stagecraft this is a must see. If you follow the 3 Sticks company you won't be disappointed. I was expecting more.
The Mistress Cycle *****
The Female Equivalent of "Kept Man"
Of the shows I've seen, The Mistress Cycle is easily the most professional -- and least Fringy. Five women slip in and out of historical characters to chronicle their lives, loves and loves lost. The acting is superb, the singing operatic. The script manages to avoid preaching while telling stories from a uniquely female point of view. Kudos to the piano player as well, as the music is nearly continuous.
This is the kind of play that could never have been performed fifty years ago, been scandalous forty years ago, would have played to packed Gyno-American audiences thirty years ago, and could easily have descended to whiny pseudo-feminism in more recent stagings. The Mistress Cycle has just a minimal amount of male-bashing and makes the point many times over that these women (with a few exceptions) could just say "no" to the relationships. I was hearing The Roches "The Married Men" in my head...