Saturday is my last major day at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. I generally catch up to a few missed priorities on Sunday, but for the most part my fringing is done. Reviews from Sunday can't help anyone decide what to see. Indeed, these reviews from the second-to-last-day are curt, as I'm just adding to the buzz and statistics without setting a standard. Meanwhile, Sunday is for decompressing. I have to work on pictures and interviews, and go to Trivia.
Fortunately, all five shows on Saturday were great, including two more legit five kitty shows (for a total of 5 out of 40 seen), a four and a half rounded up and two four kitty shows. In a different mood these ratings might have been a bit different, but not by much.
|Scream Blue Murmur, Ootiefest, 7/29/09
Some of the Irish poets who performed The Morning After The Summer of Love, at the Out of Towners Showcase, Bedlam Theatre
The Morning After The Summer of Love *****
The lilt of Irish poetry combines with bongo rhythms in this examination of the peace movement and the civil rights movement then and now. A dash of audience sing-a-long spices up the show. Four and a half kitties, rounded up for the CD and to encourage them to come back to the Minnesota Fringe. A Shockwave Radio Theater Review.
The poets from Belfast were great. For the record, I wanted to entitle the review: "I stuck my tongue down the throat of terrorism" but it was too long for the field (and I'm not sure of the exact quote from the poem; hard to write in the dark). While the crowd wasn't quite into it as much as they'd hoped, the poetry and songs were very good. I have their CD, and cuts will pop up on podcasts and mixes soon.
I hate to grade on a curve. Each fringe should stand on its own, so I left the "rounded up" part from my notes. Certainly, it was one of the better shows at the Fringe. Still, the anti-war subject matter didn't choke me up in the way that "Death Camp Diaries" or "Songs of War" did.
|Candy Simmons of Afterlife, Ootiefest 7/29/09
One of the three characters portrayed in Afterlife, caught here at the Out of Towners Showcase, Bedlam Theatre, the day before the Fringe officially started.
Three connected stories
Candy Simmons effortlessly puts on three characters to tell their interesting stories from the first person. Each story stands on its own, and together they form a strong narrative. A Shockwave Radio Theater Review.
I didn't see how the middle story directly linked from the first to the third, though clearly that was the notion. If you missed the slides of the birth and death years of the characters, the connections would be harder to make. Still, all three stories were well told, the first being my favorite; I guess serial killers were a theme at this year's Fringe. Karmic retribution is a bitch.
|David Gompper, Ootiefest, 7/29/09
Keyboardist and composer for Songs of War (see earlier LJ for picture of Stephen Swanson) at the Out of Towners Showcase, Bedlam Theare, 7/29/09
Was My Brother In Battle? SONGS OF WAR *****
A strong voice and a strong narrative
I can only hear "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" so many times a year. David Gompper and Stephen Swanson do powerful versions of anti-war songs originally conceived in anger at the remarkably poor media coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They will never be on Fox or CNN. A few brave musicians cover Tom Lehrer; fewer are brave enough to cover Charles Ives or Flanders and Swann. I look forward to listening to the CD... after a time. A Shockwave Radio Theater Review.
For a Fringe dominated by comedy, musical comedy and conceptual dance, at least in the ones I went to, the most affecting shows were the first-person accounts of the aftermath of war. Swanson sung "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" at the Ootiefest, which immediately made "Songs of War" a priority, but for later in the Fringe. It still chokes me up just hearing it in my head; yes, I'm a romantic. "Death Camp Diaries" on Thursday acted as fulcrum to these songs, and I have a hard time talking about that one as well.
Maybe I need to scream at injustice, literally. I should go to a town hall meeting and engage, loudly and verbally, with the morons who are yelling lies and right wing political correctness. I'm normally a calm person, but sometimes you just have to get their attention, and if it provides catharsis for me so much the better.
|John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson, 8/7/09
The actors who parodied them in Bard Fiction, anyway. Here caught at the Rarig before a performance on Friday, 8/7/09.
Bard Fiction ****
Too many years have passed for me to catch all of the Pulp Fiction references, but I retained enough to follow along. Even if you haven't seen the movie, much works. A clever idea well handled. A Shockwave Radio Theater Review.
Yet another show you'd think would be right up my alley that I didn't rate as highly as some. Oh well.
Sideways Stories From The Wayside School *****
"Do your homework"
Hilarious, silly, scary, touching and whimsical all in one package. The acting and stagecraft are flawless. The story of the 30th floor of the Wayside School touch adults and kids on different levels. Whether a synchronized *gasp* or being turned into an apple, the kids' comedic timing will have you in stitches. The adults are in charge of this strange world, and not always on the side of the kids. A Shockwave Radio Theater Review.
The best show of the Fringe, which is saying a lot. Noah Bremer and the Four Humors are spectacularly on target. I've never encountered the Wayside School books, but just might have to now. Also, the most crowded I've ever seen the Rarig Thrust, though it lost out to "Bard Fiction" for the Encore spot on Sunday.
*whew* What a ride. I'm scheduled to see one more, "Where Egos Dare", which will actually be shown twice on Sunday, as it's the Encore show at the Theatre Garage. I'm seeing it at 1:00, then winding down the day with Johanna and Trivia. Oh, and posting this...
Continued from Day 9: Gambols lost and won and continuing on to Day 11: coda and overview.