A pacing day that started by finishing up a Shockwave Radio Theater podcast about the Fringe, morphed into a hot afternoon and ended with two strong shows.
The Visitor, or From Here to Angina ** 1/2
Needs More Klezmer
Two short adaptations of Chekhov plays with the common theme of marriage proposals and heart attacks. Mildly amusing and short for the usual BLB slot. The klezmer band was the best part, rounding it up to three kitties, and more would have been appreciated.
Klezmer band at The Visitor
Bryant-Lake Bowl, 8/4/08
Oh, I really wanted to like this one. I met the director at the Ootie Fest, and it turns out she and my cousin Joy were friends in San Francisco. Plus, it's two Checkhov comedies. Alas, the acting was mediocre and the plays didn't work well. The costumes and sets were very nice, and the band was great. Both plays built to some amusing scenes but it's an archetypal two-and-a-half star show: I don't regret going but it's no better than okay.
A Royal Birthday Mess *****
For Your Inner 8-year-old
This is a kids show, and probably works best when you're about 8. Fortunately, I still am. It's His Majesty's birthday, and the servants are well-meaning but not really up to the job without lots of help from the audience. The balloons are used for tickling, the table manners are unconventional and the giraffe wasn't invited. The kid in me wants to give it five kitties but the adult in me... aw, what the heck.
Musical the Musical *****
Rebuilding the Fourth Wall
Self-referential, raunchy, tuneful and very funny when you can hear the dialog. I like musicals, and I also like shows that tear apart genres in a loving yet disrespectful manner generating lots of laughs. Go fig. On Broadway, The Drowsy Chaperone earned a Tony nomination. For the Fringe, five kitties is the honor.
Saw this with joshuwain and Todd, with purplesquirrel in the next row. We compared notes before the show, and afterwards chuckled together before the latter two and I headed back to the Bedlam Theater to disperse. Todd sees a staggering amount of Fringes -- he saw 41 last year -- while working full time. Yes, we're all crazy to do this.
One of my standard Fringe techniques is to pick a show I want to see and schedule a show in the same venue either before or after. This way, I avoid burn out by reducing travel stress and see a semi-random assortment of Fringes. Boy, I've been extraordinarily lucky this year, or maybe I'm a better guesser. Four times (out of five days) the choreographed show was as good or better than the targeted show.
After two light, three Fringe, days, I'm seeing four tonight. We'll see if my luck holds.