After a week of Total Fringe Immersion I don't feel burnt out, but perhaps I'm jaded. Look at my 2008 Fringe Reviews. I've give six shows the highest mark, though you have to rate in full kitties and at least one is really 4 1/2 by the old system. Still, I've front-loaded my Fringe with some really great shows and have yet to see anything really bad. Perhaps my Fringe-O-Meter goes to 11. Ah well.
Cast of Dancing Delights **
As near as I can figure out, the show was about how girls conform to society's norms then grow up to be ugly and boring and have to literally tackle a man to get married. Not a message I really wanted to hear. Three of the five dances were hard to figure out, so I may be wrong. The other two were at least interesting and the music was good, so the show works its way up to two kitties. The middle piece had the dancer interact with a live band. She directs them to cacophony. The last piece, about chasing men, was at least obvious.
After two poorly danced, meaningless, routines I was ready to declare that I'd finally seen a show I didn't like. But the live band in the third bit was fun, if poorly utilized and which made the point that the dancer didn't know what she wanted. The last bit, very reminiscent of Sadie Hawkins Day in L'il Abner, was dumb but at least I it was apparent what was going on. So I wound up with another two kittie show: Not very good, but not a complete waste of time.
Dance of the Whiskey Faerie *** 1/2
He's Words, She's Movement
She's a marvelous, flowing, boneless dancer. He's a marvelous storyteller even when the stories aren't so hot. Nice celtic themes and music round this up to four kitties.
While I rounded up to four kitties to meet the website's criterion, this was an archetypal 3-and-a-half star show for me: I enjoyed it, but not to my taste. Usually, I like the Scrimshaw shows a lot. The stories here didn't grab me, even as they were well told, and the dancing didn't tell a story, even as she was great to watch. The ending didn't really work either. Sorry Joseph.
The Pumpkin Pie Show ****
Five stories, picked at semi-random, told beautifully. This sort of thing isn't my cup of tea and I still thought it was great. I'm not fond of the randomness, and in the show I saw the first two stories were requests from the audience.
I'm not sure why this one didn't grab me better. It was my 22nd Fringe and third of the evening, and is perhaps the best indication that I'm getting jaded. Still, solo storytelling, without props or theme, rarely gets top marks from me, and four is a good rating.
On the other hand, one of the reasons I hadn't scheduled an earlier show is that I don't like performances that insist they are different every time. I usually manage to see the one night everyone agrees was the worst. Yet the reverse happened here: The first two stories were not picked at random but were audience suggestions (yelled out unsolicited) and the last story was one that apparently hadn't managed to be picked and they wanted to do it in front of an audience. The stories were very good and the readings were great. Under the old system I might have flirted with a four-and-a-half rating, but for the nonce I'll stick to four.
Shakespeare's Land of the Dead ****
"Fools often speak the truth"
Mash-up of Shakespeare and zombie movies works pretty well. It helps to be able to recognize lines from the Bard, though the story holds up even if you don't know from Elizabethan figures. The zombie story worked less well, maybe because George Romero dialog isn't as much fun to riff off.
I dunno. The concept was amusing and the acting was sharp, but it didn't transcend the title. Zombies are inherently B-movie stuff, and the show didn't handle them well. (Why were they distracted by bells? They didn't have any dialog, not even the prototypical "Braaaaiiiins", so it was hard to guess their motivation...)
On the other hand, I bet this is a great show to see more than once, as different audiences will laugh in different places. When I wrote my Shakespeare mash-up, The Fall of the House of Usherette (with Daschielle Hamlet as the hard-boiled yet indecisive crime -solver), I was soooo happy I did it at a Minicon so the audience would get the jokes. You can hear pameladean on the tape.
Meta comment: I think I'll try to unFringe today... until this evening...