August 8th, 2006

New Tilley Hat

Fringe: Day Five

Another choreographed day, where I went to see three plays largely because the venues are very close together, up and down Franklin Ave, with easy parking.

1926 Pleasant Four Stars
The Seventh Guest in your condo A beautiful, beautifully done, set-piece. Interactive, cooperative and creepy. The audience (all 18 of us, together) has to solve puzzles to unlock the next piece of the story. The puzzles don't have much to do with the plot, sort of like many of the early video games, but that's okay: We had a grand time working together. I would recommend a) going with a bunch a friends and b) reserving your tickets well in advance. It would be nice if the actual storyline were clearer, but the unique venue is used to great effect. ( I hear a Fringe button is good for $5 off the purchase of a condo... don't quote me...)

Watching Porn Four Stars
It's Not In The Dictionary Watching Porn is about a clueless guy (much like you or me... well, okay, it's about a guy like me), who doesn't really understand sex, much less love. Uncomfortable situations are punctuated by laughs that get bigger and bigger as the situations become more and more uncomfortable. I hear that's what love is all about. My only complaint: Not enough real porn. Darn.

The above was written by Bill Stiteler of
Council of Doom. Last year, his Fringe show THACO was all about gaming. Partly for that reason, I thought it was a nice segue to another show about gaming in the same venue THACO was in. Met with dreamshark and R, who appreciate a good gaming story. Alas.

Carpe The DM One and a half stars
Stablehands of the Dinner Table Not particularly well written or well acted scenario of a gaming session that doesn't happen because romantic squabbles get in the way. A few okay lines and a few okay characterizations in a very short (30 min) show. The best plot device was ripped off from the comic
Knights of the Dinner Table. (Animated KotDT for your amusement.)

I don't feel like it's a Fringe until I've seen a show I didn't like. Now, that part of the experience is complete.

In case anyone wants to join me, Day Six (Tues) will be an all Rarig Center day, 5:30 She So Beloved, 7:00 Google: the Musical, 8:30 Tape.
New Tilley Hat

Fringe: Day Six

Yet another choreographed day, with all three Fringe shows in the same building. This works spectacularly well, and saves on parking fees. I'm now at 18 Fringe shows (with many more in preview and on as Shockwave guests) and these are the Dog Days. I'm trying not to get burnt out. I sat next to a guy who had seen 30 shows and was aiming for 50. I wished him well.

She, So Beloved, Three Stars
I get the message: It's not enough to be loved A one woman show, with gauze to wrap her in and a slide projector for exposition. The show is short (30 min) with lots of repetition and many, many pauses. Presumably, the pauses were for dramatic effect but I kept filling the silences with other Fringe shows. She makes her point early and often, then repeatedly. Emily Gunyou is the essence of Greek Tragedy even as she dissects the Orpheus legend, but there is a reason why some plays last three thousand years and she shrugs off the power of the original. I give her props for a good effort, but it didn't work for me.

Google: The Musical, Four and a half stars
Wear a pocket protector Never buy version 1.0 of anything, and this show needs some tweaks to make the plot coherent and the voices come across better. Some very good lines got swallowed up in the Thrust auditorium, which is otherwise well-suited for the show. Having said that, Google: The Musical is almost a killer app. Loads of fun, computer jokes galore, and even a plot that has something to do with Real Life (tm). Being a geek (such as myself) helps, but isn't necessary. Some user-friendly songs and some high-end singing matches a bright ensemble cast that needs to be individually mic'd. You should sample this show.

Tape, Three Stars
Not My Cup of Tea Well scripted (if you like incessant bickering) and well acted (all the actors successfully came off as complete dicks), Tape hits several of my buttons: Unpleasant people doing unpleasant things, ostensible friends ripping each other to shreds, emotional blackmail, predictable plot. There were some good lines and the subject matter deserves a sounding board, so I'm happy to have this kind of play in the Fringe. But I'm pleased that I got this particular Fringe experience out of my system.

Scheduled for tomorrow:
Foreign Exchange Vampire at 5:30 and Criteria at 7:00 in the same venue, and Phyro-Giants at 8:30 fairly close by.