August 1st, 2008

New Tilley Hat

2008 Minnesota Fringe Festival Day 1

A good start: Two plays featuring science/science fiction on the radio bracketed two musicals. All but the first were really good, with the last one being the best. Note: Unlike previous years, the Fringe only allows full star ratings, and you can't give a show **** 1/2. This forces some rounding, which I'll mention here on LJ but not necessarily on the Fringe site.

The Spaceman Chronicles **

"0900 AM-ish"

Some good laughs and a dash of pathos in a story of a man's dream and how it affects his son's hope of being a spaceman. The shadow puppetry is good.

Audish ****

Monty Python Does A Chorus Line

The kids are talented actors and remarkable singers. The show is fun and strange, full of whimsey with a cynical but all-too hard-boiled view of show business.

Great American Horror Movie Musical ****

Recreating MTV

The show recreates several 80s music videos around a plot dealing with the search for serial killer Eric Rudolph. Often very funny and the familiar music is well done.

War of Worlds: The Musical - A Tribute to Old-Time Radio *****

"Who's Off First"

Several 30's radio genres get sliced and diced. The routines are sharp, the situations are funny, the repartee is tight and the ensemble singing is marvelous. Oh, and the Martians are fun too. W. G. Herbert... er, HG Wells would be pleased.

LJ Note: Really **** 1/2 stars, but it was the best show of the evening so I rounded up. I've written plays with similar tropes and we tackled the story head on with Warp of the Worlds, the 1982 Minicon Live Stage Show. But Shockwave Radio didn't do musicals. This show was about a radio show, and not aimed at making an actual audio recording, so they could do a lot more. And they did.

Saw three of the shows with freeimprov, who was taking official Fringe pictures. Did several interviews and such. Podcast coming soon. Whee! It has begun!
New Tilley Hat

2008 Minnesota Fringe Festival Day 2

A pacing day, where I only saw three Fringes (!), ending with one that didn't fit in its time slot very well. Spent the day editing audio and catching up on sleep. Meanwhile:

BULL "An American Story of Bullheadedness" **

"You Have To Fight For Happiness"

Occasionally amusing with well-drawn characters but only an okay adaptation (of Rhinoceros). The kids were good in the beginning but needed to be tighter throughout to pull it off. I saw the first show, so maybe they will.

Kafka's Disgusting Tale of Transformation, A Buffoon's Metamorphosis ***

"He's Fine, He's Just Sick"

Bizarrely unpleasant to the point of likability. Almost. The characters were cartoonishly disgusting and played for pathos. Really three and a half stars, rounded down for being only 35 minutes.

Deviants *****

The Dark Side of Dysfunctional Families

Deviants is everything a Fringe show should be. The structure is superbly conceived and developed. The versatile actors make the choreography seem like natural movement. The unique Soap Factory space is used to great effect. The story is subject to much interpretation; that is, I didn't understand all of it but the goings on made quite an impact. Not for kids, nor for the faint of heart. A bit longer than an hour, so be careful scheduling the next Fringe slot.

I hadn't really planned it this way, but these three overlap personnel, as the two kids shows were directed by alumni from Please Don't Blow Up Mr. Boban.

Tomorrow I'm scheduled for five shows, plus I want to get a podcast up. We'll see if I make it.