August 3rd, 2008

New Tilley Hat

2008 Minnesota Fringe Festival Day 3

A successful day, with unexpected pleasures and a mistake that turned out okay. I had five shows scheduled, in clumps. Two in the same venue starting at 1pm, a break, two more in the same venue, another break, then a fifth show in the closest venue, which I would walk to. The fifth one was always iffy. Ah, but it got more interesting.

The for evening shows, I met up with dreamshark and Richard, and we saw two great Fringes! As has been the case several times, the one I was sure would be good was, and the show following that turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

Then, after eating dinner at the Bedlam Theater (Fringe Central) and mulling over whether to go to the fifth show or not, I got directions to the theater, and decided to try for it. Parking was difficult downtown, and I barely made it. I'm glad I did that show in the last slot. But... when I got home I discovered that I had completely spaced the show I had scheduled. *whew* I was lucky the show was on when I got there, and am luckier that the show I missed can be made up tomorrow, with only a little juggling. Now that I've rambled, here are the Day 3 reviews as posted on the Fringe web site, with LJ comments. (And I spoke with the Fringe's web guy, who says you can use quotes in the title of the review. Many of my titles are lines pulled from the play, and can finally use the quotes, and maybe they'll go back and put them in the reviews I've already done.)

Among the Oats **

Contemplating Mortality From A Box

Dreams and elections in a box of oatmeal 22 steps wide. Well acted absurdist bickering has some good moments but never really comes together.

My Hovercraft is Full of Eels ****

Ringing the Liberty Bell March

High School kids do some of my favorite Monty Python bits, with original animations. While uneven, I got caught up in it and laughed and clapped rhythmically with family members. The live band rounds them up to four stars.

I was amazed that High School kids were so much into Monty Python. I did an interviews with the 18-year-old who did the adaption. The kids didn't get it all right -- the sketches were blackouts, not the no-punchline flow of the circus -- but I was laughing as much as I was watching them do material that they clearly loved.

The Cody Rivers Show Presents: Stick to Glue *****

Every Finger Choreographed

The Cody Rivers Show is brilliant as usual. On a bare stage with two stools. two people create an office, an alien landscape, and a ton of laughs. They never stop, and one sketch abruptly becomes the next, perhaps to be referenced later. More dance than comedy and more cerebral comedy than you think can fit in the time slot. How DO they remember all that?

One of the sketches was a long segment of them saying sentences backwards. I only caught some of it, of course. I wish they'd release a record/mp3 so we could listen over and over...

Mortem Capiendum *****

"Don't make beautiful things dirty"

Hysterically funny send-up of a Depression-era Medicine Show. The con men squeeze an amazing amount of laughs from their attempts to separate you from your money, and from capturing the devil. Sometimes metaphysical and sometimes on the dark side, the show is well-written and superbly acted.

dreamshark liked this better than Cody Rivers, and I admit it probably had more yuks per minute, but it kept hitting all my buttons: Unlikable people doing unlikable things. There was overlap with The Spaceman Chronicles, which I didn't like. That I laughed a lot and gave it five stars is a great honor.

Herocycle ***

"Watch him fly"

The many lives and near deaths of Evel Knievel are related by an aerial trio who swoop and hang in all manner of positions. The biography works, but less successful is the attempt to make him a hero in the Joseph Campbell sense.

Thirteen Fringes, counting a dress rehearsal but not counting the showcases, and four of them got the coveted five star rating (though one was really four and a half, but the web site only allows whole numbered stars). Three four star ratings. That's a remarkable start, with more to come.
New Tilley Hat

2008 Minnesota Fringe Festival Day 4 pt. 1

A pacing day. After yesterday's grueling five-show run and screwing up my schedule by going to the wrong show in the last slot, I need a slower day. Fortunately, Sunday shows start at noon with the last start at 10:00. I went to two shows at the Bryant-Lake Bowl, which has the advantage of a) being within walking distance and b) serving breakfast. Shows at the BLB are 75 minutes, so the time slots are different (which is why they start at noon, not 1).

elephant shoes & olive juice ***

"To be great is to be misunderstood" -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Very Fringy. The young actors explore methods of communication, or lack thereof. Not all of it works, but the performances are affecting and you might hear the world a little differently afterwards. The sustained laughs come from a long sketch wherein a secretary desperately needs to unsend an e-mail.

elephant shoes
Before the show: Acknowledging when an audience member submitts a letter
elephant shoes & olive juice
MN Fringe Festival, Bryant-Lake Bowl, 8/3/08

Conceptual fun for this former Communications major. I only noticed one geek mistake, as they said "ISP number" when they meant "IP number", but hey, it's the Fringe. Indeed, I gave them an ad lib: At one point, they dropped a keyboard, and the actor humbly apologized. "Computer crash!" I said, which he repeated to much jocularity. Before starting, they provided notecards and envelopes and asked people to write letters, from anyone to anyone. Of the fifty or so, they picked three near the end to read. Mine wasn't one of them. For the record, I submitted:
Dear God:


-- Everyman

Fool For A Client *** 1/2

Zero tolerance = Maximum Government

What would you do if you were a vacuum cleaner salesman who wanted to sell ice cream but discovered that banks treated you like a mark being sold a vacuum cleaner? If you are Mark Whitney, you'd go to jail, become versed in law, challenge the rules, and tell your story as a stand-up comic. His routine comes with experience gained in hindsight and a dash of bitterness and is delivered with time-tested laugh lines. Three and a half stars rounded up to four for sustaining a funny rant for 70 minutes.

The Fringe rating system only allows even numbered kitties... er, stars, but it's really three and a half.

I have two more on my schedule, but I'm probably only going to make the first one.

Shockwave Rider Tim Mooney tours the country doing Moliere Than Thou (last year's Fringe show) and the SF play Criteria (from two years ago), and he's always on. This year he's doing Karaoke Knights at McMahon's Pub, a Bring Your Own Venue.

If I have gumption and/or energy, I may see Sun Tzu's The Art of War, but I'll probably go home, catch the last few questions at my usual Trivia contest, and get some sleep.