August 7th, 2008

New Tilley Hat

2008 Minnesota Fringe Festival Day 7

A C+ day. Yes, dreamshark, I'll rate on objective technical expertise, but the deciding factor is how much the show entertained me. I try not to let my mood affect reviews, though of course there's a certain amount of subjectivity. I don't grade on a curve over the course of the Fringe -- I've given more five star reviews this year so far than in any other year and there's more to come -- but I do rate shows vs. their potential.

Boom ***

The Butterfly Bomb

Andrew Connor in Boom
Andrew Connor in "Boom"
after the 8/6/08 performance in the Minnesota Fringe Festival
Arena Theater, University of Minnesota

Andrew Connor give several virtuoso performances. He creates both sides of conversations, separating his characters by voice and posture alone. The theater in the round is used well, telling a good story with a few laughs which could have been tighter.

This is a good example of rating a show on its own merits, though comparisons are inevitable. Andrew and Mike are terrific in Cody Rivers, so I know what can be done with the talent. I felt Boom could have been better as a shorter bit. It was fun, and gave me three kitties worth of entertainment. Stay tuned for Andrew as part of a Shockwave Radio Theater podcast.

Oens *** 1/2

"Ines et Morte"

Wilson Loria
Wilson Loria of "Oens"
out of costume after the 8/6/08 show
Interact Theater, Minneapolis

A voyage from Portugal to India by Vasco de Gama is used to make a point about globalization. Wilson Loria schmoozes with the audience, sings a song in Spanish, slings some heavy-handed commentary about the Bush administration before settling down into a very affecting story about Ines de Castro. Three and a half kitties rounded down for taking so long to get to the good parts.

Wilson's excerpt in the Ootie Fest was good, so I had flagged this. It wasn't quite what I expected from the bit, which is fine. The Interact is a small, intimate, venue and he worked the crowd well.

Strawberry Fields Temporarily *** 1/2

"Sometimes comfort is a trap"

Ben Sandell
Ben Sandell at the Interact Theater
Minnesota Fringe Festival, 8/6/08

Ben Sandell is a better writer than performer but the autobiographical stories are poignant and funny. Three and a half kitties rounded up for sustaining a monolog for a full hour.

Three very different shows that I felt were about the same number of kitties. The 2008 Fringe ratings don't allow for half-kitties, and I had to do some rounding. A gentlemanly C all around, with variation.
New Tilley Hat

2008 Fringe Festival: A Few Photos

Today is another Total Immersion Fringe day, as I'm scheduled to see four shows: Leaving Normal at 5:30, Sun Tzu's, the Art of War at 7:00, This Play Is Trash at 8:30, all at the Rarig, and if I have anything left over it's a jaunt over to the Southern to see Gone, Gone, Gone at 10:00. In the meantime here are a few of the shots from in and around the Fringe.

Allegra Lingo
Allegra Lingo holds up an elusive find:
Two packets of Fringe buttons that contain all six designs!
Ootie Fest, 7/30/08

Meanwhile, at the Bedlam Theater, two floors above and several days later...

Phillip Low's Brad Pitt Moment
Phillip Low's Brad Pitt Moment
Low, posing as the superstar he may become, on the roof of the Bedlam Theater
Downtown Mpls in the background, 8/5/08

Meanwhile, several blocks away at the halfway point of the Fringe...

Rarig Center
Perusing the vast array of postcards and such for Fringe shows
Rarig Center, U of M 8/6/08