July 31st, 2009

New Tilley Hat

2009 Minnesota Fringe -- Day 1

Thursday, the first official day of the Fringe, was a busy one for me. Both Minneapolis and St. Paul declared it a Fringe Day, and the pressure was on me to get a story into KFAI. Original local news only runs Mon-Thurs. So I edited the two ootie interviews from the previous evening and sent it in. And then wasn't home to hear whether the story was used or not, as I went fringing with Johanna.

The Fringe itself opened inauspiciously.

The man who turned into a dog/Poet in New York *

"Bow wow wow"

Slow moving and very short -- 30 minutes. Some good material and okay acting don't make up for the a script that doesn't go anywhere. A Shockwave Radio Theater Review.

I kept nodding off. A poem in Spanish started the show; I timed it: Five minutes. Five min. out of an hour might be justified. Five min out of 30 is just padding. And the show was already too slow. To fill the time, the cast and stage manager came out to talk to the audience. That didn't work either.

I don't feel that I've been to a Fringe until I see a show I don't like. So in that sense, the pressure is off. minnehaha K called it, though; the other show at the Augsberg was much better, claim the people who saw it.

Dream Time Down Under ***

"Fresh off the Roo bar"

Interesting stories about looking for gold in the Australian outback and the friends he makes, and what happens to some of them. The guitar songs were okay, but I would have liked more didgeridoo. A Shockwave Radio Theater Review.

He's a good storyteller with some good stories, and I admired the parallel structure of the Outback setting and the future in the states. But it never quite gelled into a larger story arc. I might have given this three and a half stars, but the system only takes integer kitties and I had to round down.

Naomi Kritzer and family Naomi Kritzer and family

Joining us on line for Parry Hotter at the Fringe, Naomi were her parents and daughter. Augsberg Studio, 7/30/09

Parry Hotter and the Half-Drunk Twins *****

"Who wants to do the Chosen One?"

Faithful adaptation, with enough changes to avoid legal hassles. Hysterically funny most of the time. Tom Reed is superb mugging his way through all the characters, ably assisted by Andrea Olson on keyboards. Read ALL the books first, or have major plot elements spoiled. A dash of Naughty Language should keep the small kids away, but pretty much any intelligent kid who has made it though the series will enjoy it as much as their parents. Really four and a half kitties, rounded up by magic. A Shockwave Radio Theater Review.

He did a good excerpt at the Fringe-For-All so I was expecting good things, and was not disappointed. Indeed, the buzz on this one preceded the Fringe: They oversold the first show, and people had to sit on the floor. If you go, get reservations or go very early.

The Twisted Grin - Assorted Tales to Amuse and Alarm

Wish Evaporation ****

I suspect your enjoyment of this show will depend on how much you sync with Barthelme's sense of humor. I'm not really a big fan, but the actors gave the stories life, and by the end I was caught up in his askew world. The artwork and characterizations round this up to four kitties. A Shockwave Radio Theater Review.

The Twisted Grin opening set The Twisted Grin opening set

Just before The Twisted Grin. Note rat on garbage can, and Donald Barthelme story titles on the artwork. Augsberg Studio, 7/30/09
John Eichenlaub & Lawrence Ripp of The Twisted Grin John Eichenlaub & Lawrence Ripp of The Twisted Grin

After the show, I caught two of the actors next to the artwork illustrating "The Report". Augsberg Studio, 7/30/09

Schedule for tomorrow:

This Show Will Change Your Life: Intermedia Arts, 5:30 (A placeholder, as I just want to get to the next one.)

Re: Trace, Colonial Warehouse, 7:00 (One of the bring-your-own venues, this odd dance piece looks interesting and I like to get to the unique venues early.)

a break

Storm Still, Waldorf School, 10:00 (One of my Must See's, and a very small venue; a classroom. Also, the show is 95 minutes, so they tuck in late at night)

Continued at Day 2: A Remarkable Success