August 12th, 2010

New Tilley Hat

2010 Fringe Festival Day 7: So good we're getting jaded

Continued from Day 6: A Great Hump Day.

I've seen 30 fringes; 34 if you count dress rehearsals. In Fringes past, I'd be worried about burn out. But fringing with Carole makes things easier, so a different dynamic is happening: I'm getting jaded. I don't like to grade on a curve, but when I see three 5-kitty shows in four slots, comparisons are inevitable. Oh well.

And yes, "fringe" is not only a noun but a verb.

Fruitcake: Ten Commandments from the Psych Ward


Either Dead or Doing Well

Rob Gee spent eleven years as a registered psych nurse. He can handle a Fringe audience. True stories (with the names changed) are hilarious and maudlin at the same time. These are real people, in bad situations not always of their making. Rob's delivery is perfect: As fast-paced as Jimmy Hogg (and with a thicker, non-Jamaican, accent), he tells tales of the committed, and how to handle them. Caring yet cynical, and always hilarious.

Since Rob always reads reviews: Thanks for revealing how to say "fisting" in ASL.

If this counts as "stand up comedy", then he's the best stand-up in the Fringe, which is saying a lot.

For some reason, this review hasn't made it to the fringe web site. I called, and it's not in the queue and hasn't been rejected. I've sent it again, to the Web director. Hmm...

Taiko BAM!


Choreographed drumming

We sat in the front row, and the breeze was welcome. Not just soundwaves, but air movement from the drumheads. This modern incarnation of taiko (which means, loosely, "wide drum") is as much fun to watch as it is to listen to. Precision drumming requires precision footwork which becomes a ballet. Not just percussion: Vocals, flutes, guitar and a Japanese instrument who's name I didn't catch. But it's the drums you will remember.

Good drumming can make a good fringe, but I hadn't expected quite the variety of instruments or action onstage. The multi-talented cast was strong and fluid.

Rachel Teagle Believes in Ghosts


Interesting, not creepy, stories

Rachel hangs quite a few tales around the eerie and unexplained. She narrates and dances the stories of the Winchester Mystery House, the death songs of the largest mass executions in US history (of the Dakota indians in Mankato) and the graves underneath Savanna GA. More interesting than creepy. Oh, and Phillip Andrew Bennet Low was on hand for this performance. Can't be bad.

That Damn Audition


Moments of dramatic relief

Actors acting as actors have a strike against them to start, and writers writing as writers earn strike two. Yeah, the premise is dumb: The only thing funny about a tv show about Satan is that it would be taken seriously in LA. And yeah, the plot doesn't really resolve. So I feel a little guilty admitting that I laughed all the way through. The writing is witty and observant. The actors make their parts work. Even the monkey is good. Call it four-and-three-quarter stars rounded up.

When I feel guilty about a five star review for a show I laughed at, I know I'm getting a bit jaded. I'm a tough reviewer, fair but honest with a dash of cynicism. And yet, 7 of the 34 shows have garnered a true five star review, with another 5 being four 1/2 rounded up. A certain complacency is setting in. Time to get some sleep.