August 13th, 2010

New Tilley Hat

2010 Fringe Festival Day 8: Improv no, dance yes

Continued from Day 7: So good we're getting jaded.

Choreography is getting harder. We've seen quite a few of the shows high on our list. I generically like to see shows in unique venues, and
The Quest had been shuffling around the schedule since the beginning. Big mistake. I really wanted to see O(h). Good guess. To round out, we started at the Gremlin, a block away from the BYOV space. An advantage was the number of restaurants around University and Raymond. Alas, the two top eateries were closed. We had an early dinner at Caffee Biaggio; delicious but pricey for fringing.

Then a dash from St. Paul to Seven Corners. The traveling wouldn't be as big a problem as the parking. Fortunately, Carole found a space and we made it to the Southern in time to see a performance that looked like it might pan out. Which it did.

Match Game Minnesota

xxx two and a half stars, rounded up for audience and Josh's kids

Pleasant Rambling Fun

Any show that's mostly improv is going to vary from day to day, so I don't like to dump on them. But Match Game Minnesota never rose above its premise. Fun at times, and the byplay between the guest comedians was occasionally amusing. The contestants from the audience seemed to enjoy themselves. Still, a two-and-a-half star show is rounded up for audience participation and the answers given by Josh's kids (age 6 and 10).

Just like the Gene Rayburn Match Game near the end of the run, when the show descended to double entendres and in-jokes. What could have been great just didn't really work this outing. Oh well.

The Quest


Can The Dead Flirt?

Very little Joseph Campbell to hang an improv story from. And they didn't. The improv was lackluster and rarely mythic or humorous. The suggestions from the audience just seemed to get in the way. Improv shows are notoriously variable and I hate to give a bad review, but the performance I saw wasn't very good. The use of the BYOV space was okay, but the celtic music from the next door kind of distracted.

Okay, this was always a bit of a crapshoot. The actors weren't well versed in Joseph Campbell, but the leader tried to bring the improv back to some sort of vision quest storyline. Maybe it worked other times, but not this one.

Everybody Dance


Images More Than Narration

Great music, great dancing. If they were telling stories, I didn't follow. The images and variety of dance and dancers carried the performance. A highly enjoyable hour and the Southern was just the right venue.

After two improv show, this performance hit the spot. Entertaining and engaging, a lot of dancers got to strut their stuff. John Munger has fun using his hands to "dance" to Sousa's "El Capitan".



Meta Dance

Casebolt and Smith (sorry for the capitalization) spend the hour narrating and creating dance routines with knowledge and self-deprecating humor. As much a comedy routine as a dance performance, the show is paced very differently than most. O(h) succeeds due to the tremendous talents of the two dancers and their intimate (yet platonic) relationship.

Far from pure dance, yet an appreciation of dance illuminates. The two excellent dancers describe what they're doing, what they're going to do or what they have just done. Very funny to listen to, and they have the dancing chops to pull off the difficult maneuvers.

Today, Friday, is a solid day of five anticipated shows, starting with The Crock Pot and moving to Mixed Blood and thence to the Rarig. Finally, I'll get to see Ben San Del's show and the Ferris McSpeedy. Saturday is more problematic, and Sunday will be light. </i>

Continued in Day 9: The last big surge.