August 5th, 2011

New Tilley Hat

2011 Fringe Festival Day 1: An inauspicious beginning

Day 1 of the Fringe, and I've already blown my schedule. At the last minute, because I liked their excerpt at the Ootiefest, I added a dance show. That meant that Carole and I had very little time to go from the Lab to Bryant Lake Bowl. I knew we were cutting it close, but I figured the first day wouldn't be a problem.

The day started with a harbinger of things to come.

When we parked near the Lab, I put in a dollar coin. And the meter ate the coin. I sullenly put in two quarters; sufficient to get us into the evening time when you didn't need coins in the meters.

The two dance shows were good, and I'm just as happy to have seen them. Little did I know...

As in previous years, what follows are my reviews on the Fringe web site (eventually), with comments in italics extra for LiveJournal.

Mother Tongues

xxx 1/2

Aerial dancing to chatter about mother

The audio is mostly people talking about their mothers. Sometimes the troupe went out on the street to ask people. Then they created dances around the audio. I didn't really see a connection, though the dancing was excellent. Much of the modern dance had the dancers off their feet, either on the ground or on top of other dancers. You don't even need 3D glasses! The real rating is 3 1/2 kitties, with the half being for the conceptual framework, rounded to 3.

Fringe videos, interviews, pictures and links to longer reviews or just follow me on Facebook.

Carole liked this better than I did, being a mom. I enjoyed the dancing, but too much of the audio was just inane party chatter.

Violet Dreams and Unlisted Melodies


The Vagina Monologues

A technically sloppy first show was still enthralling. In a long piece, the woman dance to childbirth (and what leads up to it). I liked that several body parts not normally associated with dance were recognized. Other dances were affecting; the dancers sinuous and the choreography tight.

I liked this one better than Carole. No, it wasn't the writhing women… well, not solely. It's not actually a very sexy performance, though I doubt they could do it on broadcast tv.

After "Violet Dreams", Carole and I rushed to the BLB... to find it immensely crowded. Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks highly of the theater company. And indeed, it was so crowded that dreamshark and Richard had been waiting since 8:00 (for the 8:30 show) and also didn't get in. If we had followed my original plan and taken the previous slot off, I doubt we would have gotten there much later than 8: Hey, it's the first day! So while we lost a slot, we might have lost it anyway, so adding the second dance show sort of worked out. Certainly, it will mean less burn out later.

The four of us went to Moto-i, this year's Fringe Central. The rooftop patio is really nice, but was very crowded even on a Thursday night. While the drinks came quickly, Carole and I had some food, which took more than a half-hour to come. One would be hard pressed to use only one Fringe slot to go eat there, and I recommend against it. The beer selection was minimal but okay, and none of us had any of the saki or other specialty drinks.

Then Carole and I left Sharon and Richard to go see:

Lot O' Shakespeare

"Blow winds and crack your cheeks"


After all the Fringe show which draw from the bard, from zombies to video games, it's a treat to hear the real thing, served straight. If you're going to have Shakespeare read to you in delicious little chunks, you want Tim Mooney to do the reading. He does any of 44 monologues or sonnets. He puts the speech in context and let's Shakespeare speak for himself. Tim makes the monologues audience interactive, which is quite a feat in and of itself. If you're very familiar with Shakespeare, or only mildly familiar and want a sample of more, you will like "Lot O' Shakespeare. Truth in reviewing: Tim is a friend of mine, and I interviewed him about this play starting with Interview with Tim Mooney Part I.

Tim can really get into Shakespeare, and having a knowledgeable audience helps. He can really illuminate aspects of a play I'm not familiar with, which is most of them.

Bonus review: I saw this play last year. I haven't seen his newest version, but it's probably similar.

Underneath the Lintel 2010

There are no accidental herrings

Continued in Day 2: Ready... THRUST!

Patrick O'Brien is terrific as a tightly wound librarian who's curiosity sets him off on a scavenger hunt of epic proportions. The writing is tight, the character is endearing and the story provides much fodder for late night debates.