Friday should be the last hard day of five in a row. Today, Saturday, we're seeing five shows, but spread out among the seven slots. Sunday is clean-up day, since it will be too late for reviews to matter more than archival, and I have only one thing on tap. But in the meantime, this was a very good range of excellent shows. Also, I started using quotes in the titles, which I have been loathe to do on html grounds. Many of my review titles are quotes pulled from the show, but the Fringe site in the past has been squirrely about this. Seems to work.
The Crock Pot
xxx three and a half kitties, rounded down for being short
"An Appletini and a heart-to-heart"
I've spent the last thirty years living within a couple of miles of the BLB, yet the Lutherans of The Crock Pot were funny, but alien. "Who needs love when you have fear?" I'm glad to be a nice Jewish boy from the Catskills. Lots of scene changes made a 50-minute script seem even emptier. Three and a half kitties, rounded down for length.
Most reviewers gave this show five kitties. Is this an example of "Minnesota Nice"?
A Nice Guy's Guide To Awkward Sex
"Our Flaws Are Our Livelihood"
Another show about actors acting as actors, and without a real ending. Still, Ben San Del's writing is as sharp as in his solo shows. The women make the major moves on their fellow male comics, and the guys are awkward in any relationship. Alas, no "guide", but the comedy comes out of the situation and is driven by well-defined characters. All the actors are wonderful, though special mention must be made for Phillip Andrew Bennett Low's miming.
Despite having seen an excerpt at Wordstock X, I didn't know what to expect from this show. Ben and Phillip are always good, but in very different ways. The four actors, playing four stand-up comics in various stages of sexual experience, are terrific, and even the stand-up is fun.
Ballad of the Pale Fisherman
Powerful And Simple
Pale Fisherman has no set or costumes, just a guy in a chair with an accordion playing for six malleable performers. And yet, it's almost a ballet. The actors create a wide range of the characters in the small fishing town, the fishing boats, the church, the seals in the ocean, the Selkie on land, and more. The plot is simple but haunting; the acting is slow and gorgeous. Not a motion is wasted, not an extra line of dialog is added.
The only show I went to where everyone gave a standing ovation. This could have been presented at the Southern dance venue. I didn't see The Selkie (with Jerry C), but it would be interesting to compare.
"Ferocious But Ineffective"
A dinner is slowly revealed to be a married couple on different paths in their lives. Instead of the constant bickering of some plays, Amaretti Angels is, at turns, tender and harsh but never cruel. The humor is tempered by the bittersweet romance of long past. The waitress wouldn't get a tip from me, but works as a foil for both dinner guests. Fine acting all around, and the title sequence is powerful.
"Art And Life Are Blurred"
Speech is supremely silly and superbly acted at breakneck speed. Ostensibly about high school students competing in their High School Debate Regionals, it is, in fact, about high school students competing in their High School Debate Regionals. Along the way, they encounter death, alcoholism, the pressure of competition, a deranged Vietnam vet, true friendship and true love. Or something like that, anyway.
That's 43 fringes, counting the dress rehearsals I videoed. My previous record was last year, with 41. I have six more scheduled. *whew* What a ride.