Monday, August 3, 2009

l'etoile magazine's 'Best of the Fringe'

by Rob Callahan

BEST OVERALL

Crescendo

Crescendo (Allegra J. Lingo) reboots classic Greek Mythology, interweaving the storyteller's take on Daedalus and Icarus with modern commentary and humorous, often touching autobiography. Beginning dramatically in complete darkness and ramping immediately up, Lingo's polished showmanship dances gracefully alongside the complex use of sound and lighting to transport the audience to her settings. A well-written and moving performance.

For more info on this production click HERE

Tragedy of You

Tragedy of You (Joseph Scrimshaw Productions) sets the stage and tells the Shakespeare-inspired story of a fantasy world based on the life of a random audience member. Lampooning every trope in The Complete Works, Fringe veteran Scrimshaw keeps the audience engaged and laughing as the tumultuous treachery and tragedy of [you]land unfolds over five acts. Part Mad-Libs. Part Which Way Books. All entertainment.

For more info on this production click HERE



BEST SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF

Schroedinger's Cat Must Die

Schroedinger's Cat Must Die (The Pauper's Theater) immerses the audience in Dr. Volt's Mad Scientist Training Program. Set and performed in an actual classroom at North Central University, this funny, educational and kid-friendly performance features washed-up villain Dr. Volt reminiscing over his glory days of cartoonish super-villainy while teaching physics and world domination. His Hyde-like clone pantomimes physics demonstrations in the style of Mr-Wizard-Meets-Harpo-Marx as the setting and character work together to make the audience forget that they're actually at a show, and not a seminar on mad scientistry.

For more info on this production click HERE

Squawk


Squawk (Walking Shadow Theater Company) is a buddy story about two Army officers, one of whom happens to be a penguin. The small cast's playing it straight and the superb puppetry combine to bring the audience in to a world where the story and setting are almost believable. Liberally paced with subtle and not-so-subtle humor, and with understated parable-like commentary, the show sparks some thought as well as entertains.

For more info on this production click HERE


BEST SHOW FOR THE KIDS

The Frog Prince

The Frog Prince (Top Hat Theatre) is an all-ages musical with a large, colorfully-clad ensemble cast. While aimed at children, the rampant cuteness and occasional Pixaresque joke for the grownups will entertain most parents as well.

For more info on this production click HERE



BEST STORYTELLING

Drinking Stories

Drinking Stories (Jen Zalar) delivers poems, puns and storytelling in an intimate atmosphere while Zalar mingles with and entertains the audience. This mature, fun production feels less like going to see a show than it does hanging out at the bar with your funniest, most charismatic friend.

For more info on this production click HERE

A Cynic Tells Love Stories

A Cynic Tells Love Stories
(Katherine Glover) pokes frustrated fun at the many ways in which the heart can break. Glover shares some universal dating phases with an appropriately-matched disposition and a personal story from her own past, summing up the ways in which the heart misleads the mind and body with such astuteness as, “My emotions have such bad taste!”

For more info on this production click HERE

Slow Jobs

Slow Jobs (What Happened Productions) reminds those among us unhappy in our vocations just how much worse it could have been. Curt Lund and Laura Bidgood play off of each other's energy and wit as they share tales of office politics, romance, firings, quitings and the dream jobs for which the little kid in all of us still sometimes pines.

For more info on this production click HERE

The Tenth Muse

The Tenth Muse (Elisa Korenne) tells eight stories with accompanying songs, within the larger story of a muse in training and a struggling singer/songwriter who work together at honing their talents. A funny, quirky and well-paced performance.

For more info on this production click HERE



BEST DANCE

Thrower of Light

Thrower of Light (Cathy Wright) is an hour of ballet, modern and interpretive dance set to some unusual musical choices. Dancers create or supplement the music using their own bodies and mouths as percussion. Peppered with a couple of upbeat, energetic numbers, most of this impressive athletic display seems to be meant for fans of the avant-garde.

For more info on this production click HERE


BEST COMEDY

Animal Cracker Genocide

Animal Cracker Genocide (Ben San Del) is an hour of smart, geeky stand up comedy delivered with a self-deprecating charm that eases the audience into San Del's brand of awkward humor. A quotable, memorable routine.

For more info on this production click HERE

A Peoples History of Love


A Peoples History of Love (Mickey Foley) follows the evolution of dating, commitment, devotion, breaking up and settling. This minimalist production brings the audience to the Stone Age, Civil War, Victorian Age, Golden Age, Present Day and the Dystopian Future surprisingly well despite of the lack of any costumes, sets or props. Plenty of laughs and some subtle, poignant moments as well.

For more info on this production click HERE

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Habitat: A Documentary Theater Project


Habitat: A Documentary Theater Project (Rachel Anne Johnson) is not a feel-good show. Actors converse with lines scripted directly from the words of Duluth's homeless population and those involved with the issue. A somber, eye-opening experience that will appeal to those inclined toward social conscience.

For more info on this production click HERE

UNMET POTENTIAL

Sodom, Gomorrah & Adam

Sodom, Gomorrah & Adam
(Adam Frischhertz) is a musical revue reminiscent of Queen and other epic seventies rock acts, mixed with fun and poignant stories, most of which take a light-hearted look at the performer's past struggles with addiction. The music is good and the storytelling is enjoyable, but the production suffered from painful and abundant tech problems that diminished the overall experience.

For more info on this production click HERE

Nightmare Man

Nightmare Man (Entropy Productions) features an edgy, albeit clumsy, script redeemed in part by the efforts of its actors; notably Matthew Kelley's audience engagement and Michael J. Sielaff's commanding, emotive expressions. The troupe have the chemistry to become future Fringe mainstays if they can tighten up their writing.

For more info on this production click HERE

For more information on the Fringe Festival and the 160+ productions on the schedule visit www.fringefestival.org

2 comments:

Juleana said...

Great reference guide, Rob!

jim said...

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