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2018 Audience Reviews

Member Reviews

The following reviews were submitted by Fringe Member: Brian Isles

Company: embi
Show: How to Be
Venue: Augsburg Studio

Largely meh

I thought the performance lacked a lot of heart, and I am a huge fan of dance and movement. The music served its purpose for the most part, but it was largely forgettable at times. I just wanted to see a clearer perspective with this show. This has so much promise, but it is lacking; perhaps a few more weeks would have helped to bring this production together in a more meaningful way.


Company: Vox Medusa and Infiammati FireCircus
Show: MEDUSA
Venue: Logan Park

Thrilling and memorable!

This production was thoroughly impressive and intense. The dancing was lovely, and I enjoyed the special effects and lighting throughout the piece. Whenever fire was integrated into the performance, the audience perked up and had nice smiles on their faces. Some of the dances went on a bit too long, but the effects made up for that. I would have loved to have ended on a different final image, and I would have enjoyed a shorter wrap-up by the director. It felt like it went on and on while people were trying to get to the next show to finish up the night.


Company: Red Dice Collective
Show: Cyrano on the Moon
Venue: Ritz Theater Studio

Well-constructed, but overly limited

As an English teacher, I was familiar with the backstory for this show, but a better explanation would have benefited the audience more than the silent reenactment that hit the essential elements. Perhaps a blurb in the program would have helped. Additionally, the space was incredibly limited and creatively stifling for this group. I also got the sense that the audience members struggled to see what was happening in the back. The acting was nice, and I appreciated much of the writing.


Company: Say It Loud Productions
Show: Revolt of the Beavers
Venue: Mixed Blood Theatre

Meh...

This show had moments where it was certainly compelling, and I appreciated the themes of this production; however, I was left wanting better performances, direction, use of the space, writing, and stage pictures. Everything felt like it was done without TLC, and it felt stitched together at times. Perhaps another week of rehearsals might have helped.


Company: Hit the Lights! Theater Co.
Show: HORSETALE
Venue: Celtic Junction

A pure delight for all ages!

I've seen quite a few shows this year, and nothing has made my heart feel as warm as this production! The wonderful lighting effects, the excellent music, the energetic acting, and the fun sound effects come together to create one of the most thrilling, fun, sweet, and genuinely innovative shows that Fringe Festival has to offer. This show astounded and moved me!


Company: Berlin Productions
Show: I Never Knock
Venue: Augsburg Mainstage

What did they expect?

I was going to relate the experience of seeing this show to the after effects of eating Harribo sugar-free gummy bears, but I'll avoid getting too explosive with this review. I hate to admit that I chose to see this show for the same reason that I slow down when I see a car accident, and I just had to confirm that the show was truly as painful as everyone seems to think it is. I'm not going to elaborate on the weak writing, the complete lack of a narrative arc, the worst direction I've seen in a very long time (and I'm a high school teacher that competes with other schools in my district and sees many weak shows every year), and a cast that looked like they owed the director a favor. Yes, there's room for oddities in Fringe, and I can see the comparisons to The Room; that being said, I didn't laugh, chuckle, or smile at any point of the show, and I had no desire to make fun of any of the performances because I felt awful for the people involved. With a better script and a significantly better director, I can see those same people turning in better performances. I genuinely thought that the actresses in this show were strong enough to be great if you dropped them into another Fringe show. The gentlemen, it must be said, were the real weak links in this show. They were shaky, lacked comedic timing, delivered their lines stiffly, and appeared to not understand the tone of the piece. Notice that I have not brought the sexual content into my review until this point? I have heard many euphemisms for body parts and am not offended by the use of language whatsoever, but I get annoyed by hacky writers that are trying to be "edgy" or "scandalous" by using bad language. That's the fastest way to show me that they do not have confidence in their material or their cast members. I also wanted to have a conversation with the cast at the end of the play when one of the actors mentioned that he thought the negative reviews were about sexuality; they were not. The problem lies in the writer's inability to wring any honest humor out of the premise of the show and therefore must rely on trying to shock the audience. I thought I'd walk away from this experience being able to treat it like MST3k with my wife, and we might be able to laugh about it after some time has passed. I walked away from this feeling badly for the cast members that had to put on brave faces and carry on with this sinking ship of a show. I hope that they find opportunities that better fit their talents. I hope that the writer/director walks away from this experience with a better understanding of what makes a great show; I assure you it has nothing to do with bushes, lazy blocking, strange light cues that never pay off in a meaningful way, and strong language that makes up for a lack of actual jokes.


Company: Imagined Theatre
Show: A Part of Me
Venue: Southern Theater

Lacked honest heart

While I enjoyed most of the performances and most of this show, the emotions rang a little false or forced at times. The script is a little too precious at times, and the characters don't really talk like people actually talk. I understand that musicals can have heightened dialogue, but things just felt very blah with this show. I really enjoyed the cast's voices and the songs that they did sing, but this feels very half-baked. I'd be curious to see how this show would change with more time and a better script.


Company: Wayward Theatre Company
Show: Far Away by Caryl Churchill
Venue: Rarig Center Arena

Spooky show!

I enjoyed this production thoroughly. I loved the compelling introduction and the strong character development throughout. The music was lovely, but I occasionally questioned its necessity in the show. That being said, this show is a great example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. This is a nice show if you're looking for something thought-provoking.


Company: Fearless Comedy Productions
Show: Deep in The 100 Acre Woods: A "Pooh"-dunnit?
Venue: Minnsky Theatre

Fun show!

We had a wonderful time with this show! I enjoyed watching the narrative unravel and the cast embody the iconic characters. I loved the exaggerated performances (Rabbit, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, and Roo), but it didn't always mesh well with the subtle performances (Kanga, Pooh, and Owl). The actor portraying Christopher Robbins did a great job as the hardened detective. This show is definitely worth checking out!


Company: Sheep Theater
Show: Kaboom
Venue: Rarig Center Thrust

Brilliantly hilarious

Wow! I LOVED this production! The cast came ready to play with a tight script, awesome music, minimalist set pieces, and a ready audience. While there were a few initial lines that were stepped over by the eager cast members, they fell into the rhythm of the story and delivered a wonderful, hilarious show that is the best farce that Fringe has to offer!


Company: Oncoming Productions
Show: Geminae
Venue: Southern Theater

A must see...

I've had the chance to see a lot of Fringe shows this year, but nothing has hit me harder than this show. The pacing was perfect, I loved the physicality of space, the cast was ready to play, and it seemed like everyone agreed on how to approach this show.


Company: The Coldharts
Show: Eddie Poe
Venue: Ritz Theater Mainstage

Compelling piece on Poe

I enjoyed a lot about this show, and I love the two performers at work here; they clearly love working together and bringing shows to life. I did run into difficulties with the music at times since it didn't do anything to enhance the plot; in fact, it detracted from some nice moments. I wasn't in love with the "horror" of it all. They proudly declared this to be a horror, but nothing about this show was necessarily horrific.


Company: Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society
Show: The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society Versus the Nazis
Venue: Rarig Center Thrust

Nice throwback

This was a cleverly produced show, and I loved the cast. The conceit of the show is clear, and the storytelling has a nice, zippy pace to it. That being said, the static set and the lack of variety can make the show tiresome at times, but that was to be expected. Still, this was a nice show.


Company: Loom Lab
Show: The Middle Keeps Moving
Venue: Southern Theater

...what was that?

I love theatre of the absurd, dadaism, experimental art, etc., so I was excited when I read the synopsis of this show and the reviews on this page. That being said, this show did not feel cohesive at all. They have pertinent information in the program about their production, but that's never a great sign; I don't want to have the deeper meanings spoon-fed to me in the program, and it might be a bigger issue that they felt the need to include the information in the program at all. Despite all of that, the program didn't do anything to explain the bizarre show that I ended up watching. It felt like the cast barely had a handle on the concept, and it felt like they occasionally stretched things out to fulfill the 60 minutes allotted to them. I felt every minute of this long-winded, unsure production, and there weren't many redeeming factors to the show or the performances. The creators even seemed to joke around about the fact that their show was unnecessarily confusing and convoluted and that they'd explain what it was about in the lobby; artists who have to explain their work don't have the backbone to stand by it as a piece of art alone. I would avoid this production as it was one of the worst shows I've seen this year.


Company: Hit the Lights! Theater Co.
Show: WHALES
Venue: Ritz Theater Mainstage

It's not Dungeon...and that's ok

I love Hit the Lights as producers because they're fearless in their vision, and they clearly love what they're doing. They established an aesthetic immediately before the show started, and they maintained the balance of mesmerizing shadows and various scenes. I would have loved to see more shadow puppetry, and I wish that the ending would have been more definitive; still, this was one of the best things I've seen so far this year at Fringe!


Company: Flash Grenade Productions
Show: The Flashlight Zone: 20 Science Fiction Plays in One Hour
Venue: Theatre in the Round

A little bit of everything

This show was a fun way to have a mini-Fringe Festival! There were clear hits and misses along the way, but the enthusiastic group made for a very compelling experience. I'll echo what another reviewer said when discussing the unnecessary random order of the scenes. I appreciate audience involvement, but it didn't give the show a deeper meaning (which organizing the show could possibly create). It just made the audience appreciate how familiar the cast was with each of the scenes. Still, this was a wonderful production!


Company: FredPictures
Show: The Breakfast Club: The Musical!
Venue: Southern Theater

Needs more time and deserves it

While I wish there could be more polish and TLC applied to this show, I walked away impressed that this exists at all! It shouldn't work, and it tiptoes on the line throughout the show; that being said, the dedicated cast of talented men and women had a great understanding of their characters. Great show!


Company: Shrieking Harpies
Show: Shrieking Harpies
Venue: Augsburg Studio

One of the most impressive Fringe shows

Musicals are hard. Having chemistry with your cast is hard. Improvisation is hard. By all means, the Shrieking Harpies shouldn't be as amazing as they are with all of the odds against them, but I've seen them five times now and never been let down by their incredible shows. They have such amazing talents as a group and as individuals. This is a Fringe show that is absolutely required viewing!


Company: Sister Shakes
Show: Proof! An Alien Abduction Pop Musical
Venue: Augsburg Studio

Cute production

This is a nice show for the whole family and for audience members that don't necessarily want shows with deeper meaning or challenging themes. This was just a fun time with a fun group. Nice music too!


Company: Michael Rogers
Show: Now We See It
Venue: Ritz Theater Mainstage

Great concept...fine execution

I loved the obvious passion the whole cast felt for the production, but there were some directorial choices that were strange to me. While there were some excellent stage pictures that stayed with me after I left the theater, the lack of clarity in the performances and the script made for a frustrating guessing game. Additionally, I didn't necessarily understand what I was supposed to take away from this play since it seems to jump back and forth in what it wants us to feel.


Company: The Winding Sheet Outfit
Show: Blood Nocturne
Venue: Southern Theater

Interesting concept

This piece is intelligently written and performed by the ensemble, and I loved the use of music in the staging. The lights and sound were paramount to the success of the show. I thought the pacing felt a bit off at times, and it felt like it dragged a bit too much in the beginning. As the show progressed, the pace improved, and the group felt like they were gelling together nicely. My least favorite part of the production were the 4th wall breaks that took you right out of the show. Still, nice work overall!


Company: Erin Sheppard Presents
Show: Book of Shadows
Venue: Theatre in the Round

Wow...

This was the best dance piece that I've seen at Fringe so far this year, and I couldn't look away! The dancers were incredibly gifted and dedicated to the project. Each piece felt fresh, new, and focused. Adding Taj was an inspired touch, and she is as gifted a storyteller as she is an improviser. Excellent production!


Company: Pacific Midwest Ballet
Show: Zombies And Pirouettes
Venue: Southern Theater

Wonderfully creative

While there were a few lulls and repetitive dances sprinkled throughout this piece, I appreciate the fact that they made dance thrilling for people of all ages. A woman sitting next to me commented on how entranced she was by their dancing despite the fact that she doesn't typically enjoy dance. Wonderful work!


Company: The Bearded Company
Show: Swords & Sorcery: The Improvised Fantasy Campaign
Venue: Theatre in the Round

Go see this.

If you're a fan of comedy, improv, fantasy, or enjoying life, you need to see this show. These guys have an amazing chemistry together, and their joy is evident and infectious. Check it out!


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