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2018 Audience Reviews

Member Reviews

The following reviews were submitted by Fringe Member: Daniel Pinkerton

Company: Mermaid Productions
Show: Have You Seen This Girl?
Venue: Hard Times Cafe

Powerful docudrama

The idea of structuring a story as a series of random interviews that add up to something bigger is a sound one. This play pulls it off admirably. The writing is sharp, although one or two of the vignettes could have been trimmed a little. The actors were completely believable, bringing the needed naturalism to the show. Ariel's writing presents the situation of homeless kids as a complex one and makes the difficulties of reaching them as complex as they really are. A thoughtful, soulful show. If you can get those last 5 tickets, do it!

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

Great concept, superbly executed

20 playlets in 60 minutes? You can't get much more Fringey than that without live animals. But the best news is that these tight, taut stories were well written, superbly directed, and winningly acted. (I think my fave was Fairy Tale.) Some people have said that they found the randomization factor, where the audience gets to shout out which story comes next, to be jarring. I did not. I thought it added to the mood of "anything goes." I do, however, wish the bios of all six versatile performers (and the director?) were on their Fringe page.

Company: Custer & Schmidt
Show: Our Best Life
Venue: Rarig Center Thrust

Holy crap, it's funny

Shanan and Emily are funny women --- I mean, HOLY CRAP are they funny! And yet, it's not just Empty Calorie Laughing. It's based on smart observation. Shanan's best stuff starts with real life situations and detail by detail makes the sketch or monologue more absurd and hysterically funny. Emily's best stuff starts out absurd, but she allows us to glimpse the real-life characters who might actually be involved in the scenario. Best Shanan: Talking to the pregnant woman. Best Emily: Why I Want to Go to Mars. So glad I saw this!

Company: Sidecar Theatre
Show: Summers in Prague
Venue: Rarig Center Arena

A gem

This two person play was charming, funny, and, in the end, had something serious to say about life and love. Solid direction and pitch perfect performances by Samantha and Avi made this show a well-deserved sellout.

Company: Monster Science Productions
Show: What To Do In Case Of Dinosaur Attack
Venue: Mixed Blood Theatre

Science, pop culture, and deadpan comedy

I've seen Monster Science shows before, and I love Rev. Matt's format: meticulous research and droll, deadpan delivery of both real science and absurd conclusions drawn from pop culture. This is very close to the best I have ever seen him. His delivery was a little rushed (not normally a problem for him), and the biggest laughs came when he remembered to breathe and let his razor-sharp writing and excellent comic timing work in perfect sync. Well worth seeing, full of laughs, and hopefully, Rev. Matt will grace a Fringe stage with a new show next year.

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

Dark yet silly

My favorite kind of comedy: taking something we shouldn't laugh at and making us laugh at it anyway. Here it's accelerated into a supremely silly black farce that moves at the speed of light. Occasionally it was too far over the top for me, but I laughed a lot and was never bored.

Company: Comedy Suitcase
Show: Slapdash Panic: Comedy Suitcase ended up in the Fringe Festival with 3 weeks notice and no show!
Venue: Strike Theater

Making comedy out of thin air

These two artists certainly could have written and rehearsed a Fringe show in 3 weeks, but clearly they wanted to see if they could create existential slapstick. The audience was roaring with laughter, and often at almost NOTHING. A raised eyebrow. A sigh. Improvised dancing. It's all hysterically funny, and it will make you realize that in comedy, it's the comic(s), not the joke. PS for Levi: "Why did the Pig Squirrel cross the road? To get to the green hot dog." OK, maybe it is the joke.

Company: Kevin Williamson + Company
Show: Still or I've Been Choreographed
Venue: Rarig Center Xperimental

Intense, powerful

I'm a theatre guy and not a dance expert, but I loved this. Dancer/choreographer Kevin Williamson starts from a place of absolute stillness, moves to tiny movements involving very specific muscles, and ends up making large, fluid movements. Thanks to the preparation, I was hyper-aware of his body's arc through space and the movement of every muscle. I was completely spellbound. A great intro to modern dance for the uninitiated. If you're already a dance aficionado, this should be on your must-see list.

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

Strange, beautiful, and unsettling

Welcome to Caryl Churchill's nightmare version of a totalitarian future where the world is at war and all nature is involved. Some of the scenes are naturalistic, some absurdist, but all use ordinary, mundane language and a dose of wry humor to give you the heebie-jeebies. It's beautifully performed, and kudos the rock band making everything from 1950s standards to Bowie add to the unsettling atmosphere.

Company: minnerican productions
Show: Broken English, Mother Tongue
Venue: Mixed Blood Theatre

Intimate story, big picture

A winning story about the joys and heartbreak that comes from growing up in Puerto Rico as well as a capsule history of Puerto Rico. Javier Morillo is a superb writer of evocative vignettes, but equally important, a storyteller with great charisma and sly comic timing. The ending, in which he speaks of life in Puerto Rico after the 2017 hurricanes, would wring tears from a stone.

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

History, feminism, and music

The legend of Erszebet is a classic, almost as well-known as that of Vlad Tepes (Dracula). The Winding Sheet Outfit finds a highly entertaining way to show us how the legend was constructed by men anxious to discredit a woman who actually had power, yet they don't shy on the brutal nature of life in 16th and 17th-century Hungary. Performances were strong, direction was tight, and script's only flaws were the metatheatrical moments where the cast spoke to us as actors, using their real names --- too clever, and broke the atmosphere. The music, sung and played by a hugely talented cast, was evocative and Brechtian in style --- it commented on the story and added to the atmosphere. I particularly loved "The Torture Polka." The Southern is a GREAT venue for this piece; I urge you to see it, and you might want to make a reservation.

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

Jaw-dropping skills create fabulous entertainment

One word from an audience member was the seed for a completely improvised 55-minute musical. The result was imaginative, witty, and more than a little silly. All the women sing, act, and improvise brilliantly; their verbal skills and physical comedy are all as good as any I've ever seen. The pianist was also an excellent improvisor and gave the women great musical underpinnings to help them create songs on the fly. It's not much use describing the plot (a kayaking story morphed into something about sibling rivalry, trolls, enchanted squirrels, and the need to balance self-reliance with a sense of community), because every single improvised musical will be different. I can say it's family friendly, and people aged 8-80 will love this. GO!

Company: Theatre Corrobora
Show: Rejection
Venue: Augsburg Mainstage

Well worth seeing

I went to see this mainly because I loved a previous play by Colwell, "It Always Rains in Paris." This was an interesting look at the fragility of love among 20-somethings. The dialogue was generally sharp and most of the characters well-drawn. Nonetheless, it fell apart a bit at the end. Why didn't the researcher have an actual name? What was the author trying to say about love, truth, and science? It was less than clear. Kudos to the direction and performances, and a big hand to the actor who had to step into a role last night. He had to carry a script, yet he did a good job of creating a character.

Company: Colleen Somerville Productions
Show: Not Fair, My Lady!
Venue: Mixed Blood Theatre

Pointed and highly entertaining

It's long past time to talk about how poorly women are treated in the theater profession, and about how sexist women's parts are --- particularly in musicals old and new. What's exciting about this show is not just that the topic is so relevant, but that the writing is sharp and witty, the staging and musical direction are tight, and the performances are flawless (these women have pipes and comic timing to die for). Therefore, this isn't just a polemic, it's a hysterically funny and highly entertaining hour. Better make a reservation, though --- the 5:30 Thursday show, one of the weakest time slots in the festival, was nearly sold out.

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