2018 Audience Reviews
The following reviews were submitted by Fringe Member: Zoey C
Company: The Band Group
Show: TITUS: Sweet Water, Silent Walks
Venue: Rarig Center Thrust
Ambitious & Powerful
I think this is a show worth seeing, especially if you enjoy dance/movement pieces and interpretations. I do think it was a bit hard to follow if you weren't already familiar with the original piece, and for a piece that was supposed to be being retold with a focus on Lavinia, a lot of the story was still occupied by Titus and the rest of the family and the various revenge plots. Especially with the heavy nature of the subject matter, I found myself wishing for a modern update of the narrative instead of just a POV shift, and that the piece could have diverged much further from the original, especially towards the end. Ultimately, I think the original play just has so much going on that it makes it difficult to adapt with a modern lenses, but this was a very solid and captivating effort. I was particularly impressed by the slimy charisma the actor playing Aaron brought to the role, and appreciated the thoughtful staging of Lavinia's assault- It was a violent and fearful experience, yes, but the choreography was not overly sexualized the way I see assault portrayed too often in other media. Rape is far more about power and violence than it is about sex, and it was refreshing to see that on stage.
Company: On the Verge Theatre
Venue: Augsburg Studio
Pretty Much What You'd Expect
This was a fun show with an energetic and enthusiastic cast, but most of the sketches and punchlines were fairly predictable. If you've got a timeslot to fill and you're in the area, check it out if you are looking for a chuckle.
Company: The Winding Sheet Outfit
Show: Blood Nocturne
Venue: Southern Theater
Put it on your must-see list.
WSO put on my favorite show of last year and I tried not to set my expectations too high for this… I shouldn’t have worried! This was a powerhouse of a show, with great vocals and fun songs, hilarious moments and serious reflections, compelling performances, and interesting themes on the nature of how stories (especially about women and others who are inconvenient for the prevailing powers that be of the time) are told and manipulated over time. The live music was great, but there were a few times where the instruments (or the tortured screaming!) overpowered the vocals and made it difficult to hear the lyrics, but I think the cast generally walked that line pretty well especially in a venue like Southern. Bring some spare cash so you can purchase a button, and write down some of the lyrics on the way out- I was humming along for hours after, but now it’s been several days and I’m appalled I can’t remember how the main theme goes! (This is a hint for WSO that I would totally give money for a recording of any quality...)
Company: Flash Grenade Productions
Show: The Flashlight Zone: 20 Science Fiction Plays in One Hour
Venue: Theatre in the Round
Twenty times the fun
I laughed, I cried, I generally enjoyed myself a lot! Like others have said, this is very much a 'mini-Fringe'- There may be some pieces that aren't your style, but there are just as many that you'll still be appreciating on the way home and thinking about the day after. I was also pleased by how unhurried this show felt- I expected it to be a bit of a race to the finish, but with the exception of parts that were intended to be fast-paced, I never felt the scenes were rushed. The space was used well, and it's seriously impressive that the cast was so comfortable with their roles that they could do them at the drop of a hat. Definitely see this with a friend (or several!), because you'll want someone to talk to about the scenes (or make friends in the audience!)- I also loved the mime and superman shorts, but the videogame/VR one was probably my least favorite... Felt too long and expected. 'Anniversary' was also a standout for me, the actors for that scene really nailed it.
Company: Colleen Somerville Productions
Show: Not Fair, My Lady!
Venue: Mixed Blood Theatre
The accuracy is... Painful. But hilarious.
This show was every 'um WHAT' thought I have ever had jamming out to my favorite musicals, except performed by a delightful and hilarious group of excellent singers! I loved the different 'sketches' and music montages, and appreciated getting to hear more about the individual experiences of the cast members. I do agree that this show might be particularly enjoyed by those most familiar with musical theater, but I think you'll have fun even if you've got more basic Broadway knowledge. I really cannot express how absolutely BLOWN AWAY I was by the singing talent from this cast. Falicia's vocal range especially stood out to me, but if I had been sitting elsewhere I imagine I could have noticed anyone else going through octaves and styles like it was nothing! This whole show is just packed with talent.
Company: The Bearded Company
Show: Swords & Sorcery: The Improvised Fantasy Campaign
Venue: Theatre in the Round
This is probably one of the funniest things I've seen all year, and incredibly impressive- When I wasn't distracted by how hard I was laughing, I was marveling at how well these guys collaborate together on their plot, pacing, dialogue, everything! I agree I was a bit disappointed to learn that the campaign goes for the duration of the Fringe Fest and I'd have to see every show if I wanted to get the 'whole story', but honestly I think they did a great job of telling a complete narrative inside of the 'installment' I saw and I'll be checking out this group to see if I can't catch local performances in the future. Definitely worth seeing, reserve if you can! Shout out to the blacksmith and his apprentice in particular, they both had impeccable comedic timing! This is also one of the few shows I've seen that really utilized Theater In The Round's unique set-up, which was very cool to see pulled off so well.
Company: Hit the Lights! Theater Co.
Venue: Ritz Theater Mainstage
A whale-spent hour of fun
This was an incredibly fun and unique experience- I definitely enjoyed the shadow puppetry the most, but the interactive (and non-interactive, too!) learning segments were also great fun. If (like me) you are unfamiliar with shadow puppetry, you are going to be asking yourself 'how are they doing THAT' every few minutes, at least until they pull you into the next adventure. The enthusiasm of the cast is infectious, and the atmosphere they create is truly believable. Unfortunately I feel obligated to deduct a star for a couple reasons: The amps for the instruments overpower the vocals in pretty much every song (and it seemed like they might have had some great vocals!), and are just generally too loud even with consideration of the 'rock concert' feel. I also felt a bit uncomfortable with the fairly topical discussion of how the industry has decimated the whale populations even into modern day, without any mention of how it similarly impacted indigenous coastal communities (and still impacts them today). Finally, I really don't feel that this show is appropriate for 'ages 12-15 and up'- There's definitely 12 year olds that might enjoy this and parents of 12 year olds that would have no objection to them seeing it, but nearly every tenth word is a curse and there's a drinking game for the show... So just be aware of that if you were planning on bringing kids, I guess? Generally speaking, I would put this show on your 'must see' list for a wide variety of Fringe-goers (anyone who's looking for something 'different'!)- It was well-worth giving up my parking spot on West Bank and then having to book it back over to catch this in between other shows, and I'm hopeful to see this company again next year!
Company: Ruckus Productions
Venue: Theatre in the Round
Campy, but lacking in real laughter or fear
If you are looking for a silly hour of horror tropes, you could do a lot worse than this show- The cast is enthusiastic, and not afraid to commit to the absurdity. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot more- Most of it is just an exaggeration of those tropes, and that's the substance behind nearly every joke. The plot was thin to begin with (which I generally don't mind in a good horror or comedy!) but really fell apart at the end, with very little resolution about anything that had happened in the show (and a bit contradictory to what had already happened, actually?) and then an abrupt turn into political commentary that felt completely out of place with the rest of the show. I understand that this is one of those shows that you'll enjoy more if you don't think too hard, but without much to enjoy, you'll just spend your time thinking about how inconsistent it all was.
Company: Quasimondo Physical Theatre
Show: Mrs. Wrights
Venue: Rarig Center Xperimental
A really excellent dance/movement piece with a well researched historical angle. Creative and strategic use of the props and movement styles to distinguish between the different characters and time periods was executed quite well- I feel a lot of interpretive pieces like this tend to melt together, but overall this was a great example of providing enough 'tell' to supplement the 'show'. It definitely made me more curious about the history of these women’s lives, so be prepared to hit up the internet after the show to find out more! The accents seemed a little comically exaggerated at times,especially at first, but my only real complaint was that some of the movement on the floor was too far downstage and difficult to see from further back, so I’d recommend sitting in the front row if possible. Overall, it was really a beautiful experience and I'd recommend it to anyone who would like to see high-quality dance and physical theater at this year's Fringe!