2018 Audience Reviews
The following reviews were submitted by Fringe Member: Heather Rand-McKay
Company: That's Enough Drama
Show: Attention Seeker
Venue: Southern Theater
Unique Theatrical Experience
A fascinating show performed with breakneck urgency, I'm glad that we popped in on this one. The show is a combination of several narrative threads interwoven in an eclectic tapestry of weirdness and self deprecation with commentary on mental health but without being didactic. It's almost violently engaging as the pace and delivery require you to hang onto every word with barely a stop for breath, but holy crap is that compelling! I'm not even sure I would call the show itself enjoyable, but Gerard is a simultaneously relatable and remarkable storyteller and it genuinely felt like sitting down and catching up with a friend who you know as being over-the-top and animated and you leave a bit exhausted but full of admiration and appreciation for their craft.
Company: Mainly Me Productions
Show: A Justice League of Their Own
Venue: Theatre in the Round
As many other reviewers have pointed out, there are definitely some pacing issues with the show. It clocked in at about 65 minutes and many lines were delivered straight through audience laughter. I think editing some scenes down a bit in order to allow for reaction time from the crowd would make this a stronger show. Additionally, the entire cast is white--which is even behind superhero movies these days. There is one kind of self-aware joke about the very whiteness of it, but seeing a more diverse cast would have added depth to an otherwise relatively surface-scratching critique of the genre. That being said, this show was still very enjoyable. I think they were perfectly suited to the space and I never felt like anyone's back was to me for more than a second or two (maybe we got lucky with seats though). The cast was excellent, funny, and engaging. There were some surprisingly great montages, which is something I don't think I've seen pulled off in a staged production maybe ever. The writing was strong, topical and funny. We had a good time in the audience for sure.
Company: Hot Chocolate Media
Show: Remy Raygun of the Space Brigade: A Build-Your-Own Space Opera
Venue: Augsburg Mainstage
Fun, Interactive Theater
I adore interactive theater as it's such an excellent way to keep an audience engaged, and a choose your own adventure is a hugely ambitious premise, especially for the performers responsible for keeping the script straight and memorizing all possible paths. I felt that this was also an honest depiction of how most of us would read through these books--keeping a thumb on the page we came from and feeling free to explore a do-over if necessary. The addition of live music was also hugely enjoyable, but I found myself wishing that the musicians themselves were a bit underutilized for their talent. Most of the time, they were quiet background and ambient sound, but occasionally themselves delivered nonverbal jokes through their instrumentation. I felt that some of the lines were delivered a bit clumsily, and that the show wanted for a bit more polish, but overall was a great stop for the afternoon. Costuming was well done and worked into the schtick, props were great, and the theremin was such a cool addition, I think I would watch someone tool around with one for a full hour and be happy. Overall would be a great choice for kids, kids-at-heart, and fans of those classic choose your own adventure books. Really fun!
Company: Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society
Show: The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society Versus the Nazis
Venue: Rarig Center Thrust
Fun, Immersive Radio
I have enjoyed every single one of their shows I’ve seen (which is only a handful but still!). I was delighted to see new (to me) sound effects and excellently performed accents. It’s such a fun time watching and listening to this group, they have such great chemistry with one another.
Show: Next: The Musical (A Sidekick Story)
Venue: Augsburg Studio
So Much More Than Cute!
So, my first notion, as I said, is to call this a cute show, but that just doesn't do justice to the poignancy and charm of the show. From start to finish, it's sweet and touching. The kids are so amazingly talented, and Angela Fox is like a real live Disney princess. The lyrics were clever and age appropriate, the music was bright, and the performances each had so much to offer. Zoey and Abby are both acted wonderfully, and the performers of the two characters really complement each other on stage. We had some atmospheric mood music in the form of huge thunderclaps but the actors were so professional and unruffled by it. I really enjoyed this show, and I knew that I would, but I had no idea how much. The very first showing sold out, so make sure you reserve ahead to catch this one.
Company: Navel Gaze Productions
Show: Fringe Orphans 4: Back in the Habit
Venue: Theatre in the Round
I have never seen a Fringe Orphans show before but people talk about it like it's an institution so I figured this was my year to experience it. I loved the variety format and there were some standout performances for me: Adelheid Berg's depiction of a robot was showstopping and her costuming was flawless; I'm not sure of the name of the dancer, but there was interpretive dance that was so phenomenal and thought provoking, and my thoughts have literally never been provoked by dance before. Watson-Jones has created a well-curated group of people who all really connected with their material. My only complaint is that several performers favored facing the opposite direction from where I sat, which made a couple of performances hard to hear. Jena Young and Brynn Berryhill utilized the space the best in between individual performances, directly engaging audience members and showing fearlessness in physical comedy. The audience engagement was also a very fun and welcome addition that helped me feel much more invested in the show. Enjoyable!
Company: Monster Science Productions
Show: What To Do In Case Of Dinosaur Attack
Venue: Mixed Blood Theatre
I've seen the good Reverend Matt perform probably 50 times at this point (we are huge fans of his work) and while I love all my children (by which I mean, Matt Kessen's shows) equally, I think I've found a new favorite. Every joke was perfectly timed and stuck the landing. This show, like many of his others, mixed just the right amount of education into an otherwise absurdist performance on avoiding the absolute inevitability of a dinosaur attack. And Matt himself plays his role with such familiarity and understanding and nuance that it's almost as if the Matt we see on stage is the most pure version of himself, and the one you get coffee with or that helps you move or whatever are hiding this monster-obsessed professor/enthusiast/genius of a comedian. The accompanying slides, including some hand-drawn dinosaur mashups, are the perfect eclectic visual companion to this type of lecture-performance. I will recommend this show to anyone I talk to at the Fringe!!!
Company: Snikt! Bamf! Thwip!
Show: A Family Friendly Pulp Fiction (Not Appropriate for Families)
Venue: Theatre in the Round
This show was not what I was expecting it to be, in a good way! I went in picturing more or less a shot-by-shot reenactment with changes to language and content to make it "family friendly." What I was not expecting was the social commentary written into the script. The actors tackle sexism, racism, violence, and the harm in a puritanical and unnuanced upbringing. The actors break the fourth wall to address the audience directly several times to great effect. Casting choices were great throughout the show, but something I always run into with Theater in the Round is never knowing where the performers would favor. If I could see the show again, I would sit directly to the left of the entrance, as I think they may have gotten slightly more direct eyeline to the nonverbal performance of some of the characters. As it were, there was at least one actor whose face we saw only maybe twice from our seats. This is overall definitely one worth checking out. It's exactly what I want in a Fringe show: zany, experimental, and challenging of the status quo. Great job!