2018 Audience Reviews
The following reviews were submitted by Fringe Member: Seth C
Company: Oncoming Productions
Venue: Southern Theater
Engrossing Production, No Lasting Impact
This production is beautifully produced, executed and performed. The actors are incredible. The Southern was a perfect venue to bring this project to life. It is immersive theater, and likely one of the most taut shows you'll see this year at the Fringe. However, from a writing perspective, this thing just doesn't hold up. What sets out as a resonant investigation of loss, memory and the way capitalism dispenses and devalues our lives soon morphs into a rather bland "horror-revenge" story that is not set-up properly enough to work theatrically or dramatically. Geminae trades emotional stakes for big scares, generic anger and nothing that leaves you questioning yourself - but it does so with a beautiful spectacle.
Company: Weggel-Reed Productions
Show: Couple Fight: The Musical!
Venue: Rarig Center Thrust
Hilarious, A Little Messy
This was a delightful production - I laughed so much. Truly complicated lyrical content - this is a difficult beast to make happen and they pulled it off. So many great performances in the cast. My critique is that some of the production issues (microphone v no mic) and messy staging got in the way of really experiencing these fights, and I could've done without the inside jokes about recurring Fringe players. There were only a few of these jokes, but even when I "got it", I still found them alienating. But what did I expect? It was fun as hell.
Company: Jaded Optimist Productions
Show: Animal, Vegetable, Political
Venue: Augsburg Mainstage
Nostalgia Waxed Hard in This "Political" Show
This show is not an incisive exploration of why America is so divided. Truthfully, it's just two guys bringing up stories and anecdotes that seem, at the very least, dubious in their accuracy and done mostly because it seems enjoyable for them to wax nostalgic about their lives. Which, at times is entertaining. I just wish it weren't couched in being a politically relevant piece of theater. It simply isn't. The performers claim that it's audience participation show, but most of the audience participation included people who were clearly plants in the audience, sticking to pre-determined POVs. The political point made by the two men essentially is, "There are differences in people's political views." If you've ever had this thought before, you can probably skip this one.
Company: Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society
Show: The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society Versus the Nazis
Venue: Rarig Center Thrust
Well-Performed, No POV
This show features top-rate voice talent and clever use of household objects to recreate a 40s radio play in its entirety. It's definitely engrossing on that level. Because of the actors' experience and backgrounds, I came in expecting this to have some relevance or creative connection to our current time and political climate. It didn't. Which isn't a bad thing, it just seemed like a wasted opportunity not to make some kind of point with this big production. They just literally play this out exactly as it aired in the 40s with strong vocal acting, which I understand is the intent. But I wish that more interest had been taken in giving its audiences (which are sizable) something more to dwell on - something with emotional stakes, something with a point of view.
Company: Ruckus Productions
Venue: Theatre in the Round
Morally Backward Execution(s)
I don't think the creators of this show know how to properly articulate satire, or how to distinguish between pointing out bad behavior vs. glorifying that bad behavior. It feels like the kind of thing you make at 19 to piss off your parents and authority figures - which has its place. The problem here is that many of the jokes are repulsive and morally backwards - especially those dealing with women's body issues, sexual coercion, and feminism. The production itself is a mess, uneven theatrical conventions, tacky writing. But there are some solid performances here. They definitely carry that air of defiance and camp throughout the play, which I do believe has its place in theater. Just give this crew a few more years to mature and learn how to properly express their opinions about the world and this would be a whole lot easier to enjoy.