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2018 Audience Reviews

Member Reviews

The following reviews were submitted by Fringe Member: Mickey Foley

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

Silly Farce Done Well

People underestimate how hard it is to do good comedy with dumb characters. It takes a lot of smarts to make "dumb" jokes. This show is a good example of a silly farce with some serious brain power behind it. Mr. Goetzke is great as the dim-witted Mr. President. Mr. Lester is also good as the hapless cult member. The cast overall is solid, and the script is well-written.


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

This Frankenstein script needs more electricity.

I should preface this by saying I was in the midst of Fringe fatigue when I saw this at 10pm on Wednesday, so I may be too hard on it. But I'm also a Leftist, which means I was rooting for it. The leads bring energy, especially Ms. Wass, who has spunk to spare, and Ms. Dafydd, who inhabits her Cruella DeVille-type role completely. But it's not enough to overcome lazy blocking and a script that could've used some more pizzazz. As it stands now, the story is too simple for adults (and a lot of kids) and the political jokes are too esoteric for kids (and a lot of adults).


Company: BONS TEMPOS THEATRE COMPANY
Show: Atlanta Burning Sherman's Shadows
Venue: Theatre in the Round

One Great Performance, But Not Much Else

Mr. Nickerson is masterful as General Sherman, but the rest of the play is weak. Sherman's aide-de-camp provides way too much exposition in the beginning. Luckily, the show is almost all Sherman, and Ms. Lohr as the aide is a capable foil. Any Civil War buff would fund much to enjoy in Nickerson's luminous portrayal of one of the war's greatest generals.


Company: Snikt! Bamf! Thwip!
Show: A Family Friendly Pulp Fiction (Not Appropriate for Families)
Venue: Theatre in the Round

On Point

As a big fan of the movie and this style of comedy, I was the perfect audience for this show. They didn't let me down. It's an interesting counterpoint to Mainly Me's "A Justice League of Their Own." Where Mainly Me is firing off zingers a mile a minute, this show is more nuanced and leisurely, allowing the highbrow jokes to sink in and marinate.


Company: Jaded Optimist Productions
Show: Animal, Vegetable, Political
Venue: Augsburg Mainstage

Good Stories, Limp Debate

It was good when the guys were telling their stories, but the political debate with the audience didn't seem to go anywhere. That may have more to do with the audience at that performance than the performers.


Company: Grand Island Theatre
Show: Hamlet, but Hamlet's a Chicken
Venue: Minnsky Theatre

Random Doesn't Equal Funny

I'll admit to being in the extreme minority on this one, but I just didn't think it was very funny. There's a live chicken on stage, and each scene of Hamlet gets tweaked: one takes place in a kiddie pool, the murder of Claudius is performed as a musical, one has the characters played by chairs with the actors speaking from the wings. It's absurd, but not entertaining in my opinion. It seems to be dadaist theater: baffling and ultimately meaningless. The 2 stars go to the cast, who are game for all the crazy hijinks.


Company: Tom Reed
Show: Gunplay!
Venue: Mixed Blood Theatre

Ratata-tastic!

This is a great satire that combines a delicate subject with high school theater tropes and treats it all with the irreverence it deserves. I heard people in the audience almost gasp at the poor taste of some of the songs, but I found it hilarious. I can't be sad about gun violence all the time. I need a break from the despair, and this show was a great way to actually laugh about something that has been depressing the hell out of me for a while now.


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

2 - 1 = One Amazing Show

At the beginning of the show, Ms. Custer explains that the woman she was supposed to be performing with got a job writing for Netflix, so what had been conceived as a 2-woman show was now a one-woman show. At that point, my expectations were pretty low. It hadn't even been my first choice for that time slot. I only went to it because "Not Fair, My Lady" was sold out. But something magical happened in the Rarig Thrust that night. Maybe there was some cosmic alignment that made me perfectly suited to seeing this show when I did, but I was in total rapture. Ms. Custer had me in stitches throughout, whether as a terrified airline passenger or at the end when she lip-synch's to an 80's hit. I was clearly not alone, however, as most of the audience seemed to get swept up in the moment too.


Company: Mainly Me Productions
Show: A Justice League of Their Own
Venue: Theatre in the Round

A Delight!

Pretty much just what you'd expect from a Mainly Me production: jokes of every brow (low, middle and high) a-flyin', pop culture references a-poppin'. The wit comes fast and furious in this send-up of superhero movies mashed up with a parody of "A League of Their Own." Predictably hilarious, but not predictable.


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

Much better than it has any right to be

As a big fan of Messrs. Weinhagen and English Scrimshaw, I figured watching them mess around for an hour would probably be worthwhile. And I was not disappointed. Even with just 3 weeks to prepare, they managed to throw together a funny, entertaining show that lives up (or down) to the title.


Company: Paper Soul
Show: SOFT
Venue: Ritz Theater Mainstage

Killing Him Softly (But Way Too Slowly)

It's a great concept that's pretty well-executed. But the story takes a long time to get moving. There's a lot of extraneous dialogue that could be cut out, especially in the early going. We all know where this is headed, so let's get to it!


Company: Beardog Productions
Show: The Things They Carried
Venue: Ritz Theater Studio

Great

Mr. Stowell is a great storyteller who transported me with his different characters and retelling of stories from the Vietnam War era.


Company: Libra Moon Productions
Show: There Goes the Gayborhood
Venue: Strike Theater

Funny Fluff

As someone else commented, a lot of the dialogue is lost in poorly-delivered lines. But a lot of what I could hear was funny. I think Mr. Emmert could crack me up reading the phone book. His delivery was hilarious, although it came off as just an act rather than a character. If this had been pure farce, it might've worked. But the attempt at realism was a bridge too far.


Company: The Rest of Us
Show: An Odyssey Backwards and in Heels
Venue: Minnsky Theatre

Winning

I was ready to be ambivalent about this one, but it won me over. The cast is solid, and the writing is quite good. I was especially impressed with the song-and-dance routines. It's rare to see ensemble musical numbers as tight as these in the Fringe. There are the usual bar scene cliches (bachelorette party, dude-bros, cougars, etc.), but they're wielded capably for comedy and drama.


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

Fun Smorgasbord

There's a lot going on in this show, but most of it is very entertaining. Energy is the name of the game, as the cast practically pummels you into going along for the ride. The shadow puppetry is great, and the music complements it beautifully. Having a great guitar player on hand doesn't hurt. The game shows are limp, but otherwise it's a grand old time on the high seas.


Company: MaryMackComedy.com
Show: BurnOut County
Venue: Minnsky Theatre

From the Boonies

Ms. Mack and Mr. Harmston are funny folks, and their depiction of rural Midwesterners jibed with my experiences visiting my grandparents' farm in Iowa. The acting wasn't professional, but I thought it captured the people in a clear-eyed, but still sweet way. It was really cool to see this slice of life, since I rarely get this kind of humorous take on "country folk" (from people who are actually from there) in my entertainment.


Company: TROMPE L'OEIL
Show: Bits & Bobs: An Evening of Short Plays
Venue: Theatre in the Round

Good Cast, Mostly Good Material

The cast kept me engaged through most of the show, although the final piece lost me. It just seemed like an excuse for bad puns.


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

Great Cast, Weak Story

The cast really carries this production. The music is solid, but the story is by-the-numbers.


Company: Rooftop Theatre Company
Show: The Complete Works of William Shatner (abridged)
Venue: Mixed Blood Theatre

The Many Sides of William Shatner

I'm a long-time Shatner fan, so it didn't take much to get me on board for this one. Only the Priceline Negotiator version of Shatner did a killer impression, but the Kirk version was very funny too. I appreciated the many references to his career, including the Has Been album. Closing with one of his classic "musical" numbers was a great choice.


Company: That's Enough Drama
Show: Attention Seeker
Venue: Southern Theater

Riveting

I was entranced by Mr. Harris's frenetic delivery and warp-speed wit. The stories were engrossing and relatable, even though I don't think my life has never been as interesting as his. My only criticism is that not everything he said was audible, although he filled the hour to bursting with words, so it wasn't a great loss.


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

Dinosaur-rific!

Mr. Kessen is a local treasure, and he does not disappoint with this show. His sense of humor is top-notch and his intellect is above reproach.


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

Troubling

I might've enjoyed the show more if it hadn't struck a delicate nerve. But that's a credit to the cast, especially the versatile and piercing Ms. Hartman, whose every character cut me to the quick. Mr. Ryan presented an inexorably doomed counterpoint to her irresistible pull.


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

Time Machine

This is a superb reproduction of classic radio dramas. The actors switched between characters seamlessly, with accents and mannerisms that felt authentic to the period. Seeing them perform the sound effects was also entertaining. All the props seemed to have been salvaged from that era or beautifully reproduced.


Company: Deacon Gamzee Productions
Show: ILLINOIS BOY BLUES
Venue: Augsburg Studio

Downstate Blues

Mr. Muhammad does an amazing job inhabiting the colorful, charismatic characters in this show. It's a compelling story, masterfully told.


Company: Ghoulish Delights, LLC
Show: The Screaming Skull
Venue: Rarig Center Thrust

Atmospheric

I dug the wave, wind and fireplace sound effects. They created a creepy mood, but the story (as told in monologue) wasn't enough to hold my attention.


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

Groin Cavity

The only redeeming quality of this show is its brevity. But, even when clocking in at just under a half-hour, it was still pure torture. It's one of the rare Fringe shows where the acting is actually worse than the writing, which is astounding considering how bad the script is. It would be funny if it weren't so painful to sit through. The title of my review is a euphemism for vagina that this show introduced me to. That may be its only contribution to the culture.


Company: Tyler West
Show: ABEYANCE
Venue: Strike Theater

Rowan Atkinson-esque

Mr. West creates an elaborate adventure through brilliant mime and mouth-generated sound effects.


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