Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fringe Again!

Alright, back to my epic attempt to see as many shows in the Minnesota Fringe Festival as I can this year!  So far we are up to about 24 shows and the shenanigans continue through this coming Sunday.  I'm finding that writing short reviews of the shows makes me think a bit more critically about them, so I'll continue doing that. 

Oh, and Town Hall released one of my favorite beers: Thunderstorm yesterday!  We had to take a late night stop there yesterday to partake.  Honey, lemongrass!  Yum!

There has been an interesting conversation going on in the Ultra-Passer's private Facebook group about rating scales for the Fringe shows. 
My own personal scale is this this:
1 star = Utter crap, why did I not walk out of this? Don't see this!
2 star = Not very good, some sort of fatal flaw, not recommended.
3 star = A decent middle of the road show with some redeeming qualities.  Worth a shot if you need to fill a slot in the schedule.
4 star = Really good
5 star = Top of the line, really do not miss this!

I've been finding that many of my ideal ratings would put me at half stars (mainly 3.5) but the official Fringe site doesn't let you use halves.  I tend to round up in those cases. 

1) Kafka Nuts.  Up front, I really like these guys, in fact some of my all time favorite Fringe shows have been from them.  Having seen them at their best, I felt a bit disappointed in this show.  Bits were funny, and it had lots of puns and one-liners, but lacked the total over-the-top action that the description of the show in the program described.  This is family friendly, and I appreciate the modern nod to the old Vaudeville styles.  I have to give it a 3 (good but not great.)

2) The Tiger in the Room.  This is the third show we have seen this Fringe with Natalie Wass in a main role and she continues to impress.  This show was a bit more cerebral than some, spending a lot of time on different memories and relationships of varying types.  Well written, well acted, at times quite poignant.  I recommend this as a good psychological drama. 4 of 5.

3) The Death of Brian: A Zombie Odyssey.  I had heard mixed reviews of this show, but decided to take a risk.  I was pleasantly surprised!  Ricky Coates really takes risks with this dark and often disturbing show, pushing himself and the audience to the edge of what they can take.  True live horror with impressive physicality.  I'm a horror fan and this "Did It" for me.  My only real gripe with the show was that the audio clips that the actor "interacts" with were very loud compared to his own performance. 

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