No travelogue today, just a bunch of reviews! There is still plenty of time to check out some of these shows since Fringe goes through Sunday the 10th of August.
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1) Green T's 2001: A Space Odyssey. I'm not going to lie, I'm a big Science Fiction geek. The movie 2001 was one of the first legitimate serious Sci-Fi movies made and holds a special place in my heart. But it was cerebral, slow, and frankly sometimes a bit boring. This production is somewhere between a play and dance--using human bodies as props and showcasing some really interesting movement. The ability of the cast to simulate weightlessness on stage was impressive! These folks managed to consolidate the lengthy movie/book into a pretty good version that actually made more sense to me than the source material. Thank you voice-over exposition! I'd rate this a 3.5 on my own scale but the official Fringe site only lets you use whole stars...I'll round up to 4!
2) Failure: A Love Story. Frankly, this show was going to be just a gamble/slot filler, but both my wife and I quickly realized we had found one of our favorite shows of the day! This story of lost love in the 1920's was at times funny, ridiculous, and truly heartfelt. Difficult to describe, but the show really stuck with both of us, returning to our Fringe conversations all day. Fine acting, use of movement, and ukulele that I actually didn't hate!
3) Jumpin' Jack Kerouac. I'm not a huge fan of dance, but I like a lot of the authors involved in this performance--so I sucked it up and gave the show a chance. The premise is taking authors (many of whom have never danced) and using their written input and Windy Bowlsby's choreography in a synergy of styles. I was impressed. Since my biggest nightmare is having to speak or dance on stage, seeing some of these folks go with it and risk humiliation was impressive. One piece having to do with fathers was particularly well done to great emotional impact! Keeping in mind the amateur nature of the dancers, this show really worked for me.
4) Austen-tacious! I do not like Jane Austen. At all. But we needed to fill a spot and my wife does. Trying not to think of the source material, this modern retelling of Emma was enjoyable. The dating scenes were funny and some short musical numbers were well done. Acted well, but at times overdone.
5) Uptown Bank Heist. This was an entertaining heist play, but lacked polish. Some of the character interaction was done well, but some of the dialogue just seemed forced and unnatural. Plot lines got too convoluted at times and characters seemed to change personalities at times as well. Entertaining way to spend a hour, but could be trimmed and straightened up into something better.
6) Everyday Hustle. Since seeing one of Erin Sheppard's other dance pieces a few years ago I have become a huge fan. This is from someone who really doesn't understand or enjoy most dance. A great use of music, motion, and story. In between numbers the hilarious Shannon Custer did readings from Sam L. Landman that were over the top comedy goodness. It looks like there is a guest reader on different days and it would be interesting to see the differences... This was a great show all around and I highly recommend it. I'm looking forward to Erin's next crack at the Twin Cities Horror Festival!
7) Waitrix: Dominatrix Waitress. I wasn't sure what to think about this going in and I'm still kind of in the same place after seeing it. I enjoyed the show overall and it certainly had laugh-out-loud moments, but parts of it seemed a bit off to me. Is this part really happening? Is this a weird dream sequence? I think that the actors did a good job with it, the restaurant critic was perfect, stealing the show for me. I would rate this a 3.5 of 5.
8) Kitty Kitty Kitty. We saw this one purely because Sam Landman was in it. This is probably the most "Fringy" of the shows we've seen this season. I'm honestly not sure if that is a good or bad thing! I'm left with plenty to think about…some things I wish I could stop thinking about! But well acted and taken to the limit for sure. We took some friends to this one, and I'm thinking they may not let us choose future shows for a while. Still because of the unique factor I'm going with a 4. Later that night at Fringe Central they did an Improv skit with Sam doing a scene from the show and another actress improving lines to fill the gaps--Almost better than the real thing!
9) Human-Nature. Straight up, I'm not knowledgeable about dance, and do not search it out with any frequency. This was a set of dance pieces, some linked and some not, that seemed a bit scattered for me. Some of the pieces also just seemed to go on too long. One set near the middle was obviously a tribute to a dance teacher and I actually connected to that one, but the others just didn't do it for me. I've seen other dance shows this Fringe that I enjoyed more. Kudos for the hard work it must take to perform this type of show.