Fringe 2008 - Day 3
Well, with so many Fringe shows to go see I'm feeling a bit delirious, well, either that or it's the lack of sleep. So, without further ado, why don't I give you the round up of shows we went to yesterday...
Continue readering for reviews of: About An Hour, Bondage, Damages, Modern Medieval, Stand Up Monkey Poet, and Time To Put My Socks On.
Show reviews usually provide a brief description of what the number was all about, but in this case it would be rather impossible. The one I saw yesterday was, at the audience's suggestion, about a gymnast. I have no clue what it's going to be about tonight, and neither do the performers.
This improv show is pieced together by four extraordinarily talented comic actors. Jim Annan, Rob Baker, Jan Caruana, Alex Hatz will take a theme from the audience and run with it. The dynamics and hilarity of the action on stage keeps the audience giggle, chuckle and guffaw throughout the whole performance. Even though I didn't find the jokes side-splitting, they certainly had me snickering non-stop. The realization that much of it is not rehearsed adds to the fascination. You don't want to miss this one.
Don't be fooled by the poster on this one, this is not a show about kinky sex, not at all. It's a clowning show about emotional bondage. Although the show is full of talking, it is all in gibberish. The stories are told through action. Pox and Vendetta know how to convey a story with their body.
There are lessons held within the laughing, but if you like physical comedy, then you'll likely like this - laughs are a plenty. If you think of clowns as someone with big floppy shoes and flowers that squirt water, you might want to check out this show to see what clowning started out as. Through out the show I couldn't help having the words "Mump and Smoot" roll into my head from time to time, when I read the blurb on the show I realized why; Turns out they train with Mump...
Damages is a good show, but not as good as it could be. The story is strong, showing us how we hurt each other so much, without even knowing we're doing it. It's a good premise, but the acting is lackluster.
It felt like Harvey Atkin and Howard Jerome, veteran performers, just weren't in character. Don't get me wrong, they weren't *bad*, it just felt a bit like they phoned in their performance. Thank goodness the story itself was engaging enough to carry the show.
I'm going to assume (hope?) that the performances get better as the run continues, because I think this is a show worth seeing. It's not going to blow you away, but it's interesting and engaging, which, frankly, is most of what I look for in a show.
This is a hard show to describe, it's reminiscent of comedia dell'arte - an old form of comedic theatre that started in Italy around the 1500s. It relies on masks and stock characters and was hugely popular for hundreds of years. This show draws on those traditions, in fact, the main difference is that there is only one person on stage (well, and that it's on a stage...)
David Tyson brings this art form to life in this morality tale, telling us that if we're not careful, the end is nigh. It's a nice mix of an old art form, sandwiched between talk of Hummers (the car, not that *other* kind...) and war and disinterest in the world. I wasn't in love with this show, but it also didn't make me want to scratch my eyes out, so I think it comes out on the winning side.
Okay, I'll admit it, this one surprised me. I'm not normally one to go in for poetry, but I LOVED this show. The energy of Matt Panesh is completely infectious. Which is doubly impressive considering what a small audience he had when I was there. Unfortunately, with the fringe sometimes a great show goes unnoticed (although, admittedly, usually due to a show not being very good at publicizing itself), I worry that it will be the case with this one. It really shouldn't be.
Matt is bitter, he's angry, but mostly he's personable and hilarious. The poems play more like monologues than what I think of as poems, that man on stage is acting, not just doing a 'poetry reading'. Now, if you're not comfortable with the word fuck then I'd steer clear of this one, since it is a large component of the play, but if you can handle some (a lot) of swearing then I suggest you get yer butt over there before he's left the country and you've missed your chance.
Alan Shain's theatre company is called "Smashing Stereotypes Productions" for a reason - a comedian and a disability activist with cerebral palsy, Alan proves that "disability" does not equal "inability". Time To Put My Socks On is a witty exploration of how disability is perceived in our society, and the implications of this perception for sexuality, independence, social connections, and the everyday hurdles that disabled people have to overcome to do things most of us take for granted.
Definitely a unique Fringe experience, this kind of show is precisely what the Festival is all about: smashing stereotypes and exploring the un- (or rarely) explored. Recommended.
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