Show reviews by David Trudeau

Great Hymn of Thanksgiving/Conversation Storm

Expect a paradigm shift
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Intense, thought provoking, unusual, and awesome. John Cage like music with smatterings of sounds from TV news about the wars in Middle East meld into dinner sounds in "Hymn" - a hypno-trance not unlike watching the evening news while eating supper - then realizing how surreal it has all become. "Conversation" then takes us to the next level of contemplating our absurdities in discussing Rumsfeldian torture policies of warfare by alternately exploring the illogic of rationales, and then stepping into and experiencing the meaning. This all sounds disgusting - and it is - but so elegantly and expertly presented that one leaves the theater with images and sounds and emotions indelibly registered.

12 Dancing Princesses

More , please,
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Princess Bride fairy tale flawlessly staged. Vera Mariner’s mastercraft anchors the story (we could understand her every word, even over sometimes too loud music). Gorgeous costumes, dance and of course Princesses. Sweet Dreams, everyone.

Angst: A New Teen Musical

Hey Kids, lets do a play!
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Wow – when Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland said “hey kids, lets rent a garage and put on a play” they didn’t have anything like this in mind. What’s it like to be sixteen and full of your self and be in high school – anticipating the great leap forward into Seniordom? And then have that great sophmoronic gift of deadly satire? Here it is – the stereotypes, the struggles, all in wonderful music, no punches pulled. The most amazing thing is that every square inch of the tiny BL Bowl stage comes alive with song and dance that is expertly directed and executed.

The Depth of the Ocean

Deep
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Actors who can swim (and really act well) thrill us as five characters in a time warp who converge on a life raft in the middle of a nameless ocean. Don’t miss it.

H.P. Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Walls"

Try sleeping after this one.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Yeah, its creepy all right – descend into the ruins of the Washburn A Mill and … and .. and after a wordy introduction in 1920’s pedantic style, it’s - AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!

She, So Beloved

Takes my breath away
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Such a performance – humorous intro, acrobatic silk ballet, a capella Appalachian ballad, poetic story weaving of the first order, flawless execution “such that Orpheus’ self would heave his head from golden slumber on his bed of heaped Elysian flowers to hear such strains as would have won the ear of Pluto to have set quite free his half regained Euridyce.” (Milton – L’Allegro)

Someone Else's Clothes: Michael Pearce Donley Sings Jason Robert Brown

Very Class Act.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
This is the classiest thing I have seen this year. Glorious jazzy and expressive genre of new musical theater is decisively sung against a hugely successful instrumental trio. Done with just enough theatrical effect by Donley to make it varied and interesting. The only thing I would add is another pickup or two for the back up vocals done by the very capable side men, which would add considerable depth to some of the numbers. Recommended highly.

Bards

Well written, directed, played.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Good original script that is full of well timed surprises. Great fun for bardophiles.

small aïda

one class act
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
The audience was mesmerized and so was I. What talent! Best of show for me!

Shakespeare's Land of the Dead

lottsa jokes here
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Really funny well written and superbly directed and acted. Joe Papke's Bacon is brilliant. Bring back Falstaff from the dead via ghost writing by Bacon for Shakespeare and all hell breaks loose at the Globe - Oh no! I've been bitten!

Phi Alpha Gamma

Gives voice to many
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Bernitt creates characters that bash gays, preach the holy bible at gays, get the ultimate punishment for gay hate crime, come out as gay and are rejected by even their best friends, and who are beaten for being gay. All are given voice and believability, and while his acting and characterizations do not create crisp persona, his writing does. I get the feeling that he is playwrighting out loud and that he will make something more out of this - a play that will expand and be done by five or six actors.

I Am for Now, Maybe Not Later

Grace and Humor and Elegance
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Wonderful narratives in motion. Loved all three pieces - each different. Well done in every aspect. Sometimes dance can be obscure and leave you guessing what it's all about - not this. Highly recommended.

Buckets and Tap Shoes, Here and Now

Stomp on steroids reaches new hights.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Not only are these musicians and dancers incredibly talented, but they are so dedicated to giving their high energy to us, that they have obligatory changes to dry clothing half way through. The four-in-unison tap routines are knock-em-dead and they just don't stop, piling one on another. These artists should be decorated for their huge efforts to go beyond the call of performance, drumming and dancing themselves into a lather, while we, the audience with mouths agape just can't quite believe they can do what they do so well. And they just keep on going, never missing a beat. See this! Jeune Lune holds 300, so lots of room.

The Return of LICK!

Joyous send-up
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
This is the "This is Spinal Tap" of boy dance. OK - Tourettes is a syndrome we shouldn't make fun of - but this is funny. The show is about the characters and their group and its history and the strikingly bad "sexy" choreography and glitter is part of the send up.

AfterLife

well wrought and played tales
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
The believability of each of the three women presented is challenging because they are caricatures. The 'sconsin and the hills of Kentucky accents and mannerisms are so right on. And the tales are engaging. And Candy pulls it off superbly.

Buyer's Remorse

Superb script
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Well done - keeps us guessing and laughing - full of surprises.

The Morning After the Summer of Love

Go raibh maith agat
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
means "thank you" in Gaelic, to these republican stalwarts who universalize the struggle for acceptance and equality in the land of "the troubles." The North of Ireland could be Selma in 1962, and their poetry takes us tripping through the little victories. This is the kind of poetry that is sung in bars with gusto, in the greatest of bardic traditions.

Tragedy of You

Brilliant
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Once again Joseph Scrimshaw's brilliant structured improv, razor wit, and physical ability keeps us all laughing and laughing and laughing. I want to see it again. More!

Secrets Revealed: Opera Bob Opens His Drawers

Bravo!
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Lovely moving vignettes well sung and performed with comic relief along the way. Opera lovers love it and non opera fans get introduced. I would like to see the set changes done in the background as the narrative intros are given. Too much time spent in blackouts.

Best Little Crackhouse in Philly (...or Crackwhore: The Musical!)

trainspotting the musical
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Aversion therapy for Dolly Parton whorehouse cuteness. Brilliantly conceived, acted, sung and choreographed by six triple threats- the cast. Unbelievably crass and disgusting and crude and enjoyable and funny - unless you happen to be an ex good-natured crack whore with PTSD.

The Harty Boys in The Case of the Limping Platypus

Great romp
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Very funny concept fleshed out with lots of local jokes - well acted, written, directed. Totally fun and goofy and wholesome and full of energy.

Pipa

Ecstatic Dance
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Best dance show - top notch in every way. Coherent and touching story performed in breathtaking choreography and acting by an exceptionally strong and artistic dancer. Brilliant unconventional use of furniture props, microphone, projector. High art, truth, goodness, beauty. Tamara filled our minds and hearts with love, compassion. Tip - if you can, sit in the front row.

Jurassic Dork

Sold out fast - as it should
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
What makes this show really click is all the nutty props and business, to say nothing of the dead on impersonations. Of course Jurassic Park is so well known that replaying the plot is easy fodder for jokes. John Skelly maximizes the possibilities, and truly exhausts himself doing it - and that becomes even another shtick he inserts.

Silent Poetry 2

Funny, Classy, Professional
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Experts who never stop entertaining and give their all. The chase scene is hard to top. Memorable.

Two Short Operas: Mr. Berman's Bath-Size Bar and There's a Mastodon In My Backyard

High art high camp
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Bravo! Absolutely must see if you like really funny, well thought out and brilliantly executed and performed satirical pieces. Plus free soap!

Alice Unwrapped

Bring Kleenex to Share
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
The high quality we expect from Nautilus in Fringe (Meditations on Arion, John and Jen, etc.). This Musical story of a teen whose Father is absent - on duty in Iraq and MIA. Alice parents her younger sis while Mom breaks down. This is so touching. You will cry - but you will also laugh at the moments on tender humor. A must see. If you or anyone you know ever served in the Armed Forces Alice will make you feel pride and empathy for all the brave families who give up their Moms and Dads and Sons and Daughters to the uncertainties of war time service. The music and the presentation are standing ovation dynamite.

Crescendo

Classic
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Classic story told to classic music in an exciting delivery interwoven with here and nowness that makes you glad to be who you are. What more could one ask of a storyteller?

Animal Cracker Genocide

Stand Up Star
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
I was turned away from the show I wanted to see - sold out - so saw this. Oh happy accident! Flawless joke weaving and not a dull moment. After a great musical people leave the theater singing the songs. They left Ben's show telling the jokes. I went to the men's room and a guy was laughing singing "Happy Birthday" washing his hands, I crossed Riverside and the crowd ahead of me was laughing doing street crossing jokes from the show.

Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter

impeccable
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Timing, acting, directing, staging is impeccable in this very well rehearsed gem. We were lucky to get in with the last two tickets.

Something Witchy

Something really good
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Well written, produced, directed, acted thriller. I can't wait to see it again in its new form. Will there be a part for Sarah Jane?

The William Williams Effect

Best show this year?
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Wow! A finished product with a superbly written, produced, directed and acted high impact drama - unexpected at the Fringe. A history play that is better than most things I have seen at the History Theater (not to put down the History Theater.) It is GOOD. It could have legs as a mandatory middle school yellow bus play.

The Princeton Seventh

Even Better
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
than the first time it was done. Everyone is spectacular - and the character changes by Ooms and Hopkins are absolutely wonderful.

Taiko BAM!

Wow
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Wonderful high energy and highly entertaining show with great acrobatic Japanese drumming. See it!

The Damn Audition

Pure Scrimshaw
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Brilliant writing, directing, acting and very funny with lines like "God gives humans a deep sense of finding a purpose and then doesn't give them one just to fuck 'em up." In the end all are somehow redeemed and no one wants to be the devil.

See You Next Tuesday

Great Directing
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
made this one act love comedy click. Not a dull moment with brilliantly directed acting and character development, flow, scene changes and continuity. The script is nice and the actors are all strong but could have easily fallen flat.

The Stories of César Chávez

Riveting Educational Transformational
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
We were fortunate to have reservations for this sold out standing ovation performance on Tuesday. Huge. Needs to be in the schools.

Opera Bob Presents: Riders to the Sea-A One Act Opera

Poignant Rarely Performed Opera
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Congratulations to Opera Bob for a job well done! This gripping 40 minute Opera by Ralph Vaughan Williams is based word for word on John Synge's one act tragedy of the same name. The stark staging fit the piece well and April Hanson as Maurya is strong as the tragic woman who has lost all to the sea. The program hand out did little to illuminate the work or its history - and carries a biblical quote that I could not connect to either the play or the opera. Here's a plot summary from Wikipedia that I found helpful. "Maurya has lost her husband, father-in-law, and five sons to the sea. As the play begins Nora and Cathleen receive word that a body that may be their brother Michael has washed up on shore in Donegal, far to the north. Bartley is planning to sail to Connemara to sell a horse, and ignores Maurya's pleas to stay. As he leaves, he leaves gracefully. Maurya predicts that by nightfall she will have no living sons, and her daughters chide her for sending Bartley off with an ill word. Maurya goes after Bartley to bless his voyage, and Nora and Cathleen receive clothing from the drowned corpse that confirms it as their brother. Maurya returns home claiming to have seen the ghost of Michael riding behind Bartley and begins lamenting the loss of the men in her family to the sea, after which some villagers bring in the corpse of Bartley, who has fallen off his horse into the sea and drowned."

Speech!

Has it all
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
A prototypical fringe show with huge talent, great execution and timing and full of surprises. Congruent story and plot that is just believable this side of totally goofy with life's awkward moments we can all relate to - were they not just slightly over the top. Brilliant comedy. Much more Mike Fotis as we like to see him - standing up and making hilarious characters.

Thinkingaview / CorresponDance

Clusterfun Feelgood
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
and a celebration of erotica. The dancing, the choreography and especially the wonderful live music grips and grows.

UNTOLD LIES

In another universe
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
from most Fringe shows. This is very classy and serious artistic music theater of "a work in progress" that explores the nuances of fatherhood and commitment. Everyone is on book, more or less, but mainly because the score is so rich and complex. Gary Briggle - whose lies are untold - brings the house down with his huge voice as the surrogate Father Ray Pearson to hired hand Hal Winters - played adequately by Joe Papke, whose voice is less mature and developed but perfect for the role. Norah Long's commanding stage presence and voice as Minnie Pearson rounds out the show. The ensemble is just great. Nautilus music theater has become famous for works in progress with their Rough Cuts series that bring together writers, composers, singer-actors and audiences and this work in progress goes beyond that with almost full staging. I want to see it again.

A Nice Guy's Guide to Awkward Sex

Another Hit by San Del
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Great fun as Ben San Del and company explore what he does so well - creating huge comedy out of the awkwardness of both sex - and stand up comedy - based on expectations and perceptions of what it should be as perceived by his "innocent" mind. Natalie Wass's "virginity" and awkwardness as she attempts standup is counter balanced by Amber Preston's self assured sexual dominance of shy guy San Del. Phillip Low has his way with nice guy San Del at every turn. Through it all San Del maintains his lovable innocent niceness - and along with the rest of the cast is very funny. This could be a pilot for something?

Zombie High School

The One
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Every Fringe has its dynamite musical satire show that is so novel and so entertaining and so well done that the audience goes nuts. This is the one. We came to Tuesday's 10:00 and entered the sellout drenched from a heavy storm outside. The thunder of the skies added a little creepiness to the show but couldn't match the thunder of the audience that stopped the show after every brilliantly arranged, choreographed and delivered number. We were wet and happy - and so glad we thought to reserve. Hope this show has legs for post Fringe performances - great yellow bus material.

Spin

Thoroughly well done
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Great concept, writing, delivery, music and direction = entertaining, enlightening and moving show. What a treat to see talented artists like this give a hugely well prepared and rehearsed performance .

The Squeaky Wheel Squeaks

I Will Remember this Show
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
after all the others I've seen this year fade from memory. Brian Shaughnessy makes better use of the arena space than I have seen with great moves with his electric chair. His story and his delivery and his attitude are inspired and inspiring and powerful. Self pity not allowed. I went to this show with some hesitation because I did not want the exposure to the painful realities of Brian's life - but I am so grateful that I did. Uplifting to the max.

Phil the Void: Motherbanking Bankholes

Rage against the Fed
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Beautiful delivery and insight and humor. My favorite bits are the NPR reports that consumer confidence is down because the stock market is down because consumer confidence is down ... and Jesus asking the leper for his copay.
It especially helps in these difficult times to have Phil point out to us all the ways that money and the banking system are just devices of our own making and only the root of all evil because we choose to regard them as higher power. Now I've got to go read up on the Federal Reserve and see what this is all about.

Your Responsibility for Sex Failure

Funny, well conceived and delivered
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Great writing, directing acting and a hugely funny premise make this an entertaining show full of chuckles. Brilliant use of sparse set. Reservations recommended.

Hauser Dance Unraveled

Interesting, understandable, well done.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Framed is the most abstract of these pieces and really well put together and well done. Loved it all.

Sousepaw: A Baseball Story

Powerful and gripping.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Even though we knew this would sell out and reserved, we were late enough to have bad seats in the back on the far side and had to stand to see much of the action. No matter. Powerful acting makes this sad story about two very bizarre people so believable, so heart wrenching, so engaging.

Super Spectacular!: To Opera with Love

Cheap fun
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
I am an opera fan and thought this was funny and clever and well done. The conventions of opera are a bit far fetched and this show lays into them. The thematic essence and signature music from each of six great operas was mixed in with some pop and pleasant surprise. I liked the costumes- simple, goofy effective. Of course the protagonist dies and the more melodrama the better for unabashedly solicited "bravo's."

Violet Dreams & Unlisted Melodies

Hot energetic creative dance well done
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Every set rippled with feeling and energy. I loved it all but the PSA set was over the top with sexy fun. Last show on a slow Monday night with a small house but these ladies put out their best and the audience let them know how much they were appreciated. Try to see this - it is wonderful.

Red Resurrected

Hard work pays off with excelence
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
could be the motto of this company. Simply excellent, the choreography and movement and voice and acting and directing were dead on, each actor fully focused for the entire hour of enchanting theater. No set, no sound, no costumes - all of the illusions and effects created by the company as they glided with grace and precision engaging their audience in this lovely tale. Standing ovation.

Animal FarmVille: A Friend Me, Like Me, Poke Me Musical

Well done, snappy, topical, funny
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Well crafted show that kept us entertained and laughing for an hour with creative skits and songs.

Twisted Apples

High Art, Powerful, Radiant
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Once again Nautilus delivers - this time with a brilliant original opera as a continuation of last year's offering, "Untold Lies,"The mini orchestra is very adept and at just the right intensity to bring out the vocals. The first scene brilliantly develops the characters and we know them intimately by the time this gem of music theater soars into all its bonding and conflicts and secrets between the three. Musicality is at its highest in the trio, and Norah Long reaches new peaks as Elizabeth. The only flaw in this otherwise perfectly polished gem is that Gary Briggle brings his book as added security in his last scene - not that he needs it or even looks at it. Otherwise he too is radiant and convincing in his dual roles.

Four Clowns

laughing at the dark side
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
premise: clowns based on four temperaments passing through four stages of life do sick twisted things to each other for an hour. We get to wonder, cringe, laugh, groan, and maybe get cleansed of some of the sick clown in ourselves and are free be more human in the end. There is an alternative premise offered by my friend Don - for whom the sad clown dedicated her suicide - "It's just four guys f**king around - and they do it with great physicality and I love it." Guaranteed nobody fell asleep in this one.

Taiko Blast!

High Energy Fun
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Spectacular wonderful energy transmitted from drummers to the house. High art and also great fun. Highly recommended.

Reykjavík

Riveting sureal story weaving
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Not everyone was as fascinated as I was with this energetic unfolding story of a lifetime's formative events and relationships. A montage of hypnagogic flashbacks as a passenger drowses off into mini nightmares on a time static flight from Rejkavic to LA reveals a lifetime of pain and embarrassment and loss in a man who only wants to be a hero. Riveting throughout with surprises at every turn and brilliant execution of characters by Kehoe. Only criticism - the toilet/shit/ice dance scene doesn't add a thing and is incongruent.

Macbeth: The Video Game Remix

Not a game nerd - still liked this
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Very funny and zany and well done - having played a few computer adventure games with kids have a general idea of how they go. Framing the Scottish Play in a computer game is a great concept that works well and is executed brilliantly. Tim Uren is consistently entertaining and Dawn Krosnowski is stunning as a send up on Lady MacBeth.

Buckets and Tap Shoes

Perenially good stuff
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Just a lot of high energy drummin' tappin' and jazzin' with a sterling ensemble backin' up the Ausland Brothers. Audience participation great fun, makes you want to go home and start stickin' on an old 5 gallon bucket. I love these guys.

The Smothers Brothers Grimm

Everything it could be
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Nostalgia for the geezers (like me) and lots of fun fracture fairy tales told by a charming kid and brilliant execution with dead on Dezi and Lucy and Stan and Ollie - well OK Tom and Dick a little off. And it is so funny. The program itself is hilarious. Grandparents, Parents Children please take each other to this wonderful show.

Comedy = Tragedy + Someone Else

Just a lot of fun.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
This send up on Fotis by Fotis is precious. Nothing much to think about here, just sit back and laugh at all the fun and be wowed by the jugglers.

Hamluke

ten kitties required
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
This show cleverly marries two of the great mythic theater pieces of all time - Hamlet and Star Wars - and edits in all of the best of each and then nails it. The Yoda-Polonius puppet and voice are memorable. There are many more fun surprises with character and plot blending that stop the show for laughter and applause breaks again and again. Five kitties for the star war material and five for the Hamlet. This is my vote for best of the fringe.

FLESH

Five Hot Dance Solo's
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
This is high art and heady novel stuff. Maybe takes some appreciation of modern dance to dig it. Very sexy, sensual, awakening to new possibilities of what a dancer's body can do. I want to see it again.

Joe Dowling's William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet on the Moon, featuring Kate Mulgrew as Lady Capulet

Brilliant, excellent
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
The best comedy of this year's fringe. Well conceived and written and directed and acted with precision. What really makes it work for me is that when the Shakespeare is happening it is dead on good and that makes the goofy setting and outrageous interjections by the interloping commentators even funnier. Christopher Kehoe is a genius in my estimation. See it.

Scarborough Fair

A send up on a tribute works
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Smith and Bourdet are right on in creating Simon and Garfunkel vocally. What makes their satire on a tribute duo of "Scarborough and Fair" so enjoyable is that through the goofiness the musc does live. This is every bit as good as their Opera send up in last years fringe.

Ash Land

Oh My! See this.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Standing ovation ran over time as this was last show of the night. What a brilliant execution of seamless dance, song, mime and acting that is totally the actors - nothing else- and tells the story as only theatre can. I laughed, I cried, I suffered, I rejoiced, I hated the villan, and loved the young lovers and felt redeemed at the end. Every bit as good if not better than "Red Revisited. Great art and great craft - the preparation and energy of the cast is apparent.

Threads

real and touching
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
This engaging and true story of an altruistic woman trying to be real in the surreal world of war time Viet Nam, climaxes in a cliff hanger escape from the last days in 1975. It is told in a totally gripping and beautiful and loving and heart-wrenching and terrifying narrative deftly delivered by Tonya Jone Miller. Highly recommend it.

Sin Eater

brilliant, transcendant
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Tamara Ober gives tribute to her step-Father in this intense piece that seems to start so slowly but then reaches an intensity rarely seen on stage. Multimedia effects enhance this gripping dance story that digs to the bowels of life. Leaves one transported to another place of great peace after a transforming journey that confronts and defeats the demonic. Music, lighting, sound used artfully to create it all. I needed to leave the theater and take a quiet walk afterwards.

TROY! The Musical

This show has legs
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Total hit with superb writing and songs you want to hum leaving the theater. Cast, Crew, director, music all right on and makes the tiny BLB seem huge. What would Cameron MacIntosh do with this? Make it a huge West End and Broadway long run mega success. Why not?

All's Fair

Stole my heart
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
This play does love - the greatest of virtues - justice. It is well written, well directed, and well acted and it got my wife and I all gushy and mushy and nostalgic for our first date. A feel good classic on a heart tug par with "The Four Poster."

Answered Prayers

Compelling
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Having seen and loved "Twisted Apples" (act three) and "Untold Lies" (act two), I found "Answered Prayers" a compelling act one that creates huge tension and makes me want to see the whole production through. As much a trilogy as a novella this modern opera plunges the depths of human relationships in a microcosmic and timeless midwestern town. Nora Long is spectacular once again - I felt she even held back on opening night to match the tempered intensity of JP Fitzgibbons who performed amazingly despite a bad cold. Joshua Hinck is also radiant and believable. Brilliantly directed, composed and written. Kudos.

Not Dead Yet! The Return of Mr. Elk & Mr. Seal!

memorable nostalgia
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
As good as ever - toe tapping hand clapping side splitting song and dance men tear it up seamlessly with clever original bits as we laugh and sing along for an hour of pure fun.

Tapestries 0.5

female, black emphasis
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
We loved this stunning hour of interesting choreography and super energetic dance. The opening number was gutsy and hard to follow with piano soundtrack overriding unrelated and hardly intelligible speech accompanying a busy four part dance that resolves in ensemble at the end. The remaining sets were much more audience friendly with a dramatic grand finale of three pieces from a forthcoming show at the Cowles. We can't wait to see it.

Kitty Kitty Kitty

Well done, well written, funny
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Never stops a mews-ing with all the funny stuff about cats and their humans and what happens when a mad scientist clones out of control. Stellar cast. Punchy delivery. Professional script.

Duetted

Brilliant reprise of the best
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Every year I can I see Rodero and Schuchart do their accessible and very classy stuff about relationships and I still love every minute of it.

A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant

Energy, charm and cute
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
An engaging off broadway hit of ten years ago - with lots of punchy songs and funny satire - is resurrected by a cast of high energy charming talented middle schoolers. Size-blind casting - a requirement with middle schoolers - makes it even more charming. The only thing I didn't love was allowing down center mike stands to upstage the actors when the mike stands had no business - they could have been moved up or to the side. Direction is otherwise superb, bring out the best in each of the actors. The premise of having a seasonal pageant celebrating the birth of the founder of scientology is too much fun, and the professional script is much tighter than the usual fringe set up. BTW - I am not a relative or friend of anyone in the show.

Failure: A Love Story

enchanting fable
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Superbly acted and directed interesting farce/fable that took my heart with its fly away ending.

Twelfth Night

Messing with Will
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Purists hate the idea of rewriting Shakespeare but Fringe gives special artistic license to theater and this "twin" production of Twelfth Night uses that license to make a memorable dual production. I had to see them both to really get it, although either of the play fragments stand alone. Lovely acting, directing, concept by a bunch of notable pros.

Now I See

Powerfully directed
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
This is one of the three best shows I've seen so far (out of thirty-four). The script itself is charming and yet with any production other than this one I believe it would fall flat. Its the huge energy of the well rehearsed cast doing all the delightful business with movement and percussion that makes it sing. Such effort, such discipline, such precision!! Bravo.

Green T's 2001: A Space Odyssey

Kabuki Wowie
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
The most interesting choreography yet, this show is on my "best of fringe" list. Using movement and a little light and sound and marvelous actors and dancers this retelling of the Arthur C. Clark packs all the punch of the high budget movie (well OK the star passage sequence isn't as visually trippy) and takes exactly an hour. Best Dance and Best Tech and Best Show nominations for sure.

Top Gun: The Musical

Check
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Concept - check. Direction - check. Choreography- check. Music - check. Musical direction - check. Execution -check. Energy - check. check. check. Fun show - check. See it.

Jumpin' Jack Kerouac

Surprise!! It's good.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Windy makes (mostly) non dancer fringe writer-performers into really good dancers. Add that to their polished wit and theatricality and its a whole new dimension. Imagine Tim Uhren channeling Gene Kelly and Alfred Hitchcock at the same time! It happens here.

Fiddlestick Conundrum

pretty fiddlesticking funny.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Once again Ben delivers nicely paced comedy routine that makes you think a little when your not laughing your conundrum off, and sends you home with some unforgettable hilarious imagery.

Rich Pieces and Other Dances

Surprise!!
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Had no idea what this was going to be going in and scheduled for convenience and because I like dance. Totally surprised and awed and transfixed by superb physicality and emotive performance. Took my breath away.

The Tourist Trap

quintessential ghost story
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Short and snappy - full of surprises. Sucks you in and then lets you have it with both barrels. Uren fans will be pleased.

(In)humanity: A Study Through Movement

Hominids are us
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Wonderful unified work that takes us to both sides of the Goodall documentary camera as we join a troop of pre-humans who communicate through movement and protoritual. Beautiful, touching and understandable with a message that we homo's aren't all sapient - still have a lot of social evolution to go.

After Life

fulfilling modern morality play
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
The story carries us through the great mysteries of the other side leaving us to value our current moment and its existential import. Deftly acted, directed and written.

11:11

Magic for your soul
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Deftly written, directed and acted this piece comes full circle upon itself in a stunning conclusion. A most enriching experience.

There Is No Myth

classy and dazzling
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
After seeing two other very good dance shows this evening, I was ready to just tolerate this show - and it knocked my socks off. It just got better and better. The cello interlude was gorgeous. After two transfixing sets and interlude, the finale with live cello and Courtney Henry outdid itself. How could you top this?? Bravo.

The Genealogy of Happenstance

Its real
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Allegra has never ceased to amaze - some shows better than others. This is so well crafted and so personal and so touching. And she let us hug her after the show - we needed to. The story lives on - and of course it needs to be told and listened to.

What You Will

First rate stuff
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Direction, writing , concept, acting all excellent. What do you expect from pros.

Labyrinth

Greek myth/cellphone stalking?
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Delightful movement and song and multimedia presentation of the ancient Greek Ariadne and the Minotaur myth framed in the present day quandary of a young woman being stalked via her smartphone. After transport through the seas to the island of the labyrinth she is ensnared in the maze, stalked by minotaur monsters and serenaded by a singing chorus that belts it out ala Voix Bulgares all in Greek. She is rescued and resolves her dilemma. Enchanting experience. Fantastic concept developed with great visuals, engaging dance and music. Encore!

REACH

classy (as expected)
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Nautilus is the premiere incubator for music theater writers, and performers and always reaches for the stars. They do it again with this selection of the best of their monthly rough cuts series. Only small problem is that some of the pieces could have benefited from a bit more setting exposition - "East of the Sun" for instance. Lovely lovely stuff.

Crime and Punishment

The book will never be the same.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Having seen the last performance of the run, my review is perhaps moot. But I loved the terrifying experience of being confused and anonymously herded in a dungeon of horrors, being taken by the hand and personally questioned by the inspector as to just what I was doing at the crime scene -after being fingerprinted and experiencing the justice of blind chance. Touch, sound, sights, experiences - and yes even the smells of an old soap factory which fit well with the copious blood. (I did read through a plot summary of Crime and Punishment beforehand, which helped connect the dots in an otherwise chaotic experience.) My wife said it didn't impress her at all - and yet she wouldn't let go of my hand. Priceless.

Die, Clowns, Die!

Cerebral, Physical Comedy Mastered
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Joseph Scrimshaw does it again, with the funniest piece of stand up (and fall down) comedy in the round ever. What a master – he expertly uses the sold out Rarig Arena space to full advantage. Extend, rerun, go national.

Really

My son directed this, but I love it!
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
John Lyons is astounding as he creates and executes five very different roles, each with a twist that hits where you live – somewhere. Dippy bar twenty-something she-blond tells innermost secrets, your father dying makes a video tape to you, AA guy who needs Liars Anonymous, the most irritating effeminate male hair dresser heterosexual ever on “America’s Most Wanted”, a man confronts the rape and kill monster who took his ten year old daughter forever. Hard to believe that Lyons completely brings to life each of these characters in sketches that last only ten minutes – and each one will make you laugh or make you cry – or both. A tour-de-force of brilliant acting and directing. Really!

Men & Women

Class Act
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Engaging and elegant, these three dance pieces by Gomez Dance Group are satisfying and beautiful. “Touched” by Eric Boone (Wow!) and Rob Leadley is unforgetable. Highly recommended.

The Wacky Chicken Show

Egg or chicken?
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Funny and well done – even though those who most enjoyed it were under seven, we laughed and liked it – wished we had our younger grandkids with us. The audience participation – especially by young ones is half the fun. Nice story, great magic tricks, and wonderful rooster and hen – and of course, eggs.

In Hopes of Claudia

my vote for best show
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Lines around the block in hopes of tickets. Collaborating with stunning vocalist and accordionist Simone Perrin, Kevin displays his virtuosity on several instruments – dijerido, tuba, harmonica – and takes us on a sold out transcendent journey to the hereafter - and personal (no kidding) redemption. Bring a sin of yiur choice. Comedian, philosopher, spiritual guide Kevin Kling gives us absolutely the best show of the Fringe, and we are blessed to be there.

Prozac Bizzos

Really tough women survive
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
So how do hopeless and helpless women who have depression survive? This play is about how they get tough, and real, self-accepting and inter reliant. The writing is superbly complex, interweaving lives – some end tragically – and it is superbly directed and acted. Erin Harney has real vision and brings it to the fore. Her play never gets pedantic or preachy but holds on to the facts (depression is very prevalent, much more so in women, and drugs to treat it have side effects - drug placebo comparisons show little difference, and cognitive therapy is equivalent to Prozac family drugs - depression is rarely simple, often coexisting with other conditions –( my clinician speaking.)) Her people are really real.

The Secret Life of Kitty Williams

bring your own popcorn
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
What a Hoot! 50’s sci-fi extraterrestrial- washed up Hollywood starlet love story that will leave your mascara running because you laugh so hard. Great physical gags.

Love in a Time of Rinderpest

Infectious Rinderpest
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Physical comedy at its best in a typically zany Fringe plot that on its own has no merit, but becomes high hilarity when brilliantly energetic characters as warring high school coaches duke it out in drama competition, find themselves in love. According to Wikepedia, rinderpest (RP) is an infectious viral disease of cattle. And so is love, apparently, as in "You will love this show."

The Star Chamber

Monty Pythonesqe
by David Trudeau
Rating: 5 kitties
Until you see this fast paced cerebral comedy of Royal Academy of Science manners, you will not fully appreciate that the universe is very much like an extremely bad pudding. Be prepared to laugh, groan (outrageous puns), scratch your head and applaud repeatedly in that order.

Sin Cities 7

It's late but no yawns
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4.5 kitties
Wonderful way to end a good day – tonight’s special sin was “Sloth” – “hard to get too worked up over.” Funny and insightful monologues, charming musical interludes ( “Lazy Bones” no less) Amy Salloway presented new material that is hilarious.

Jungle Mary Bang Bang!

Disney Mania
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4.5 kitties
All those great Disney Musicals loved by my kids, my grandkids, medley after medley in high-energy harmonies, presented well with great staging by a very talented troupe. So many unforgettable Sherman brothers songs, so little time.

Johan Santana's Perfect Game

Near Perfect Situation Comedy
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4.5 kitties
Comedy ala Seinfeld. Cunningly contrived and well done, Jonathan Wemette writes and anchors as Ben, with his odd-couple simple fun-guy roomy Paul played by Kevin Albertson. These two contrasting Twins fanatics watch (and control the outcome by hokey superstitions) of a perfect pitching game, while Claire (Heather Hannigan) interrupts the mounting tensions of TV broadcast baseball drama with her desires to take Ben to some outrageous installation at the Walker. If only Heather as Claire could slow down her delivery a tad, and if some awkward moments of Ben sending her off to the kitchen could be smoother. Ah , well – as it stands it’s a fun time.

Joanie Loves Chachi and So Do I

See it!!
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4.5 kitties
It works! It was a great way to begin fringing this year. It was well executed and much fun. (This group had a good show last year, too.)

Salome by Oscar Wilde

Professional and polished performance.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4.5 kitties
Stunning dance sequences and staging bring this Victorian version of a well known biblical melodrama to a high polish. Even though we all know the story, the interplay between Heather Quigley's Salome and Chris Lowry's Herod creates enough tension to make the play interesting. Despite the tendency of the script and staging to fall into traditional Christian and Hollywood Bible epic cliche, this is generally resisted by Quigley's direction. It's a grand show with high esthetic.

William Shakespeare's Hystery Queene Margaret

Well done and well written
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4.5 kitties
The opening puppetry a bit shaky but all's well that ends well. Nicely adapted and well directed. This is real theater, not just crazy fringe stuff.

The Broken Brain Summit

Learned alot.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4.5 kitties
Having worked (and even researched and published) in the area of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), I was amazed at what I learned through the quality performances of these real TBI recovering actors as they share their victories, and their inspiring humanity. They tell it from the inside.

African Roads, American Streets

Infectious
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4.5 kitties
What a show! There’s a story line and it tends to get lost in awkward transitions and muddled exposition, but it doesn’t matter. Its all about the drumming and the dancing and the hip hop connection to Black African traditions, both so alive here.

Cannibal! The Musical

Worth Staying Up For
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4.5 kitties
Goofy, bizarre, funny and extremely well prepared and performed, this full scale musical could only be made better by turning the volume down a bit on the prerecorded music so the talented singers don’t have to induce laryngitis. It is worth staying up till 1:00 AM any night to be delighted and laugh – applaud – laugh – applaud. The South Park set is a stitch.

Songs from an Unmade Bed

Too much of a good thing
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
I really like Nautilus and J.P. Fitzgibbons and wouldn’t miss this for the world. But unlike other Nautilus Fringe productions of recent years, which I’ve seen twice, I’ll only see this one once. One hour of songs in the same genre (mostly) by the same character, and in the same setting is enough. Still, it is wonderful.

The Red Tureen

Polished
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Its hard to avoid stereotypes and old chestnuts when doing a famine play because it is material that is so overworked. But aside from those unavoided thematic pitfalls, the delivery, the acting and singing and especially the music is wonderful. I wonder if it could be produced in an expanded version; in an hour the play is too compressed for adequate plot and character development, though it does a good job.

Holding Patterns

Classy stuff
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
For some reason did not hold our interest like last years concert, but still huge. Seemed to us a little vague in parts where there's a story to guess at and the bit with the fishbowl trying to tell a story to me robbed the dance of its abstract elegance.

Concord, Virginia: A Southern Town in Stories

Mark Twain on Sodomy and Vultures
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Another humorist wordsmith for the American Pantheon? These are engaging stories that are funny and engaging and scary and the delivery is impeccable and very alive.

Nor Did the Atomic Bomb Drop Itself

Engaging story telling
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
I was really gripped by the first two stories, and a bit less so by the vignette. The last two stories were well delivered but lacked the keen interest of the first two.

The Rise of General Arthur

Really interesting
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
but do we need a library card to enjoy it? The distillation and retelling of Arthurian legend in modern times is indeed interesting and makes (again) a great story on which our Western ideas of chivalry, heroism and leadership are based. Nice insight. What is huge here, however, is the telling by Mr, Low which kept my interest. The program details his scholarship.

The First Five Minutes Are Slow

ATrip
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
effectively staged and directed using minimalist effects and great humor. It al ties nicely together at the end. Brilliant and precise timing makes this show very effective and entertaining.

Entwined

Not Amy's Best
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
But nevertheless worth seeing. I think she does better solo. A soft ending as she flies away from her dilemma and we never find out what's inside the big ball - or her.

Rumspringa the Musical

A Hoot, a hit
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Take a really good concept and flesh it out in a somewhat amateurishly but very sincerely acted and sung musical with really low budget costumes and props but with a lot of energy and some cute kids and direct it well and voila - a Fringe sellout.

Monster

resentment revenge rage fantasies
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Is it a movie or a revenge daydream or a nightmare or reality and did it really happen and to whom? Guess. In the meantime be prepared to visit the dark side and maybe let it go once you see how it destroys. Brilliantly acted and directed - sometimes the characters emerge without introduction and I momentarily lost the flow for a few of them. I found it riveting, challenged my darkness. One of the better one person shows I have seen.

Axed! (The Rockstars' Remix)

two out of three aint bad
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
One story teller stellar with high interest and imagery and clever unfolding of a tender plot enhanced with damn good singing. One good with church camp adolescent flashback I could relate to. One poor with incoherent, unbelievable plot and characters and not even read well from the notes nutzo fantasy.

This Show Will Change Your Life!

Needs more writing
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Started out with a huge bang and lots of funny material but not enough to fill the hour. You can't effectively satirize boring and meaningless motivational seminars by being boring and meaningless.

Strong

Tech?
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
I desperately want to give this five kitties for the superb writing and acting, but the annoying long dark pauses for choppy scene changes and light and sound miscues prevent me from doing so. With a few more cheap chairs the scenes could seamlessly flow from one area of the stage to another using light and sound cues. Writing and acting of this caliber deserves better direction.

Cigarettes for Jesus

Hugely funny concept
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
If this were set to music it could be another Urinetown. The show is a little rough around the edges as a bunch of raw college kids use folding chairs and tables as their set - along with some really clever projected graphics. The monetized Christian right, Altria, and the Chinese growth-at-any-cost ethic all get stabbed nicely. OK, the timing is rough, and some of the acting could be tweaked, but sit back and enlighten up and fill your soul with the Holy Smokes.

BOOGIEography

High voltage
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
This dance show just goes and goes with hot stuff and great choreography executed by really good dancers. The clumsy silent blackouts between routines slow its otherwise dizzying energetic pace.

Nightmare Without Pants

Funny, too long
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Again master of comedy Joseph Scrimshaw comes up with a hit idea - and again milks it beyond its potential. Editing this down by 15 minutes and pacing it to build and grow to a punching conclusion would be an improvement. After half an hour this nightmare got sleepy.

Connectome

Dance celebrates neurobiology?
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Dance is all about relationship and connectivity in space and movement. So this interesting and well done program uses neuroscience as a model. I enjoyed it.

2012 Leaping Dragon Dancing Phoenix -Rhythm of the East

Well done, delightful
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Stunning costumes and lovely young women and cute kids do Chinese folk-inspired dances that are a knock-out. Well worth seeing.

A Comedy of Edits

Literary seduction.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Well performed sketch that evolves into a standoff between literary giants. Lingo's storytelling seduces us into pondering the mysteries of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, and loving it. Brainy and fun.

Kafkaesque: A Musical Metamorphosis

Diamond in the rough
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
As technically rough as this is, it works. Kafka's pathos of loosing one's facilities and appearance and becoming a pariah in "Metamorphosis" is expressed in this play with good writing and directing and at times brilliant acting. Music tells the feelings of the story that can be told in no other way. Needs to be developed further.

The Mysterious Disappearance of the Second Youngest Sister

No Narrative - But
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
This is a long and a well developed dance that has a narrative but no program to tell us what that might be or what the powerful music is to which it is set. It held me spell bound as it developed relationships and conflicts and resolved those with the siblings burying the second youngest sister in the books which she cherished and created and held secret - I think. Open to interpretations - just like great music.

Longing for Qeej

Extravaganza!!!
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Huge young energetic cast from five different Hmong dance companies, brilliantly costumed, perform this folklore extravaganza with gusto and charm. I can only guess at the hours of rehearsal and cost of the costumes, but its big. My four year old granddaughter was entranced, riveted to the stage for an hour, as were her grandparents. What could make it better is an onstage character with some stagecraft ability telling this mythic story of the Hmong people and seamlessly weaving the scenes together, rather than the hard to understand off stage voice reading it.

This is Where Your Free-time Goes to Die

Tribute
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
I wonder how the show would stand on its own were it not a tribute to a deceased writer and I wonder if the blogs were ever meant to be presented as story. That said it is as well directed and delivered as it could be and rotating between three presenters really worked. Perhaps the editing included too much sex themed humor which I found a little tedious. But over all enjoyable stuff.

Tempests

clever theme well choreographed
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
A lot goes into this blend of the movie "Alien" and Shakespeare's "Tempest." The dialogue is Elizabethan, and the excellent choreography includes lots of flights, fights and alien simulations including a chestburster. Still for all its energy, creativity and spoofing it doesn't quite go over the top. Fun and interesting.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Dr. Jekyll

Worked for me, almost.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
The transforming potion mistakenly taken turns the subservient gal Friday into a victorian version of perverse monsteress - a (gasp) militant feminist. This and other whimseys make this a clever piece that is mostly well crafted but not quite enough change expressed in the transmutations of the potion drinkers. Tim Uren could really turn up the contrast between his cold, speculative and pompous scientist and his gushy touchy feely nice guy transformation.

7 (x1) Samurai

entertaining but gets tedious
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Really funny and creative with a few caveats. Hard to follow all the jokes if you don't know the two movies on which its based. Reading mime for an hour wears on a guy.

Angelina Jolie is a Zionist Whore! or, Plan 9 from Baghdad

War's timeless humor
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Not quite another Princeton Seventh with its richness and complexity, this show creates its simple comic situation with Iraqi Jihadis who are trying score points by making a terrorist video for Al Jazeera with a captive GI. They stumble into a snag of a camy wearing Food channel correspondent who then tries to tutor them on proper video shoot. The jokes are not always all that funny or subtle but if anything, it says that the Iraqui war is now stale enough that we can make some good comedy of it. When we can laugh at the enemy he has lost his terror grip altogeter.

Highlander: The Musical!

Better if your a Highlander buff
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
I have seen a few parts of a few episodes of Highlander and it bored me with all its premises of time travel and ancient feuds being settled with claymores in modern urban settings. This send up spoofs all the corny devices in song and lots of fight choreography. Well written and performed, it might be more appealing had I been a fan at all of the original.

Minnesota Middle Finger

Fun and entertaining
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
I and the nearly sold out house on Sunday loved it. Sure its a fringe show with limited time, space and tech with the usual minimalist prop and set and maybe a few flaws, and maybe it could be developed into something really polished and wonderful, but its a hoot.

O(h)

More Exposition than Dance
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
but riveting once again - and insightful as dance cliches are exposed with wonderful patter and moves.

St. Christopher of Financial Aid

Uplifting Feel Good
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Never quite preachy but morally strong as real empathetic feeling humans connect despite the overpowering and dehumanizing influence of management on a drudgery perfunctory job. In the middle of the show the meaningless drudgery point comes across at the expense of attention spans, so we have a little audience participation break - needed- to "Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes." Lovely show well written and very well performed - on Saturday all the cues seemed right on.

Trouble in Tahiti

Nicely Done
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
but not a compelling opera. Fifties themes of post war suburban materialism-happy days-psychoanalysis for existential angst -"Road to" movies - man in grey flannel suit - makes for droll humor and not much of a plot. Glad I saw it - interesting as part of the Bernstein cannon not often seen or heard. It must have turned heads in its day.

The Jack Chick Plays

Hilarious Playing it Straight
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
The Jack Chick comics are already so over the top in terms of melodramatic impact getting their version of Christian fundamentalism across that this Duluth Playhouse troupe had only to play as written and voila - satire that creates itself. Very enjoyable - unless you might be an offended fundamentalist but hey folks all they did was follow the script! Everyone provided with a set of the mini comics just so we could see the act did not stray one jot from the holy writ.

Waiting for Biffy

Mostly brilliant
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Mime fun -high energy, inventive and full of laughs. All except the "TGIF" vignette - we couldn't read that one. "The State Fair" and "Woodstock" are wonderful, as is all the rest of the show - (except TGIF.)

Bard Fiction

they couldn't stop laughing
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Clever send up sometimes hard to follow due to audience persistently laughing raucously over lines- a testimony to how clever. 1st performance so actors forgiven for not riding all the laughs. Suggest reviewing "Pulp Fiction" on Wikepedia or other movie source to get up to snuff on the in jokes before going. A hit.

The Selkie

A Dreamscape
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
as it should be - the story is told exclusively and nearly seamlessly in song and dance. If you are a fan of highland dancing there is some great stuff here, and the music and Scottish country dancing is adequate, all woven seamlessly into the choreography. Perhaps a little piobaireachd would have been nice some place in the show- with classic highland pipe sounds playing offstage behind the selkies return to the sea.

Crave

Ouch!
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
This spectacularly executed play is so filled with hopelessness and frustration and pain that the line "the absence of grief is sometimes mistaken for ecstasy" seems to be the resolution after a forty five minute crisis of anguished intense unrequited love, lust, drug hunger, PTSD, mistrust and general relationship failure. The author, we are told in the program, was clinically depressed and suicided. The play ends with a suicide of sorts with the characters giving up on each other and themselves, returning to the silent catatonic and yet conflict free isolation from whence they came at the start. Seeing this play is like reading Plathe. One asks where is awe, joy, altruism, humor, appreciation, caring? After seeing Crave I had a distinct craving for these because they are so totally, starkly absent in this dark night of a play. If you see it plan on some provocative and unsettling responses that may require hours of discussion. None of this would happen without the brilliant acting. Antonio Brunetti channels Robin Williams and is superb.

Bite Me Twilight

Material limited
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
by the limitations of the Twilight series. While helped with interjections of topical (and very funny) jokes about the news of the day, its hard to make something tedious interesting by satirizing it. That said Tom Reed almost made Twilight interesting as he created a very amusing and high energy show employing his Jim Carrey like abilities to rubber face a cast of characters as he guided us through the saga and its idiosyncrasies.

You/Provoke/Me (Again)

Really Good if not Great Dance
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Three Dances. The last piece "Politics, Religion,Sex" was absolutely the most entertaining. The first piece "Grey Noise" was overworked with repetitive thematic material of tough guy and gal 50's Film Noir action that got tedious after ten minutes. The middle piece - part of "Life,Love, Death" was enchanting - I would have liked to have seen more of it and less of "Grey Noise." My partner found the sound a bit annoying at times, especially the 78 RPM hiss and click effect, distracting from the dance.

Amnesiac Jack

more song!
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
We liked this mainly because we like Vanessa and Jeremiah Gamble so much. They pull it off despite some problems. Thus the show does not rise to the level of last years crisply focussed hits “The Cubicle,” or “Nibblers.” Still there is the making of a good show and I hope the show can grow. It’s a great fable with a strong moral but almost looses its focus with too many extraneous characterizations. Problem: the momentum is repeatedly braked with unnecessary blackouts – unnecessary because the scene changes are very simple, interesting and could be done in full light, perhaps with more song to bridge transitions. The singing is wonderful.

Illinois Jane and the Pyramid of Peril

Fun Set
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Over all a good experience, but a little slow moving at times. The clever set by Tony Karna was the hit of the show for me, with the illusions of high speed fights on a moving train, collapsing pyramid chamber roofs achieved with simple materials you can find in your own garage or scene shop.

Google: The Musical

Gearhead Thespians Unite!
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Google –4 Generally fun – another high-energy zany plot amateurish full stage fringe musical that entertains but lacks some polish. Not quite as good as “Angst” or “Cannibal” but much better than “Kill the Robot.” Brings live theater to gear heads – this is good.

Mittens for Fat Kids

Had me till the end
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Ben Sandell tackles death and sex in stand up – great universal topics. He artfully warms up the audience with nice small talk, then glues our attention with his personal grief experiences, striking empathy, with really personal and insightful material. Then he hits us over the head with sex jokes that are funny but loose my empathy because they cross the boundary of misinforming children about sex.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being American

mostly good, uneven
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
The energy and writing are uneven in this satirical look at what truths we hold to be self-evident. Luckily we had reserved for this sold out show, or would have been turned away.

Miniature Horses Don't Go to Heaven

90% sick 10% humor
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
The premise is taking some of the most bizarre, shocking tabloid headlines and then doubling down on their weirdness. I groaned more than I laughed, but man they got a reaction from me and I can't get this wild stuff out of my memory. Jarring, surreal, commentaries on inhumanity generally well delivered in vignettes that read like fever dreams. Bold.

Marie-Jeanne Valet Who Defeated La Bete du Gevaudan

Thoughtful allegory - cleverly done
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
This wonderful adaptation of a long and complex story uses lots of clever transitions and business and keeps us moving. The editing comes up short in that the tale is a bit repetitive and the morals of the story can get lost in the multiplicity of characters who come to fight the beast. The actors never stop amazing us and the direction is otherwise dazzling.

Yama & Kalindi: a Transdimensional Love Story

Dazzling script
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
The script is a masterful and complex interweave of two stories that merge somewhere in the vicinity of Twilight Zone and Sutra. It is challenging to stage but is done so successfully under the most adverse circumstances of fringe minimalism and the CRP setting. Spiritually refreshing.

Human-Nature

Remembering John Munger
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Lovely and accessible nature/water themed dance - a fitting tribute to John Munger whose Third Rabbit graced this stage in so many fringes. The opening number absolutely the best.

Tough Love

Eclectic personal spiritual experiences
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Elements of Buddhism, Yoga, Qi Gung, Native Hawaiian spirituality, Shamanism expressed in multimedia and movement with sincerity, intensity, focus and concentration. I was totally immersed in the piece and found it coherent in that it stayed with its "think with the heart" and "act with the heart" premise as it moved through different expressions of the "one big story". My wife didn't like it a bit, said she couldn't understand any of it. There's no accounting for taste, I guess.

An Agony of Fools

stands up well to non stop laughter
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Another wonderful stand up show that grows and is well executed. San Del plays his audience masterfully with right on pacing and material that strikes a chord.

The Gentlemen's Pratfall Club

Delivers as advertized
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Masterful well worked physical comedy by Joshua Scrimshaw set in an amusing story that carries through well. Weinhagen is a great straight man to Scrimshaws amazing feats that include the longest tumble down a stair case I have ever seen. Lots of small kids there who loved it as much as I did.

Shakespeare's Histories; 10 Epic Plays!

Need a horse for Crispin's ?
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Shakespeare made odious by forced readings in high school, I spent much of my young life avoiding it. But adult taste prevailed and now I like the bard's plays. After seeing Timothy Mooney's exposition of the historical plays, I can like them even more because I have a much clearer idea of why Shakespeare wrote them and who he wrote them for. The consummate theater nerd, Mooney easily fills an entertaining and engaging hour with the essentials. Glad I went.

The Habits of Seven Highly Offensive People

Tour de Force
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Ms Woodworth comes on with her best and leaves me wanting more. She delivers character after character with keen satire and energetic right on delivery, each episode with a moral point to make. The "aphasia" episode fell flat for me, however. Word substitutions induced by the misfortune of traumatic brain injury are as "funny as a crutch." She redeemed herself with Mrs God.

Callahan and Lingo presents: The Last Ditch

Great Stories, Nice Setup
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
Two masters on short notice come up with an enjoyable and winning show. Only problem are dropped key words in closing lines - the nature of in the round story telling makes it hard to always read the mouth - a problem for those of us with a little hearing loss. So the words of the story are the story and need to be heard. Best thing is Allegra reciting a story-poem to music.

The Complete Works of William Shatner (abridged)

Clever and Fun
by David Trudeau
Rating: 4 kitties
The Shatner geek sitting next to me laughed at every in-joke and finished half the lines, which I assume were quotes from famous episodes of Star Treck. Even though my fund of Shatner-ology is meager, I still enjoyed this well wrought satire that employs the premise of four incarnations of Shatner brought to simultaneous life on an alien planet, to ponder their impact on each other. And I learned some things I did not know, such as William Shatner began his life in theatre as a Shakespearian! Memorable.

Wonderland

Hot overload
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3.5 kitties
Follow the crowds to a grand Vegas style show that entertains to the max. Delivers what it advertises – the hottest gay night club ever. My wife didn’t like it as much as I did – good dance and glam but, on the whole, the theme gets tedious?

Chasmagic

Gum Ball Raga
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3.5 kitties
I liked this East meets West super energy dance- the Devolution sequence by Anasooya done to SpiderBait’s “Black Betty”is kick-ass, but much of the dance is repetitive, with interludes of pantomime with gum balls(?) that are sex, food, objects of spite and posessiveness (tedious at times.) What are all the gum balls about? Maya? Attachments?

Pomo Looks Like Porno, Deluxe

The Emporer's new ...
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3.5 kitties
Clothing is the theme in this dance piece that I liked and my wife didn’t. I found it very inventive – looks at performers, audiences as clothed/unclothed, shoes as weapons and fetishes, people as mannequins, clothes changing as compulsive ritual. The stagecraft was clunky with props that wobbled and setting changes that took too long.

88 Improv Presents The Hitchhiker

Can't stop to think
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3.5 kitties
Improv troup takes two suggestions from audience and comes up with a better show and story than some of the Fringe shows I’ve seen that folks labored on for months. They pass off on the plot and characters when it gets dull, sometimes a little late. This is a business where brain farts are deadly.

Venice Gas House Trolley

Hip Freak Beat but not enough meat
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3.5 kitties
Recently I heard Robert Bly read his poems accompanied by a percusion - violin- cello trio and it took my breath away - but the poems themselves could take my breath away. Venice GHT is superb at vocal and instrumental delivery in the genre of "word jazz," but only two of the poems really got me. It may be that the beat/freak thing is more about indignation and delerium than what's spiritual - or maybe its all a mater of taste. I enjoyed it - my wife snoozed.

Deep Boy

Got plot?
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Talented and creative teen actors once again create characters and situation, with nice effects, choreography, and theme - but the convincingly created characters don't convincingly evolve. If this show (like last year's effort) had a bit more coaching on creating some tension and resolution, it would be very successful. (Or maybe I'm just too old-fashioned to get whatever was supposed to happen here.)

Full Frontal: A Tale of Love & Lobotomies

musical comedy or tragic drama?
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Well directed and acted and sung but written inconsistently. Dr. Pinsky never develops his character and seems glib and aloof, leading a goofy musical number (the only one in the show). Half baked plot ideas abound, especially around Pinsky, whose actions suggest a self absorbed egoist, but whose lines suggest a happy go lucky sex fiend. The main difference between Pinsky (the lobotomist in cheif) and the inmates is that Pinsky gets to go home at night. Needs some work. It might work better if it goes the musical comedy route with more funny and poignant songs, but lets face it - psychosurgery is about as funny as death camps.

Mansion of Dust

Cute but underworked
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Good concept but not enough development - needs more interest in side plots. Characters good and well developed. Has a simple touching childishness which is appealing, but exhausts its meager plot in less than the 35 minutes it ran.

casebolt and smith: Speaking Out!

Too talky
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
I was disappointed that there was not more actual dance. The opening number was dynamite, and the closing number was interesting but over worked its concept. The talk got tedious in the middle two pieces, which seemed to me way too static.

Tales ... Of the Expected!

Fizzed
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Maybe it was the late hour - we saw a 10:00 show. "Rumpelstiltskin" was good with good energy, and it could have well ended there because the next two tales went slowly downhill - the gags got further apart and the timing suffered.

Slow Jobs: Servicing America for $12 an Hour

Story telling not quite rock-star
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Good stories and mostly entertaining but not delivered with that eye-to-eye engaging I-was-there believability that a really good story teller has. Or maybe a guy is supposed to be believable when they look at the wall or their shoes when they tell a story. So that's Nort Dakota for ya, eh? The absolute best is the layoff letter on the back of the program.

Blue Ribbon Burlesque

Energetic old fashioned burly-q
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
A little slow at times with blackouts to pick up the disrobings of the "Arteests," but it is as advertised. A sax in the band would be nice. I missed the cigar smoke. I sat in the third row next to another bald man.

Hogg and the Humors

Improv a dud
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Jimmy did well and the written down stuff and dance was great and the guests were interesting but not even Mike Fotis could make the four humors come alive in the improv segments.

Sure to Cure, Dr. Amelia's Medicine Show

Pleasant, droll, fun
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Dr. Amelia hits you in your third eye with songs and takeoffs on evangelistic money grubbing new age salvationists. She coulda hit a lot harder - there is a lot of material here to make fun of.

Superlatives of Excellence: A Jamboree of Breviloquent Masterworks by Josef Evans

If You Like Absurdist
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
then this is for you. For me it was too disconnected and the non sequiters got tiresome. Coherent, meaningful, or serious it is not. Funny? For a while but the sameness of the variations on characters and situations and cross gendering got me yawning.

Idiosynchronicity

Caffeine required
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
and Callahan kept himself awake through his weird monotone deliveries with cup after cup of that free iced coffee they were handing out. The rest of us had to struggle to stay awake through the strange twists of his imagination tales of brain eating spiders and black holes delivered with hypnotic flat affect and too fast reading. By contrast the three word jazzy finger snapping acoustic bass accompanied and off script rhymes about nerds in love were wonderful.

Mike & Matt

Matt Rocks, Mike sits.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Really two shows on one bill. Matt - the younger and less well known does a fine stand up that is touching, funny, poignant and topical. He gets 4 kitties. Mike the famous and very skilled one does not show up his brother, and abandoning his improv skills, sits behind a table for an "Evening with Fotis" style stress voiced reading of a rant from a loose leaf notebook. He gets 2 kitties for being lazy and only mildly amusing. 3 kitties is the average.

Drink Drank Drunk , Diary of the Life of the Party

Drunkalogue
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Essential to recovery - openness and honesty. But is therapy for the presenter show business? Touching and real for sure, but maybe best for the meeting rooms.

EWOCs Do It in 10 Minutes

Interesting
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
to try and get a play to happen in a short time. We saw Bill A and three of the plays worked. "The Last Time We Got Together" never did get off the ground - none of the four of us who saw it together could tell what was going on - it seemed to be about grieving - but what? "The Hourglass" didn't say much other than "its all about the cosmos and time ... man." The other three plays were interesting and created some serious tension and resolution. I'd like to see the other grouping as well.

The Beasts

slow death
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Started out with interesting characters and very funny devices, but faded. The premise is that the audience is a small group of survivors at an evening workshop in a post apocalypse micro world that subsists on greenhouse food and "experts" keep the door to the outside locked, preaching fear of the exclusively homo-carnivorous animal kingdom out there. This is the making of a fantastic story that needs a conclusion, but the delivery stalls and by the end nobody knows its the ending.

Once Upon a Time in the Suburbs

stumbling narator
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
My friends loved this - I was annoyed that the narrator - big part- could not project, emote or pace. I kept waiting for more banjo music. Goofy story that I thought was undeveloped and amateurish - maybe that's the appeal of this show. Lots of nice physical gags.

Our Freaking Kids Show

cast unable to save weak script
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
The plot line is "lets do a kids show" and the plot is "there is no time to write one." Unfortunately that is the extent of development. Although the fantastic company including knock out kid stars does their best, the end result is a disconnected high energy romp to nowhere.

Brain Fighters

My brain was fighting to stay awake
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Brilliant concept, great writing and funny funny actors doing this for 30 minutes tops would be perfect. But the monotony of the premise joke repeated over and over for an hour is general anesthesia. I finally kept myself awake by counting the people sleeping in the two rows behind me - there were seven pairs of closed eyes on nodding heads among twenty or so, and the others were mostly gazed over.

Underneath the Lintel

Too frenetic, too much information
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Pat O'Brien - a very acomplished actor - starts this long and complex tale in overdrive and can't build it from there. The expository material that is meant to be projected on a screen looses its punch as he fumbles with poster boards of scenes from arround the world. The apology by author Glen Berger - handed out at the end of the show - in which Berger describes why he was compelled to write this tale of the "Wandering Jew" should be in the notes before the show so we could get a better grasp of this long winding story and why this medieval fascination might mean something today.

Their Century

Essential information
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
As a presentation this is wonderful - many share parts of the multigenerational stories of immigrants to the Upper Midwest, and it inspires one to preserve those stories as the generations pass. As theater it doesn't work so well. Its hard to tell which character is talking - son, father, uncle, grandfather - because voice and body language are to much the same. Would a piece of costume - a hat, a scarf - help us know better whose teling the story?

As the Stomach Turns: The Musical

Zany - doesn't quite gel
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Taking two premises and putting them together in an unexpected mix can make a really hilarious show. Here some high energy classic avoirdupois burlesque queen routines and Carol Burnette's TV spoof on bad TV soaps didn't quite come together for me. Part of the problem is that the original "Stomach Turns" relied more on close up facials and the superb comedians who did it to be funny. The inane plot and timing errors used here are insufficient to propel it. And somehow the burley-Q just doesn't fold in. The band, however is just classic.

Silence

A place to start
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
The idea of a non-hearng/hearing musical is novel and this play shows it is feasible. I hope it is a launching pad for more serious work. A very simple plot and only a few good numbers leave it theatrically wanting. I do not speak ASL but my eye is always drawn to the signers at plays and every once in a while I see a gesture that gives a new depth to concepts expressed by spoken language. Signing is a graceful and expressive language that has its own movement art potential. I would love to see an ensemble dancing and signing. I also think of mime heavy theater pieces like "Ashland" that can incorporate hearing and non-hearing actors. Lots of interesting potential here. Thanks for breaking the ice.

The Diaries of Adam & Eve

Adam - wake up!
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
No problem with the writing here but the staging leaves much to be desired. Eve animated and has well developed character - Adam flat and flatter as the show proceeds. Minimal movement. A director would have been nice.

Shakespeare Apocalypse: A New Musical

Good premise.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Executed with lots of energy and a little stagecraft, this funny musical was perhaps enjoyed more by the actors who knew the convoluted script, than by the audience who had difficulty hearing it and following it. I know -- "its in the round." Well worth reworking, though.

Fear and Trembling

creative, creepy, frenetic
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Mr. Low uses his imagination for the bizarre in crisply word smithed stories that get blurred in his one speed motor mouthed delivery. The Jameson bottle is distracting. There is a lot of potential theatricality here, but it languishes at times.

Birds of Passage

All Business and No Story
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
This show has great movement directing, interesting use of fabric in a stark set, lively music, and experienced and adequate actors. But it lacks script development. The overall effect is dreary - that the transatlantic crossings of Euro-Americans were long and harrowing and filled with risk and many died. The ending is that the survivors got here. Period. But we know that already from grammar school history class. The story of one main character of interest never happens and we are left with bits and pieces of character development. I wonder why the company spent so much time and effort ingeniously creating billowing waves and sail boats and vomit with bolts of fabric to tell a story that's not there.

Amateur Hour

Mostly satisfying.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
I could do without Speedy McFerrari - Monologues were nice - impromptu dance with audience member ho hum, Mime piece not as crisp as it could be.

CIRCULATE

High energy low concept
by David Trudeau
Rating: 3 kitties
Lots of fun with the news via skit, song and dance and slapstick - but just scratched the surface for sendup value. The world is pretty bizarre and the media is more bizarre yet, so there's lots of stuff to make fun of. Some really good writers could make this a lot funnier.

Past the Size of Dreaming

Did I miss something?
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2.5 kitties
We couldn’t understand what was going on until this surrealistic nightmare play was well into its first fifteen minutes. Perhaps that has something to do with the cavernous acoustics in the Rarig Proscenium and trying to listen to four people talking over one another – but so it is. I have a problem with theater as transparent political propaganda, even when my bleeding heart of progressive hearts totally resonates with the playwright’s sentiments. (See John Stewart for how to satirize the neocons) Some good lighthearted bits, but too much vitriol. I am a huge fan of Matt Sciple and mostly like everything I have seen acted, directed, or written by him. Controversial? _ I’m more with Papatola than Beard on this one.

Before I Go

overacted and under directed
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
The first vignette was obscure and drawn out with too many pauses, unvaried strong emotion, and lack of development. The other two were at least amusing and had a plot. The last vignette was the best written but lacked range in performance: moments of what could have been quite desperation and resignation were fitful and frantic - keeping the piece at an sustained fever pitch, thus loosing the drama. Kudos for theater students getting in there and doing it - and learning from experience.

Project: Twin Cities American Next Top Idol Search!

I want my money back!
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
I saw this Sunday – apparently every night is different. After a fast paced and hilarious (which I had come to expect of “no Refunds”) video-recorded promo, we are descended into a series of awful sketches. I’m sorry, but you can’t satirize something that is already beyond lame and dumb (American Idol) by making it lamer and dumber. One star for the intro and one star for the guy who ate his own brains.

Screwed to the Sticking Place

Pretentious
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
I could not fathom what all the histrionics were about. A melange of Shakespeare quotes, paraphrases and fantasies of tragic heroines that gasp, shriek, groan, die, have lesbian trysts, and yes – bump and grind with buttocks half exposed – left me wondering what’s the point of this. Lear’s daughter Cordelia weaves in and out of the otherwise disconnected action, but what is she doing there? My wife and I disagreed on this one – she said she liked it and that it is about suppression of women in Shakespeare. OK – maybe it’s a gender thing.

The Second Oldest Profession

Theater 101
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
I expected some really strong personal stories from a huge figure such as Peter Moore. Instead we had a potpourri of mostly old and stale theater anecdotes from antiquity - some with a little moral. Could have made a good 10 minute TED talk, maybe, if delivered with more animation.

The Sex (Ed) Show!

Rough, amateurish, raunchy
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
We saw it late night on a weekend and expected what it was, plus some bluegrass. The music was pretty thin, the performers and the young audience had a ball with goofy songs and both saw the need to repeat the don't have unprotected casual sex message at every turn. Ten minutes of material crammed into an hour. Might work better if you're not too bright, really drunk.

The Naked I: Wide Open (Abridged)

Clinical
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
To me this case study by case study in transexuality was presented stiffly and clinically. Informative and in some cases eye opening. I think it is great workshop-discussion material for a human sexuality seminar, but not theatrically developed enough to make it entertaining.

Class of 98

Mostly uninteligible
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
In order to enjoy this I need to hear and understand it. The language was rushed and overridden by laughter with no pause and the actors were facing away much of the time. My wife - whose hearing is more acute than mine -concurred. Our son, clearly amused by the play, explained that it was all a send up on the "Back to the Future" movies and probably would have been better presented in a proscenium with an additional twenty minutes so the actors could take time to enunciate their lines and ride the laughs.

On the Differences Between Two Ladies and the Resolution Thereof

All in the timing -not!
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
One star for OK actors and one star for some OK sword work. The most dreadful music imaginable all but kills this play - and the otherwise too many scene changes are stretched out to accommodate the horrid dirges that are apparently also composed by the author and director, and do nothing to say "this is funny." Comedy is all about timing: bright colors, snappy music and above all pacing. This attempt lacks those essentials.

Son of a _____!

Self Absorbed
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
Levi - the author, producer, director and star creates a show about himself. His mother is really a peripheral character who is a vehicle for Levi telling us about the traumas of his life, one of the main ones being getting a cyst on his ass lanced, which frankly I don't want to know. There are props and devices - such as numbers appearing on the set peices and costumes, a crumbling mask, memo pads strewn around the set - that never quite explain themselves. The play closes with a very nice watercolor/drawing of Levi and his mother, which I enjoyed more than the play. My wife liked this treatise about strong bonds of motherhood more than I.

Soirée Preview

Ordinary stuff
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
The band was great for the first set "visceral experiences." The choreography worked nicely in the second set "stuck in 5." Beyond that it was pretty pedestrian dance and not that well done in my estimation.

HERO: A New Musical

Good Barbershop - bad play
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
The best part of this production was the clever set and the great barbershop numbers. The plot is lame beyond belief and is not based on life but on bad WWII movie cliches. Going from a bunch of happy "South Pacific" type navy air guys to tragedy on a meaningless mission doesn't work. It's hard to feel the tragedy when these fellows die - we never got to know them through character development. This seriously needs rewriting and then some expert direction. I could have listened to these guys sing for half an hour but sitting through the play was tedious.

Kill Will

Low Energy, Poor Direction
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
I expected a lot more fight choreography and was disappointed but even more disappointed in the show's lack of pacing and timing and energy. The material came off as stale jokes we've seen before - like lip syncing to Kung Fu, using red ribbons for blood. The computer game sequence put me to sleep. Was there really a director for this? Or a director in name only?

Open and Affirming Fairy Tales

Agenda > Entertainment
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
My three year old granddaughter was mystified and bored and so was her dad and grandma. Maybe appropriate for teens with gender identity issues from non traditional families, but the open and affirming stories seemed to be only for them. Maybe therapeutic for those young adults who want to reclaim a happy childhood - but not child appropriate - over the heads of pre teens and under in my understanding of development. Execution rough, directing shoddy and script a bit lame.

Fruitcake-Ten Commandments from the Psych Ward

Fizzed
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
Started out with a bang with slam poetry and some brilliant rants on psychopharma and mental health delivery but soon lost its advocacy punch as Gee's phrenetic delivery and leering affect seemed to ridicule sick people. What were the 10 commandments foggily enunciated in a thick Caribbean accent by "God" over a distorting amp? I and my friends could understand only a few words. Each of ten vignettes was introduced by one of these unintelligible "commandments," supposedly setting up a premise. There was only enough material here for maybe four or five "commandments". And while I understand the gallows humor when mental health professionals who work on the back wards share war stories as a way to decompress and blow off after a long shift, there is a lot of implied understanding between them about why they are there. The translation of such clinical anecdotes to a comedy routine for their yuck value became increasingly callous and uncaring.

Like a Virgin

adolescent sex is over-rated
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
I did look forward to seeing the wit and energy of Jimmy Hogg again, with all his Craig Fergusson charm, but it was the same old material delivered more frenetically and more diffusely focused than last year. My adolescent sexuality was awkward and embarassing (as I am sure yours was.) Now let's move on to something truly amusing.

Every Pastie* Tells A Story

theater stories
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
I felt like I was with an old friend telling theater stories and they went on and on and on...
There is enough material here for 15 minutes. There is one good joke and it doesn't have an hours worth of amusement.

The Tenth Muse

The Me Show
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
The songs were not interesting enough to sustain the hour. It seemed to me the story was mostly about Korenne, her setbacks in life, and her cleverness.

A Cynic Tells Love Stories

GLBT Anonymous?
by David Trudeau
Rating: 2 kitties
While the writer/performer had some nice delivery and techniques, the autobiographical material was not interesting. Rather than using life experience as a springboard to create a good story, life experience is the story. Autobiographies are interesting when they are by really famous people. Self disclosure stories of struggles with sexual identities and relationships are really great in support groups, but not on stage.

Hot Springs, Cold Sex…Good God!

Not Cream
by David Trudeau
Rating: 1 kitty
What a disappointment – the first of the three plays (Gramma, Mom and daughter disrobe and heal their lives in magic Eskimo hot springs) was lame in story and writing, badly staged and acted. Being there on the recommendations of Kristin Tillotson’ review in the Strib, we hoped it would get better. It kept getting worse. The last play incorporated inflatable dolls in sex scenes for twenty-five minutes of running “gag” that was tedious after one minute. A Strib “Cream of the Crop?” - this is not even close.

Kill the Robot

What would they do if they had a script?
by David Trudeau
Rating: 1 kitty
This show by energetic and talented teens, created as an acting school experience, got progressively dull with a plot line going nowhere. The kids had to come up with their own script – great fun and a learning experience for them – but a yawner for us. What could they have done with a coherent musical script and firm direction?

An Evening with Alan Jr. and Chastity Gambler

Doesn't deliver
by David Trudeau
Rating: 1 kitty
on acting-writing-singing-parody. Couldn't wait for it to end.

SemiDarkness

What chaos
by David Trudeau
Rating: 1 kitty
ensues in this show with its collaborative writing and three directors! Too many cooks for coherence. If you are not a personal friend of the cast and a huge expert on current vampire movies/TV series than you can not possibly enjoy this rambling in joke. And I say this as a long standing fan of YPC, who has done so many brilliant things in the past. Alas, if only the huge talents of these young performers could have been showcased with a meaningfully directed quality script!

Portrait of the Artist as a Yo-yo Man

ten minutes worth
by David Trudeau
Rating: 1 kitty
So-so yo-yo tricks and the really good chair tricks might sustain this for ten minutes. I found the patter flat. The paper and bag tricks are pretty lame.

Tales at Twilight

stories not worth the telling
by David Trudeau
Rating: 1 kitty
Once upon a time some really good actors decided to tell some really lame ghost stories, and even though they tried to make the stories very interesting and entertaining it was boring.

Twisted

I can't imagine how they could make it worse.
by David Trudeau
Rating: 0.5 kitties
Why ruin a pleasant day of fringing by capping it off with this? The picture says it all - it's a dog.