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Show reviews by David Trudeau

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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