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Show reviews by mark browning milner

Dancing Nude
do. not. miss. this. show. by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
remove mooney's glasses (and a lot more over the course of the show), shine a spotlight on the man, and he's a charisma machine. "dr. seuss meets dr. ruth" says it all, a wry and winning examination of one man's sexual awakening. i only wish i could attend a 10:00 show with a slightly drunk audience... do. not. miss. this. show.

See You Next Tuesday
wonderful script, excellent acting by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
i'd been hearing lots of buzz about this one, and am glad i finally got in to see it. i was struck but the well-defined humanity of the characters, all of whom are alternately attractive and annoying (just like you and me and everyone we know). all four actors were terrific, with special kudos to the female lead (daughter of the great karen weber - some genetics at play there) who walked the tightrope of a difficult role (honesty can be a bitch) with great aplomb. try to catch this one in the time remaining.

In a Black Mood
thank you, noble volunteer! by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
at this point in the fringe (wednesday in the home stretch) i've seen all the big hits, and i'm looking for things that i might otherwise overlook when i ask others for suggestions. a fresh-faced volunteer manning the door for "fruitcake" suggested this show, and i am *so* glad i caught it. a very attractive company of seven-female-and-one-male dancers, truly hot choreography that blends ballet, jazz, and broadway in an appealing meld, a wide range of truly cool music, and a wry sense of humor (johnson's solo was hilarious, danced to a mash-up of mozart and her radio obituary[!]) made this, "o(h)", and "thinkingaview/correspondance" my favorite evenings of fringe dance. do. not. miss - oh damn, you already have. sorry.

St. Christopher of Financial Aid
paul simon was never so funny by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
this was the only show today (second saturday) i liked more than three kitties - you can tell the fringe is winding down, i've seen all the a-list stuff and there just don't seem to be that many surprises further down the list. this, however, was a delight. an attractive character, cool concept, great acting, an audience participation intermission dance (if kehoe is not or has not been an elementary school teacher he's missed his day job calling), and hilarious usage of paul simon's oeuvre made this an hour well spent in good company.

Ballad of the Pale Fisherman
wow! by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
this was the last show i saw, at 7:00, and i liked it so very, very much that i didn't want to see anything after it. (i'd seen most of the encore shows and didn't want to risk seeing something that wouldn't be this good - i wanted to end my fringe on the highest note possible.) this was stunning - seven people, one accordion, an empty stage with one chair, and a complete theatrical experience. in my opinion this was the most perfectly staged show in the fringe.

Two Truths and a Lie
underappreciated by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
this show was so good, a great concept entertainingly, cleverly and theatrically realized. a great twist on the story telling show. i loved it, and can't believe only 12 people before me reviewed it - if the number of reviews are proportional to attendance, that's a really shame because these guys were easily much better than many of the shows i saw with bigger audiences. a

Underneath the Lintel
6 kitties! no, 7! how 'bout 8...? by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
my saturday had been a bust, nothing above three kitties except for "st. christopher" (which was great), so this was a fabulous, renew-my-faith-in-fringe start to sunday. this brilliantly written tale about an obsessive compulsive librarian who gets hooked on the myth of the wandering jew was a magical, funny, transporting hour of theatre. and pat o'brien would get all my votes for the best actor in the fringe. i think this was my favorite overall show.

Thinkingaview / CorresponDance
do. not. miss. this. show. by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
an exciting and amusing hour of dance. the live music - some original, all excellent - very well-performed is a big plus, and the choreography and performances are top notch. i particularly liked the three duets to "at last" - before the show, a die is rolled to determined who is dancing with whom, so you see the same choreography performed three times with three different couples (my night was male/male, male/female, and female/female); the result was revelatory. do. not. miss. this. show.

seasoned duo do it (duet?) again by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
a post-modern, deconstructionist, meta-choreographed, and self-referential performance that is by far the wittiest and brainiest dance show in the fringe. i especially loved their piece performed to the lecture about the well-sampled "amen beat". and the closing improvised song and dance opens a window on this talented pair's creative process. do. not. miss. this. show.

great script, well performed by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
if, like me, you really like mike fotis, you won't miss this. even his misses are better than a lot of hits, and this is no miss. the writing is fresh and irreverent, and the performances nail every last joked, nuanced or not. i particularly liked the i'm-wearing-the-blonde-wig-so-i'm-the-judge bit. and hey, fotis, seriously, have you considered a career as a drag queen...? do. not. miss. this. show.

A Nice Guy's Guide to Awkward Sex
hard to do - very well done by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
it's hard to perform stand up. it's hard to write comedy. it's hard to act comedy. it's hard to construct a well-structured play. this show does it all. maybe the best thing i've seen so far. do. not. miss. this. show.

Taiko BAM!
do. not. miss. this. show. by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
powerful, beautiful, delicate - this is a fabulous show. i'd never seen taiko before, and what struck me was how much choreography plays a part - not surprisingly, the movement is as important as the music. the addition of guitar and bass and rap are unnecessary attempts to moderize this ancient art form, but the intrusions are brief enough and the rest so overwhelmingly wonderful that i couldn't deduct a kitty. probably the most enthusiastically received show i've seen.

nautilus - what else do you need? by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
i have never seen a bad nautilus music theatre show, either in the fringe or elsewhere (their "man of la mancha" was revelatory), and this is no exception. i don't know if the main character was on book because of memory, material (he easily has more than the other two combined), or lack of time (perhaps he was a replacement or late addition to the cast), but i thought he transcended the limitation admirably. very well written, composed, and performed, this show is probably more folk opera than musical theatre, but utterly accessible (if the o-word is scary to you, ne'er fear). anyone serious about musical theatre should. not. miss. this. show.

The Princeton Seventh
great play spot on performed by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
i saw this in 2005 and the addition of richard ooms to the cast makes it even better. it's one of those plays the end of which sets your mind spinning about all the interconnections that now make sense in a delightfully whimsical way. i never miss anything with alex and ari. neither should you.

An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein
shel would be proud by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
i had no idea shel silverstein had written theatre, and according to one of the cast members this was first performed in 2002, meaning that perhaps this piece was discovered in the stacks somewhere. it's reminiscent of jules feiffer's work, urban and off-kilter and more than a bit obsessed with how men get along with women (not a bad thing, that). very funny. winningly performed by two very talented actors.

Bite Me Twilight
delightful by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
yeah, sure, probably not as good as last year, but then there was the shock of the new, and even without that this is a wonderful hour of theatre. reed is such an attractive, winning, imaginative, completely committed performer that i imagine any time spent watching him can't help but be rewarding. of course you're going to see this (aren't you?). by the way, i've read none of the books and seen none of the movies, and my daughter (a "twi-hard") only had to explain two or three big jokes to me.

Mike & Matt
twice the fotis fun by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
this show deserves more overall kitties and bigger audiences. matt is a fine storyteller with a funny story to tell, and his use of cups and glasses to differentiate the various characters in a crowded dining scene is brilliant. my only disappointment was that the two-year-old "baby sotis" didn't toddle onstage for a curtain call. mike is great, so much incredible narrative energy that if he didn't sit at the table and read - tried to act it out instead - he'd probably implode. try to squeeze this one in if you can.

Trouble in Tahiti
early bernstein, excellent show by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
this was written in 1952, with only "on the town" preceeding it as a major musical theatre work. it is charming, funny, sad, serious, winsome, sarcastic, and silly. lenny was nothing if not a populist as well as a first class contemporary american composer, and "tahiti" is his first stab at popular serious operatic music. this production has stellar singing and freshly brilliant staging. try not to miss this one if at all possible. (and my colleague is correct - the piano is sometimes too loud.)

QUAKE: A Closet Love Story
our cup runneth over... by mark browning milner
Rating: 5 kitties
this show contains a lot of different elements - disaster movie homage, breakup soap operatics, earthquake facts and figures (delivered by bic lighter light, no less), a samuel-beckettian concept, goofy wordplay, an a cappella duet concert (well sung, with hip arrangements and tips of the vocalizing hat to the bobs and bobby mcferrin), and *glory be!* an honest-to-god set! and it emphatically adds up to way, way more than the sum of its parts. two more performances to go - do yourself a favor and catch one.

Flops! A New Musical Revue
musicals devotee = love this show by mark browning milner
Rating: 4 kitties
this well-sung, nicely organized revue, with a cute "plot" to give a framework to the parade of material, is for anyone who has more than a passing interest in musical theatre. (if you only go to the ordway and have never been to new york, this may not be your cup of esoteric tea. me, i loved it.) i came away with three thoughts: 1) some great material has been lost in loser shows, 2) john kander and fred ebb (represented by two songs herein, and their last show [ebb passed away two years ago] "the scottsboro boys" is currently playing at the guthrie) couldn't write a bad song if their lives depended on it, and 3) i hope both "13" and "(title of show)" have cast albums. if any of the above makes sense to you - you know who you are - see the show.

You/Provoke/Me (Again)
thought provoking dance with a big payof by mark browning milner
Rating: 4 kitties
i liked each of the three dances in this performance better than the one before it, with the third offering, spoofing religion and politics and sex and country dance (!) making all that came before worth the wait. it's all well-choreographed and well-performed, but the first two are a little more serious (difficult music, intense acting) than i like. the last number, however, is a delight.

The Lonely Visitors
a winning if slightly uneven performance by mark browning milner
Rating: 4 kitties
this troupe seems a bit younger than some others in the fringe, and they aren't as polished as their peers, but they have great ideas and enthusiastically perform them. i particularly liked the motifs of the chairs and the costuming changes.

The Tragedy of Icarus
read the program before the show! by mark browning milner
Rating: 4 kitties
the backstory to this brief (35 min.) but very compelling piece makes the performance exponentially more resonant. larson is a stunning singer, an excellent actor, and an adequate guitarist. i admire his bravery for confronting his loss through his art, and i wasn't alone in my tears at curtain. the most moving show i've seen thus far.

ONEymoon (A Honeymoon for One)
she's cute as a bug... by mark browning milner
Rating: 4 kitties
...i can see why she'd want to marry herself. a good script, very winning performance, and fun audience interplay/participation make this *the* show for anyone who is married, has been married, wants to be married, knows someone who's married...

The Big Four Oh: 40 Jokes, Poems and Stories by Brian Beatty
wonderfully askew by mark browning milner
Rating: 4 kitties
i enjoyed this one very, very much. funny stories, hilarious poems, goofy observations, and the driest delivery this side of steven wright. *plus* the best bear costume of the fringe. one show to go - try and squeeze mr. beatty into your saturday schedule.

The Jack Chick Plays
am i going to hell? by mark browning milner
Rating: 4 kitties
i liked this very much, and i'm thrilled to have a complete set of the scripts... even though they didn't mock the text (mostly they just put the words as written up on the stage - and i really appreciate at least the one deletion they made, in "doom town"), i felt occasionally guilty laughing at this stuff. evangelicals can be idiots, but they honestly believe this nonsense, and sometimes it felt a bit odd laughing at it, laughable though it may be. i guess what i'm saying is that this show made me think more than i thought it would. and, as an agnostic, i really really hope jack chick's cosmology is not correct...

ridden a bike? - see this show by mark browning milner
Rating: 4 kitties
charming, idiosyncratic, utterly winning. somewhat reminiscent of laurie anderson's theatre works. i caught the first performance, and some opening bobbles i'm certain have been ironed out. i thought the alice londonderry section was just a tad too long, but the section about your first bike ride without training wheels was universally resonant.

The Damn Audition
great acting saves the day by mark browning milner
Rating: 4 kitties
not the best written scrimshaw show i've ever seen (although there are plenty of laughs), but each of the five performances is so spot on that every single moment in this play is successfully sold.

amy we love you! by mark browning milner
Rating: 4 kitties
it's such an unhappy story told here, why do we keep laughing so much? amy is an extremely gifted story teller, and jim matches her note for note. (as a curiosity note, this performance featured the first tech glitch i'd seen in the festival - amy had to call for lights after a blackout - which demonstrates what a terrific job the techies do...i had to see 32 shows before a snafu. good job!) you'll want to wrap amy up, put her in your pocket, and take her around and introduce her to every available nice guy you know. she deserves it - and you should see her show. me, i'm planning a trip to the twine...

Fruitcake-Ten Commandments from the Psych Ward
a fun hour by mark browning milner
Rating: 4 kitties
rob reads his reviews, and so we had a vote at our show to decide if god should have a female jamaican accent (as recorded and complained about in other reviews - although we were assured the technical issues had been solved) or rob's brit voice - we went full rasta. rob has been the only performer i've seen to interact with, do jokes about (what *is* the sign for "fisting"?), and acknowledge his translator. this is a welcoming, interactive, very funny show.

The Bush Monologues
the bush show to see by mark browning milner
Rating: 4 kitties
(*not* "shrubs".) this is structured as a post-2008 town hall meeting. some of it is hilariously funny, some of it falls a little flat (i could have done without the dead baby jokes). and - whoda thunk it?!? - a story about a childhood trauma actually made this diehard liberal feel sorry for dubya. the bush impression is flawless, and the concept of bush having had analysis after his second term is a potent one. and the bacon motif goes a long way towards explaining the lunacy of those eight years (actually, so does the first line...) worth the trip if you can get there before it ends - you've got two more chances as of this writing.

Zombie High School
almost missed this one by mark browning milner
Rating: 4 kitties
i was going to skip this show, the title seemed to say it all. fortunately, a woman with whom i was waiting in line for another show said the magic words - a cappella. i had no idea from the title or the capsule description that the singing group "late night menu" had created this musical as a showcase for their considerable talents. of course zombies and high school are the perfect fit, and this group written show wrings every single laugh from the concept. i especially liked how the zombies were split into two groups and how seamlessly everything high school was melded into the zombie experience. the group sings great (in a variety of combinations of the five men and four women), and i deducted one kitty for the static nature of most of the musical number staging. there's only one more show - catch it if you can.

Table 12: A Play at a Wedding
funny play, well played by mark browning milner
Rating: 4 kitties
it's an odd thing about in-the-round staging. if a director *really* knows what he or she is doing and has lots of experience with the format, everybody in the audience thinks they have the best seat in the house. you'd think this show, with its round wedding table, would lend itself to the format well, but... we were on the wrong side. the show has been staged so that the best seats are those facing the lighting booth. a word to the wise... well crafted play, cute characters nicely acted. try to see this one before it's too late (sunday).

Waiting for Biffy
say what?!? by mark browning milner
Rating: 4 kitties
mime is the bubblegum music of the thespian arts; as the 1910 fruitgum company is to the beatles, so mime is to...well, everything theatrical, take your pick. that is to say, a guilty pleasure. sometimes "yummy yummy yummy" is exactly what we need. and mimes are so resilent. we love it when dustin hoffman pushes over the mime at the end of "tootsie", but we also love the mime's indignant recovery. these three are excellent at what they do. i liked the opening toilet paper chase, the disco soldier, and the woodstock biffy bit the best. if, like me, you've seen all the a-list shows and are looking for hidden nuggets to fill the final weekend, this would be a rewarding investment of your time.

Uncle Shelby's Traveling Treasure Trunk
sorry...just not enough by mark browning milner
Rating: 3 kitties
the humor wasn't funny enough. the non sequiturs were not absurd enough. the pathos wasn't wrenching enough. and the reality just didn't ring true. and where was the other female cast member? the musical interludes between scenes, however, were quite witty. (p.s. misspelled "resilient" in my review of "waiting for biffy". sorry 'bout that...)

Skiing on Broken Glass
a disappointment by mark browning milner
Rating: 3 kitties
i was excited about seeing this, what with all the buzz and the quantities and collective kitties of the reviews. but...i wished there were more. for the fourth performance, there were a distracting amount of bobbled lines and missed or jumped cues. (i notice that the mark above wasn't the mark onstage tonight - perhaps a replacement was learning the ropes?) some of the dramatic shifts, particularly the last one, were jarringly abrupt. suddenly the hooker's a writer? where'd that come from? sorry, didn't buy it, didn't think it had been prepared. good performances of attractive characters, but i think the dramatic arc could have used a couple more tweaks.

good enough by mark browning milner
Rating: 3 kitties
geek story telling (mostly read from a notebook), hipster music, and turn-of-the-century costuming. all the nerd obsessions proudly on display.

Finding a Fit
all women would love it by mark browning milner
Rating: 3 kitties
the musical theatre equivalent of chick lit. my partner liked it and told me every woman she knows could relate. but for me, who wears whatever's clean (and sometimes not even that criteria applies) this didn't sing. great cast, but i could think of another dozen clothing songs - tuck and patti's "high heel blues", richard thompson's "little blue number", the coasters' "shopping for clothes", eddie cochran's "pink pegged slacks", dylan's "leopard-skin pill-box hat" - off the top of my head that would have added to this short (40 min.) show. and the alternation of live keyboards and backing tracks was jarring - should have been one or the other.

Missing: the fantastical and true story of my father's disappearance and what I found when I looked for him
the story's in there somewhere by mark browning milner
Rating: 3 kitties
an attractive performer (like early shelley winters), some great physical theatre (the bit with the chair was too cool), and a surfeit of emotion (this obviously means a lot to ms. ferris). but, in the end, i was more confused than enlightened or moved. i think the story could have been somewhat more straightforwardly relayed; as it was i think a moving, heartrending tale was obfuscated in the process.

Wisdom: Part I
wanted to love it by mark browning milner
Rating: 3 kitties
jimmy's so good, but somehow this one just missed for me. and i thought about it all night, because i couldn't figure out why it didn't click. good topics, quirky observations, the usual manic delivery - maybe it was the suit... as you can see on his review page, the verdict is very, very split. but it's worth noting that for most of us less-than-five-kitties people is ready admittance that jimmy hogg is a talented guy. go catch him saturday at 1:00 and see what *you* think...

Show Goons
a split decision by mark browning milner
Rating: 3 kitties
well, let's talk about the good stuff first. fine singing (especially the tenors), cool robot costume, and wonderful work by the ninja with all his (her?) comic book interjections. less-than-good stuff = the songs, band, story, and jokes were all so-so, although a late night show with a bigger crowd might help (saturday, perhaps?). so, looking for a musical? see this before "cosmo the musical" or "shrubs" but after "untold lies", "trouble in tahiti", and "zombie high school".

Dracula's Castle
fringe 2010 r.i.p. by mark browning milner
Rating: 3 kitties
the last show that i *didn't* see - it was a great fringe!

Skinny Dipping-Not Your Mama's One Woman Show!
what *would* liza do? by mark browning milner
Rating: 3 kitties
very good acting and mediocre singing. shrum disappears into her characters, and the transformations are stunning. the writing is good, not great, and at the performance i attended the extemporaneous banter with the audience was one of the highlights.

My Mother Told Me
i liked it well enough... by mark browning milner
Rating: 3 kitties
i think this blend of story telling and dance worked pretty well, i just think the story might have been...funnier, quirkier, less obscure. i liked ben's delivery plenty, and the dance stuff was cool, and the interaction between the two made perfect sense to me. but i think there is just a better story out there waiting to be told and illustrated through dance.

KRAP-FM: The Adventures of a Radio Station Receptionist
so-so by mark browning milner
Rating: 3 kitties
this was an okay show, not the best thing i saw, not the worst, somewhere in the three-kitty middle. schommer has an attractive personality and some good ideas, the performances were fine, it just never caught fire. i spent far more painful hours at the fringe.

Grind: The Musical
talented college theatre kids by mark browning milner
Rating: 3 kitties
i'm only guessing here, but this seemed like a close-knit bunch of theatre geeks and gleeks got together and "let's-put-on-a-show!" it doesn't all work (their ambition sometimes exceeds their skills) but this is a very promising show by people from whom we will hear more.

A Sad Carousel
lots of good elements, but... by mark browning milner
Rating: 2 kitties
i'm sorry this didn't work out better than it did. interesting (if obnoxious) characters and quirky (if sometimes incoherent) story, and i liked the meta-theatre use of the interior monologues. but in the end, i was disappointed. not bad, but not really that good, either.

The Lifestyle
cliched stereotypes by mark browning milner
Rating: 2 kitties
this wasn't that funny, nor sexy, nor particularly revelatory. filled with all the usual cliches, it cheated on the climax (so to speak). the innocent couple were cute enough, though...

Alexander at Delphi
alex loses by mark browning milner
Rating: 2 kitties
an ambitious score meets an amateurish cast. alas.

Opera Bob Presents: Riders to the Sea-A One Act Opera
a real snoozer by mark browning milner
Rating: 2 kitties
this is legitimate opera, extremely well-performed. but holy moly was this endless (for me). only 40 minutes, seemed longer. i'm not a serious opera fan, and if you are you might like this as much as the others here did. fair play to just wasn't my cup of musical theatre. you'd think with a name like "opera bob" there'd be a least one smile cracked. nudity would have helped...

The Crock Pot
five kitties?! really?!? wow... by mark browning milner
Rating: 2 kitties
the director requested that if we didn't like the show not to post a review. sorry, can't do that, but in deference to her wishes i'll only address the positive. one kitty for samantha veldhouse, who was acting from an entirely different planet than the rest of the cast (and that was a good thing). one kitty for the upside down unveiling of paster ed's calendar, which was brilliant. and, if i could (but i can't), a half kitty for the virgin mary muppet.

utterly incomprehensible by mark browning milner
Rating: 1 kitty
i have absolutely no idea whatsoever what this was about, they might as well have been speaking swahili without subtitles for all the sense it made to me. absurdism without a strong philosophical backbone is just, well, absurd. one kitty for the complete and unquestioning commitment the young cast made to this nonsense.

Cosmo the Musical or How to Ruin Your Life by Having Unrealistic Expectations
maybe *after* a few cosmos... by mark browning milner
Rating: 1 kitty
my partner liked this better than i did, but i thought this show obvious, poorly written (particularly the songs), and badly structured. some of the performances are better than their material.

The 'A' Train
not much there by mark browning milner
Rating: 1 kitty

Shrubs: A Bush Musical Comedy
do. not. see. this. show. by mark browning milner
Rating: 0 kitties
why people who know absolutely nothing about musical theatre write musical theatre is beyond me. a pretty good bush impression and a winning performance by the gospel singer don't even come close to making this anything less than a painful hour. do. not. see. this. show.

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