Minnesota Fringe Festival 2011

My Fringe

Show reviews by Kenneth Hanf

Luke Comes to Life
Powerful, daring...and successful! by Kenneth Hanf
Rating: 5 kitties
A daring choice for a Fringe show. A powerfully dramatic presentation of the Gospel of Luke. A complete success. Mr. Brainard captivated me from the start and kept me that way. I'd love to say he captivated the entire audience but I couldn't tell you what they were doing because I only noticed them when he moved into the seating area in the course of his performance. He elicited a wide emotional response. I chuckled at the apostle selection (Simon the Zealot's zeal; Thomas' reluctance), teared at his presentation of the parable of the prodigal son and chills ran through me at the prediction of Peter's betrayal. Mr. Brainard's performance was flawless. His transition between segments and characters was seemless and masterful.

Taiko Blast!
A BLAST! by Kenneth Hanf
Rating: 5 kitties
The energy of the group is infectious. Maintaining that intensity at 10 p.m. and smiling the whole time? Amazing! A thundering encore to last year's Taiko BAM.

Disney Dethroned: Snowcahontas and the Tangled FrogBeast
Tom does it again! by Kenneth Hanf
Rating: 5 kitties
Another hit by Tom. If you enjoyed Parry Hotter and Bite Me, you'll love this as well. His comic ability is unmatched and he has a nice voice...and awesome abs too. Never mind that the show poked fun at racial and sexual stereotypes but plays to an almost exclusively white audience?? While there is plenty of feminist representation, why is there so little ethnic or racial diversity in the Fringe audience?

Super Spectacular!: To Opera with Love
Deserving of the encore! by Kenneth Hanf
Rating: 5 kitties
A brilliant comedic and musical production. Great voices. Great comedy. Great incorporation of a wide variety of musical styles and eras. Someone worked overtime to find the music and write the fitting lyrics. See the encore if you can.

Ballet Amore
Beautiful by Kenneth Hanf
Rating: 5 kitties
Artistic, almost flawless dance and soothing musical interlude. A brilliant production.

Balls Out!
Lots of fun by Kenneth Hanf
Rating: 5 kitties
Awesome voices and inventive numbers make this a great show. Not for the timid or conservative. I'm sure there were many red faces in the crowd especially from those who relate so well. Was a little miffed at the stereotypical end to the 'gay' number but I guess that's what's expected of us.

Longing for Qeej
Beautiful artistry by Kenneth Hanf
Rating: 4 kitties
Visually captivating. The costumes were stunning. The acrobatics were impressive from these young performers. The choreography and synchronization were fairly well executed. The music needed turned down a couple hundred decibels. The narration could have been better written for a smoother presentation of the story.

Cat
Great comedy by Kenneth Hanf
Rating: 4 kitties
Very funny production. Good voices. And Ben in tights. Very entertaining and well written. The Star Wars segue had me laughing hysterically but my partner was lost. And someone had to be thinking to incorporate all the show names. Good acting and smooth presentation.

Cedar Rapids Famous
Well done by Kenneth Hanf
Rating: 4 kitties
Very good production and great comedic relief. Funnier than I expected from previous reviews. In my experience, I prefer a show that's underrated because I am pleasantly surprised. This was one of those shows.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Dr. Jekyll
Drama & comedy by Kenneth Hanf
Rating: 4 kitties
Great twist on an old tale. And a lot of good laughs. Dr. Jekyll's naivety throughout, Polly's portrayal of her profession as a progressive business woman (the punch card was a hoot) Mary could have used some make-up changes to accent her 'change' but was overall very easy to follow the storyline progression.

How Do You See It?
Half there by Kenneth Hanf
Rating: 4 kitties
The first half was beautiful dance. The second half was more the audience reacting to the soundtrack than the dancing.

Buckets and Tap Shoes
Great energy but mixed feelings by Kenneth Hanf
Rating: 4 kitties
Great energy. The tap was great and the percussion pieces were great. The drums and bass were overwhelming during the tap. Couldn't hear the tap dancing over the instruments. Also, the instrumental numbers were unnecessary. More tap, drumming, and other percussion pieces would have been better. Rick and Andy do some awesome tap.

History Camp
Fantastic harmonizing by Kenneth Hanf
Rating: 4 kitties
Fantastic a capella performance. The singing is seemingly flawless in tune and sychronization. I admire and envy the vocal talents of these young performers. Smooth delivery. Fun and funny. The weak areas which keep this from 5 kitties are (1) the varying degrees of effort in getting into character both in accent and in mannerism and (2) the attempt to develop too many themes in too short a time making the central theme progression somewhat obscure and weak.

Nightmare Man
Intense and disturbing by Kenneth Hanf
Rating: 4 kitties
An intense and disturbing performance. Exactly what I'm guessing was intended. It is a little slow in developing and confusing in the transition between reality and dreaming hense the 4 versus 5. A more effective use of lighting might have clarified the latter. Thomas' bulging neck veins and forced voice effectively portrayed the agony of his character...but, as a singer, I cringed. Would guess there's a high quality voice there but we don't hear much of the tone quality. Madelyne's smooth, soothing voice was a welcome salve to my ears. All performers and musicians were great and, once I figured out where the story was going and my confussion subsided, I found myself hoping Jade would somehow alter the outcome.

You Only Live Forever Once
Unfortunately over-hyped by Kenneth Hanf
Rating: 3 kitties
The problem with relying too much on reviews is your expectations get raised too high. I expected to laugh hysterically. I laughed a little. Much of the dialog was hard to understand and the staging was sloppy. Maybe by design but didn't work for me. The venue didn't help. Acting was mediocre. Ryan did okay but apparently can't roll his r's (I can't either) so the word play and his back and forth with Matt didn't work well. Matt's purrformance was a bright spot.


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