Minnesota Fringe Festival 2011

My Fringe

Show reviews by Zannah Martin

Knit One, Purl the Other
Deeply Touching - A Winner by Zannah Martin
Rating: 5 kitties
A difficult concept to pull off -- our inner and outer lives - this talented troupe pulled it off. It is funny and poignant, but most of all real. Who supports us on a day to day basis? Who know all of our secrets? -- those things we regret we did as teens? Of the 9 plays seen thus far, this is my Number One. Don't miss it.

Four Clowns
Reality Side Splitting Romp by Zannah Martin
Rating: 5 kitties
A no holds barred look at life's uncomfortable moments, we laughed at them, with them, and at ourselves -- sometimes with discomfort. Isn't that what great comedy is supposed to do? Having audience participation gave a freshness to the energetic performance that made it seem that every skit was newly minted. Loved it.

Sousepaw: A Baseball Story
Not to be Missed Drama by Zannah Martin
Rating: 5 kitties
Reptile woman and drunk? Don't be misled. This is the best drama of the fringe!!! A wonderful script with superb acting. James Kennedy transports us in time, yet we know this kid. So believable. Ariana Venturi is equally talented. She delivers a character who has been knocked around all her life with empathy, rather than pathos. Don't miss this one!

Red Hamlet
Innovative & Classic Winner by Zannah Martin
Rating: 5 kitties
An extremely talented cast delivered superb Hamlet with well integrated contemporary additions, creating the most exciting Hamlet I've ever seen (and I've seen quite a few). The stagecraft was innovative. We sat in front row -- no worries when the fourth wall comes down.

YARRRH! The Lusty, Busty Pirate Musical
A Golden Treasure of Puns by Zannah Martin
Rating: 5 kitties
A rollicking romp living up to its name! Extremely versatile and talented cast to play so many unsavory characters. A laugh a second and lots of bawdy fun. Don't miss it!

Anansi, Br'er Rabbit and Other Wily Creatures
Take the Family NOW! by Zannah Martin
Rating: 5 kitties
Brilliant, energetic, captivating storytelling in its grandest tradition. Definitely for all ages and particularly fun last night to have children and grandchildren of all ages in the audience. And the moral of the story is ..... go see this show.

7 (x1) Samurai
A rare treat by Zannah Martin
Rating: 5 kitties
A rare treat to see someone of David's talent and training push his skills in all directions. Creating girth, ambition, timidity all without words is such fun to watch. Then he intersperses clippy cloppy with his fingers and we laugh out loud at the juxtaposition of mastery next to our childish play. Go see a MASTER.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Dr. Jekyll
Thought provoking twist by Zannah Martin
Rating: 5 kitties
Well acted, well paced show. It is much more than a parody of the original. It presents the themes of our secret desires and gender inequality within a well known context. Highly recommend it.

Shakespeare Xposed: The History Monologues
Shakespeare at its best by Zannah Martin
Rating: 5 kitties
Supremely talented Alan Tilson creates castles, adversaries, and companions without props or costumes. He leads us through an hour of soliloquies modulating his voice and body to suit the character so that even those not familiar with lines can understand as never before. A master at his craft. A rare treat for all Shakespeare lovers.

Losing My Religion: Confessions of a New Age Refugee
Master of characterization by Zannah Martin
Rating: 4 kitties
A wonderful satire on the commercialization of religion. We seekers could laugh at ourselves and the many teachers who have crossed our path. Well done. You won't be disappointed.

Animal FarmVille: A Friend Me, Like Me, Poke Me Musical
Energetic show by Zannah Martin
Rating: 4 kitties
Youthful exuberance and a current topic of how our electronic media affects our interpersonal relationships made this play fun. At times the piano drowned out the cast and some lines were lost, as well as some lyrics. But the music was good and the lyrics original and fun. Go see it.

The Problem (with) Your Mother's Butt
Superior Cast, excellent writing by Zannah Martin
Rating: 4 kitties
It is great fun to see two well known playwrights in one hour. "The Problem" was my favorite. A 5 star with Ari Hoptman (also wonderful in "Angelina Jolie ...) and Amy Shomshak delivering strong straight faced humor. Alan Ball's "Your Mother's Butt" was not as strong in comparison but still produced giggles. You can't go wrong with these talented actors.

Tiny Speck of History
Go for the music! by Zannah Martin
Rating: 4 kitties
Brandon York clearly is multi-talented. His songs were lyrical with a range of emotions from fast paced energy to sad ballads. Greta Jaeger starred with her trained voice and blended well on the duets. This "musical" felt like half of a Smash Hit. I missed the thread, the story, yet felt that it was almost within reach. I would LOVE for Mr. York to collaborate with a strong director and playwright. It could be amazing. Hope to see it at the Fringe 2012!

Buckets and Tap Shoes
Energy and Talent by Zannah Martin
Rating: 4 kitties
Who's got rhythm? All of this talented cast! They tapped out amazing rhythms with their feet on the floor and with sticks on buckets, on drums, on drum sticks, on poles, on the floor. In one short hour they drenched their shirts, out performing themselves with every riff. Only quibble for those of us who damaged our hearing decades ago -- the final number raised the decibels to the painful level. Glad Fringe gave you a boost in 2004.

Change Your Underwear, Change Your Life
Laugh Out Loud by Zannah Martin
Rating: 4 kitties
How Mary delivers her hilarious material with such a straight face, I'll never know. Pulling her material from our own lives, aging at that, she gives it a quarter turn and has us holding our sides and crossing our legs.

SCOTUS! (Supreme Court of the United States!)
well done by Zannah Martin
Rating: 3 kitties
Perhaps I'm spoiled by Jon Stewart and Colbert. I was hoping for a lampoon of current issues with a sharper edge. There is plenty of real stuff to laugh about these days. 5 bunnies to radio announcer Kate, who has a voice like silk.

Power Lunch
Strong arrows miss the target by Zannah Martin
Rating: 3 kitties
The cast was impressive. The delivery was fluid. The playwright was experienced. The play has been published. All elements for success, but ... too many pieces that didn't fit together. Didn't know if I was supposed to laugh or cry at transgender issues. Was that supposed to make us realize that we are all on a spectrum of sorts? The characters didn't develop but kept yelling at each other. Just didn't work for me.


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