Minnesota Fringe Festival 2011

My Fringe

Show reviews by Levi Morris

Disney Dethroned: Snowcahontas and the Tangled FrogBeast
Disney Is ROLLING In His Grave by Levi Morris
Rating: 5 kitties
I'm not sure if my post is even necessary...but I promised myself to post for every show I see. This show is a ridiculously hilarious spoof on the unrealistic expectation and roles that Disney Princess' deliver. From an artist whose talent transcends boundaries it was just utter joy to watch. Great commentary, great lyrics, great songs (thanks partially to Alan Menken..>:), and just so so fun. Wonderful wonderful show. See this if you want to laugh. If you're a feminist, if you love Disney, if you hate Disney, if you were always creeped out by the Disney creatures that existed... In short: everyone should probably see this. :)

7 (x1) Samurai
A REAL ARTIST!!!! by Levi Morris
Rating: 5 kitties
For about fifteen minutes after this show I couldn't articulate what I was feeling or thinking. Very few artists/companies have done this to me in my lifetime. I can see where people hesitate about the race sensitivity, but this man in trained in Leqoc...he is a clown. He is not playing a race but humility. See this show if you love to laugh. If you want to be amazed at someone who performs with NO dialogue, just movement, sounds, and a creative force that I haven't seen matched in a long time. See this show if you want your breath taken away. I still have very few words...just admiration. See this show!!!!

Balls Out!
Amazing by Levi Morris
Rating: 5 kitties
Try to see this if you can. It may sell out...so try again!! Such a hilarious and well done production. (I only wish there had been one homosexual story to represent that demographic of pubescent males.)

Green Eyes
So Emotionally Charged by Levi Morris
Rating: 5 kitties
This show (all 25 minutes of it) blew me away. From the moment I walked into the theatre, the actors were already on stage and the tension was obvious. But when the emotional journey started and these two actors built the story of this married couple, jealousy, fear, and passion I was glued to my chair. Such a REAL, powerful performance. Such great great work! Congrats. See this show if you want to see a refelction of real life and the complexities of an destructive relationship.

Twisted Apples
3.5 Actually by Levi Morris
Rating: 4 kitties
2.5 of these Kitties are for Norah Long. One of the most convincing, beautiful, and tormented portrayals I have ever seen. The final few scenes with Ms. Long were breathtaking. 1.0 Kitties for the beautiful, real and loving relationship scripted for the son and mother. See this show if you want to be blown away by the talents of Ms. Long!!! See this show if you love stories of human connection.

Super Spectacular!: To Opera with Love
Hilarious Fun by Levi Morris
Rating: 4 kitties
This show is creative, hilarious and so energetic. The two actors are great and play with the audience with such ease that it is obvious they have been doing this for awhile. Their charisma and performance is catching right from the beginning. The only issue I had with this show is the joke started to feel a little bit long and the actors seemed a little bit tired (understandably so, but I shouldn't sense it as an audience member.) Overall, this is a must see at the fringe this year. It's so so hilarious and so so well done!! Congrats on a great show!! :D

Fear Itself
Intense by Levi Morris
Rating: 4 kitties
I listed off a bunch of fringe shows and their blurbs to my best friend and she decided on this one. I am so so glad I got to see this. :) I personally adore scaring people and so watching this masterful storyteller make the audience around me jump out of their seats brought me so much joy! Even the ASL interpreter admitted to jumping out of fear at the end of the show. He knows how to bring a story to life. (And yes, I even jumped and cursed once!) Major kudos!!! Bring your loved one to this show if you want to scare the crap out of them, or see this show if you want to be entertained and frightened at the same time! Some great writers from history and a great storyteller of today!

Status Update
Real Issues!! by Levi Morris
Rating: 4 kitties
As a queer artist, I am especially interested in work that challenges and addresses serious issues. I was absolutely ecstatic to find out tonight that this was written and performed by high school students. Such great material for such young artists and such a serious issue in our world today. Even with numerical facts shared throughout, this show stays interesting because of the main story (based on Tyler Clementi) ribboned through it. This is a show for anyone that loves theatre for social change, any GLBTQIA person, or anyone who has a heart. Wonderful work to such a young group of artists!

I Love You (We're F*#cked)
3.5 Kitties Actually by Levi Morris
Rating: 4 kitties
Why are we not allowed to give half kitties on here??? So annoying. This show was full of awesome awkward, painful, and hilarious stories, melodies and moments from Kevin J Thornton. He was unpredictable, which is a great thing for an artist to be, and as a musician, he was so enjoyable. The only issue I had with the show is that it lacked real depth. So much potential and it was fully taken to the next level through vulnerability, etc. He's a great comic, I just wanted some softer moments too.

History Camp
Musical Fun by Levi Morris
Rating: 4 kitties
I'm a closet musical lover so I quietly sneaked off to see "History Camp" by myself in hopes of being pleased but not outed. And I was pleased and I'm outing myself!! It grabs you right from the start with it's tight vocals between the entire cast on the first number. Characters that you loved from History were vibrant with jokes that were accessible even if you don't remember the history completely. The show is a quick 60 minutes of fun, twists, and silly surprises. With only a few awkward transitions, some dialogue lost due to actors talking during applause or laughter, and a heterosexual Emily Dickinson...this show is still totally worth the trip to History Camp!! :)

The Sometimes Grace of Saint Simon of the Water
Intellectual Art by Levi Morris
Rating: 4 kitties
This production is filled with a gorgeous poetic text, written by Timothy Otte, weaving through religion, doubt, love, and a bit of self loathing. The direction by Ted Eschweiler allows a pace that sometimes is just a tad slow but, more often than not, delivers some breathtaking, powerful moments of stillness, and peace, or lack there of, for the character Simon (played by Matt Ouren.) Ouren's performance from the opening moment with his leg twitch increasing tempo and speed to his talking about love and masturbation captivate the mind. A few moments I did find my mind wandering, but strangely enough, when I came back to the story, Ouren was talking about the same thing. Check it out if you like intellectual theatre, a surreal quality to your art, or if you want to hear some deeply poetic text.

So Much Fun by Levi Morris
Rating: 4 kitties
I can't lie. I'm an Ex-Gay groupie. I've seen the show four times (three in Savage Umbrella's full length production, and now one at the Fringe Festival.) This show is just so much fun!! From the ridiculousness that is Patsy and Brian's relationship to the painful turn it takes, from the complex relationships twisted throughout; this show delivers laugh after laugh. I only wish there was a little bit more truth in the procedures they take to "Turn It Around" and make homosexual's straight. But go see this show if you want to laugh, if you don't mind audience participation, if you love awkwardness, sex jokes, or the painful reality of trying to turn a homosexual into a heterosexual. GO SEE THIS SHOW! :)

Highlander: The Musical!
Accessibility by Levi Morris
Rating: 3 kitties
There was a lot of campy humor in this production and really fun and silly musical numbers. The quartet of singers "Queen" members was a hilarious touch and there was no issue hearing them. The problem with this show is that a number of the jokes relied on whether you knew "Highlander" or not. And for those of us who don't...the humor was lost on us. More often than not a friend would lean over and explain jokes to me as I sat dumbfounded at the wild laughter and applause from the devote "highlander" fans. I guess I would have liked to be included in more of the jokes.

Nineteen Cows Leaving Beirut
2.5 Kitties Actually by Levi Morris
Rating: 3 kitties
I told myself I would write a review for every show I see. I can't make an exception just because I have a friend involved in this show. So here goes: The script is poorly written, and the rules of the world are introduced so late into the play that it feels uneven. It's a challenge to hear the lyrics over music amped through the house and actors not miked. BUT with that being said the enthusiasm of this cast, and the passion for the story they are telling is catching. I would have loved to have seen more of Julia, (the actress' name escapes me now) as her story felt incomplete but her performance was one of the most memorable. Overall, a show that manages to be fun and dark at the same time, reflecting a world that could exist (and maybe already does) in our education today. :)

Red Hamlet
MEMORABLE!! by Levi Morris
Rating: 3 kitties
I adored the script and concept for this adaptation of Hamlet. Seriously, that in itself is worth FIVE KITTIES! Ophelia's story: well executed with lingering questions of incest, Hamlet's mental illness vs. none, etc, the whole piece was so well written. I also really enjoyed the character portrayals. ..all but Hamlet, that is. That much yelling is NEVER necessary, especially in theatre. Use different tactics and tools, c'mon... Everytime he was on stage I started to lose portions of the story because I had to concentrate so hard on what he was yelling vs an actual emotional journey his character was taking. Regardless, you should see the show!! It packs a good punch. Just bring earplugs.

Depression Glass: A Cheery Little Play About Death and Decay
Fun and Smart by Levi Morris
Rating: 3 kitties
This show is a vaudeville entertainment broken up into four sections. The first two sections are well written, surprising and fun for everyone involved. They introduce a world that some may see as a distopia, but those who observe and listen will see a world so strikingly similar to the one we live in today. These sections pass by quickly and effectively. The second two sections are a bit clunky, are not as well written, awkward transitions, and the text gets a bit preachy. But there are still moments where we can laugh at our own humanity and pain. Special recognition should be given to John Beard whose performance felt refreshingly authentic. See this show if you are interested in dark comedy and what this world could become!!!

Too Much Self Loathing by Levi Morris
Rating: 2 kitties
I am a huge fan of solo performance artists. As an art form I find it so challenging, exciting and exhilarating. I was looking forward to this production when I read about it because the show concept is wonderful for a solo performance. This however, is not quite a solo performance (which I was able to let pass and enjoy the first few moments of the show) however, I was unfortunately let down due to so much self loathing. I adore humility and humanity in art, but it felt like all of the material stemmed from this dark place and it became exhausting to listen to after awhile. There are some adorable moments (awkward sex, humiliation at magnets, etc), and gems in her writing, but the production (being a read through vs. a standard performance)felt exhausting after an hour as an audience member.

The Trunk
Long 50 Minutes by Levi Morris
Rating: 1 kitty
I would like to apologize to the cast and crew before reviewing. I know how much work goes into a show, and your work did not go unnoticed. That being said, the writing was predictable, shallow, and poorly constructed. Adults bickering like middle schoolers about IQ's is not funny. The characters were flat, painful stereotypes, and not believable. To call this a satire is an excuse for poor writing. Satire's are commentaries on something, and this lacked any real thinking. From the moment the boy left the trunk the ending was predictable. One kitty because I think the actors are better than this (having seen one perform before), and for cute underwear. But the underwear shouldn't have been the most exciting part of the show for me. :(

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