Years attending Fringe: 10 years or more
65 or older years old
Lives in... Minneapolis
Favorite genre: Drama
Corrie Fiedler's reviews
Live From New York, He's A Prom Date!
A 5-star comedy?
My fringe partner and I stay away (FAR AWAY) from most Fringe Comedies. In fact, we often end up at 'yet another comedy' and wonder to ourselves 'why did we get suckered into this, yet again?' If you resonate with our feelings, give "Live from NY" a try. Great production values, a humorous and Minnesotan story. The line about the M&Ms and bottle of wine is still resonating. At the end, "Live from NY" is a one-woman, true storytelling performance. That is very funny (and sort of sad).
The Zoo Story (New Version)
A five star conundrum
Back-and-forth, back-and-forth. A 4 or a 5 star review? The acting and production values were over the top (in a good way). Though I should have thought harder about if I was really up for an Albee play in the middle of my Friday fringe schedule! At the end, the professionalism required a '5'. An extra bonus (take a look at Wikipedia): this one-act is not very often produced because of some limitations Albee put on the production before his death.
Like many others', Hannah's out-of-towner preview caught my attention. But how to describe to my fringe partner (and sister) to convince her it was a 'must see.'? I just left it at 'it is a must see'. Performance art, and very fringy (in the best sense). Creative in every way, from a fabulous and charismatic performer. Don't try for an explanation. Just go!
The Last Bombardment
Not just for horror fans
Very classy adaptation of a recent SciFi short story. The acting was superlative, with each actor playing many roles. Though a few balloons were the only props, the actors believably took us into a small town during wartime. I'm neither a SciFi nor a horror fan, but enjoyed absolutely every minute and am still thinking about the them. Topic = 5, production value = 5, personal interest = 5. A GREAT WAY to spend an hour.
MANIFESTO: An American Play
Extra star for podium efffectiveness
10 pm on Sunday night. We really debated walking to Mixed Blood to see Manifesto (especially as we passed the 'no crap on tap' bar.
We are so glad we did. This is a tough play with very young (but outstanding) actors.
Could the script be a bit tighter? Yes. Could the character transition be a bit more coherent? Yes.
Under normal conditions, I would give them 4 stars. But the theater company used their podium to passionately attempt to change society through their audience. Worthy of an extra star. And more? This is a Fringe event that DESERVES a larger audience (e.g., it belongs at Fringe).
Not just for parents!
Many of the reviews for on the relationship between parents and their son. But equally interesting is the relationship between Mom and Dad. Are secrets OK in a marriage? What amount of childrearing dissonance is OK between parents? How do married couples resolve binary disputes. The acting and script are outstanding. And lest you think it will become too didactic: at 50 minutes in, we were sitting on the edge of our chairs wondering how the tension would resolve itself.
Among my '5 star reviews', this is one of the top ones.
On The Exhale
Fabulous script and delivery
We expected a didactic presentation focusing on guns in society. Not even close! Rather it is a dramatic and thought provoking piece with several (defensible) points of view. I liked the ambiguity, both that inherent in the script and the outstanding interpretation by the actor!
The pacing was a highlight. No spoilers, but the audience is caught completely off guard near the beginning. Then at the end, the pace slows (almost too much) as one's apprehension grows. How will it end?
Whisper Into My Good Ear
Philosophical one-act, well acted
When is life not worth living? Is there a point at which loneliness, despair, physical limitations, and secrets become too much. Lawrence Ripp and Pat O'Brien articulate two different answers to this question. Though there is only conversation and no action, the acting caused me to be completely engaged. If serious drama is your thing, this is highly recommended.
Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant: A New Musical
Musical comedy = music + comedy
We like to think that we appreciate Fringe MOST for the serious drama productions. So we only went to Jefferson Township on the recommendation of a friend.
It is just fantastic: funny, great music, great acting. And did I mention funny? Really funny!
Does it need more work shopping and tightening? Yes. But it did cause us to remember that Avenue Q's path to Broadway included the NYC Fringe.
Hint: the words come fast and furious. We sat on the 2nd row, and we are glad we did.
ODD MAN OUT
The power of Fringe reviews!
Odd Man Out has very little information on the Fringe site, and we were never able to find a postcard (which is honestly the way we keep track of what performances we need, or want, to see!).
But the reviews were great, and there were lots of them. So we went to the Thursday 5:30 show.
We have seen 30 shows by now, and this is definitely in the top 5. Great acting and character portrayal. A reminder of how family issues span generations, and the role that education can play. A door into a geographical (Texas) and cultural milieu different than our own.
PHD (Po H# on Dope) to Ph.D.: How Education Saved My Life
Motivating and entertaining
Skilled story-teller and vocal artist with a compelling story and a motivating life change. Highly recommended.
Out of the Shadows
Best of Fringe 2017 ...
.. and one of our rarified list of our favorite Minneapolis Fringe shows ever. Will definitely keep an eye on Gabriel and Zenon going forward.
The Wright Stuff, or You'll Believe They Can Fly!
Andy Kraft is a physical comedy genius!
The laughs and physical pratfalls are a mile-a-minute. In fact, a bit too fast for the acoustics of most Fringe venues. I missed enough of the 'throwaway' lines to detract from my enjoyment (and sometimes understanding).
A Resister's Handbook (for holding onto optimism in shitty times)
Up the energy!
Javier is a great story teller and the topic is serious and compelling. Could use a bit more polishing in the transitions, overall message or theme, and energy. Time well spent and looking forward to Javier's performance next year.
The Memory Box of the Sisters Fox
Fringe gold for sound effects & costumes
If there were Fringe awards for best 'atmospheric' environment (props, lighting, costumes, and sound effects), Memory Box would win hands down. Especially loved the way the actors interacted with the usual 'welcome to Fringe' pre-show audio. And I always appreciated Fringe performances that send me to Wikipedia (search: Fox Sisters) for more.
The script was somewhat hard to follow at the beginning (maybe read that Wikipedia article BEFORE you go!).
Hello, I Must Be Going...
Musings on growing old
Whilst there are other Fringe shows more explicitly about the sadness often inherent in growing old, this theme was central to "Hello, I must be going". Outstanding acting by both Ari and the older Erin. Though I am one of the older Fringe goers, I didn't know much about the Marx Brothers, so some interesting history as well.
The Best of All Possible Worlds
First world problems
Mann is an outstanding story-teller and his impersonations of motivational speakers were priceless. My fringe partner (and sister) had worried that the performance would be 'just full of clichés'. And it was. When I give ratings to performances such as this, I sometimes wish I had two axes (that looks terrible, I mean the plural of axis, not the wood cutting tool): technical merit = 5; my personal interest in topic = 2. I'll round up and give it a 4.
The Ballad of Bearclaw Jones
Bearclaw was not on our radar at all until the great reviews started pouring in. College performers portraying (overly?) silly script. Excellent comic acting. We especially liked how Bearclaw's high-jinx provided motivation and direction for the kids.
Much Ado About Nothing (as told by Dogberry and Verges)
What a blast!
I find that my contemporaries (baby boomers) tend to be far more aware of Shakespeare's oeuvre than I am. The stars are for creativity and great acting. I wish I had read Cliff's Notes beforehand, since much of the story and my appreciation of it were lost on me.
Life-changing experience for actors!
A little too black-and-white for my tastes. Most situations have more shades of grey. Though I realize that is probably necessary for a play written to be produced by University and HS students.
I would typically rate this a 3. The extra star was for the fabulous experience this provided to the actors, and to any other HS student who was able to see it.
Quality & Creativity = 5; fell asleep
Very high quality storytelling .... definitely felt as though I was listening to a master storyteller: the flow was perfect. And his stories were extremely creative. Though Ben, you may want to consult with a tech specialist to bring your comedian robot description up to date ... it sounded like a robot from the 1980s with computational abilities of the 2020s!
Like other reviewers, I learned that spec fiction is a thing by attending this performance. And a thing that I learned that I don't enjoy much.
FUNKiN' Good Time
This was my requisite dance performance for 2017. Lots of fun, lots of energy, and some top rate individual performances. The team member diversity was such an upper. As other reviewers have noted: all colors and body types. The individual performances were stronger than those done as a group. Synchronicity can be sharpened up.
Moving and personal story
Nikki and her supporting cast did a great job of portraying her challenges and how she overcame them. Some aspects seemed a bit simplistic (many health care providers asking for her medical history without sensitivity to the fact that she was adopted), but a motivating story of overcoming all odds.
There Ain't No More!
Manic performance art
Definitely a case of misplaced expectations. The actors have been such personable and relaxed fixtures around Fringe this year. In contrast, the show is somewhat disjointed manic activity and humor (think Robin Williams) with a bit of singing. A very creative work, though I feel I missed the big picture.
Themselves They Made Immaculate: Clara Barton at Andersonville
Much more than tedious education
I expected to be educated about the conditions at Andersonville, and I was. I didn't expect to be completely engaged from beginning to end. I appreciated the 'read' (rather than acted) style. The setting was a congressional hearing - and both Barton and the Congressman seemed believable in this setting. The acting (especially that of the congressman) was perfect. Facial expressions and notations helped us understand his objectives in his lines of questioning.
I also appreciated the program notes - they give good perspective to both Barton's objectives as well as those of the congressman.
Contemporary script, written in 1921
The nearly 100-year old script felt contemporary! Joe was outstanding from the initial twitches on. Nora and the production could use some character sharpening. While her motivation was clear, it was hard to find empathy for her hopelessness.
It Can't Happen Here
Wondering about Lewis' book?
Sinclair Lewis' book has been getting lots of press since November. While I haven't read the book, I had hoped to get an understanding through the play. And I did! Feels like lots of Lewis' content is compressed into the 50 minute play (causing a some confusion), but the message comes across loud and clear. Kudos to the woman playing the president and (especially) to his aide.
The Banana Wars
Yes to 'educational and witty'
We enjoyed every minute of Banana Wars and will continue looking for Derek's work and story telling in future Fringes and just 'around town.' Wish the flow and transitions would have been sharper (still wondering about the Iraq segue).
The Legend of the Storm and I
Cool trivia & unrealized potential
We attended the first show and we hope the audience grows. Bob and his story deserve a broader audience. And Fringe needs more shows like this! I had a very vague memory of hearing about the Armistice Day storm of 1940. But Bob talked us through the meteorological reasons for the storm and some crazy interesting related facts. [Who knew that Delicious Apples ere cultivated in Iowa, and that the Iowa apple industry was lost in that 1940 storm]. In fact, I spent some time in Wikipedia afterwards learning more about the storm and its wide impact. Bob is a good storyteller. I wish there were some photos to guide my attention. Also a bit more about the storm and maybe a few fewer personal anecdotes would have tightened the experience.
The Simple Mind of Dillon Magee
Solid work, could be much more
The use of video and sound effects was exceptional and my first thoughts were "this is going to be a great piece of theater." When the initial video ended, my engagement decreased. The story and character development could have use some more work-shopping to hold my interest beyond the great start. Bottom line: extremely interesting story that deserves stronger development.
5star idea, 3star execution
I'm having a hard time rating Patriot/Traitor. Was I engaged? Yes. Was the script complex and creative? Yes.
However, didactic exposition sometimes served as acting. It seemed unlikely that real people would talk about complex ideas in such a way. Similarly, I wish the two sides would have been more deeply drawn (other reviewers noted that it seemed repetitive: the same ideas over and over).
An intellectual and deep musing
When I see a complex play for the first time, I often go to Wikipedia to understand the theme, characters, and general flow. I wish I could have done that for One Foot. In fact, my sister and I are still arguing about some of the facts of the play (how did Finn's wife die and how was she buried). Without understanding the facts, I found it hard to stay 'tuned in' and understand the symbolism and theme.
There were two underlying issues. First, others have commented on the great accents. I had a really hard time deciphering them. Second, we were sitting in the third row, and found it hard to see the action that occurred on the stage floor (and lots of action happens there). More audience oriented stage design could have helped.
Death in Yosemite: A comedic adaptation of the Non-Fiction Book
Darwin Awards at Yosemite
Yes, it really is based on true stories of deaths at Yosemite. And yes, it really is a comedy. After many years of experience, we usually find Fringe comedies 'too silly' for our tastes.
However, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. None-the-less, the script had the feeling of "Oh, crap, we were selected for Fringe and have two weeks to put something together". Strengths: physical acting, story selection, over-arching idea (the "spirit(s) of Yosemite"). Weaknesses: hard to separate stories?, quite a bit of filler. All in all needs some tightening.
Clutter, Chaos, Creativity and the Collyer Brothers
Many reviewers have called the show 'scattered'. And, yes, it was.
But only this morning did I reflect on the big picture. Judith had packed her show full of stories, anecdotes, descriptions of 'stuff' (aka junk), and more, and more. Just as disposaphobics pack their homes full of 'stuff' that someday may have a purpose. So, if you are comfortable entering a disposaphobic's space, then this show may feel perfect. For me, though, it was scattered!
If you live with a disposaphobic, this show may give some good insight into: "what in the world they are thinking when they save a plastic sack full of packing popcorn, or ...."
Broad Sex in the Twin Cities
Great young troupe
We got some good laughs from Broad Sex. Creative and (very) well designed script. As other reviews have noted, it wouldn't take much to make your theme a bit more interesting to those in older age groups, while retaining the humor and relevance.
A textbook or a Fringe performance?
I resonated with a previous reviewer's comment: this felt more like a documentary than a Fringe performance. Though I would state it differently: this felt more like a passage from a textbook in a university class about 'social work with our aging population and their children'
Did I enjoy it? No, not so much. But then I don't take classes about that topic either.
At the end of the day, Fringe is not juried, so why not a chapter from a textbook!!?? Not my cup of tea, though the elderly man's acting was fantastic.
Reasonable minds can differ
A Pickle idn't hit either my script or acting appreciation - nor my funny - bones. On the surface, the topic is light-weight: pickles at the State Fair. Doris does give us some insight into the bigger picture: appreciation for top rate preparation of food from less 'state fair traditional' sources. Like so many things in life, the situation is more complex than it appears. The 'I'm right and they are wrong' attitude didn't play well with this audience member.
Mayor Lear of Townsville
I came into this more knowledgeable about Shakespeare than about the Powderpuff girls. I thought a basic grip of the King Lear arc would carry me through. Not so much. I was mostly baffled. Hard to tell if the acting was purposely cheesy, or just poor acting?
The New Gig Economy, A Musical
What a great idea and perspective! I especially liked the 'baby boomer' impact of the gig economy. Execution needs more practice.
Wellstone: A Minnesotan Musical
Two shows in one?
The first 75% of the show is a musical about Paul and Sheila Wellstone. The remainder is about 'the rest of the timeline' with a focus on the US politics surrounding the Iraq war, and segueing into the Trump era.
I acknowledge that most reviewers resonated with the performance, I didn't. Where was Paul's energy? Why did Hillary play such a strong role and is the Lewinsky situation relevant to the Wellstone story? My reaction was a big 'huh?'.
Honestly, I enjoyed the reciting of the post-Wellstone timeline more than the musical.
A Mermaid Abroad & A Fish Out of Water
Boring? Or just not our style?
We are Ariel fans (in fact, had dinner at Dilla's this evening, in memory of a line from one of her earlier Fringe productions).
Has she left behind her tumultuous youth, and now lives a life like most of us? In short, I think most groups of 25+ year old folks could come up with sharper, funnier stories with deeper learning embedded.
Another baby boomer: an alternate view
I'm tempted to write a white guilt review of what we heard - and reinforced - about the 1960 (and up to the present day). But that isn't what I experienced.
Good news: Four storytellers .... all with solid skills.
Not my style: Unconnected stories (across time and space), somewhat self indulgent (we all have great learnings from the last 55 years), a little difficulty adapting to the Arena format (we were seeing the back of performers too often).
Tough reviews are tough to write
There is the core of a great idea here, though it was tough to sort out what production aspects (such as the Person's lack of expressed emotion) were intentional and what needed further work. I wish the focus would have been more on thoughts and ideas, and less on (as another reviewer call it), the explicit torture porn. Without 'spoilers' it suffices to say that the character's conversion and double-crossing seem to come from no-where. I'd be interested to see where this idea could go with a tighter script, increase in the Person's emotional expression, and less explicit torture.
Corrie Fiedler's Queue
by Laughing Nomad Productions
by Mortimer Productions
by Willi Carlisle Productions