Years attending Fringe: 5-9 years
35-44 years old
Lives in... Suburbs
Favorite genre: Comedy
Cetius d'Raven's reviews
The Wright Stuff, or You'll Believe They Can Fly!
Best Start of Fringe One Could Hope For
This show is must-see funny!
The cast all give brilliant performances and make you love each and every character. The writing is solid, well-paced, and frequently caused me to laugh out loud, which is high marks from me as I work with a comedy company myself and am therefore often a "tough crowd". While not everyone will appreciate the musical references in dialogue, I found those lines particularly amusing, and I absolutely loved the interstitial songs and how they would lead the narrative.
The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society
Visual Insight into the Audio Medium
I've been a fan of audio dramas for some time and being able to watch the (re)creation of two works is a rare treat. The performers have strong voices that are well suited to this medium and did an excellent job with the sound effects. Definitely worth experiencing, particularly if you enjoy period pieces, as they do show their age at times.
[Enter the Narrator]
Everyone is the hero of their own story. But if ever story needs a narrator, where do they come from and what's their experience? This farcical tale answers that question by breaking the fourth wall six ways from Sunday. One of the more fun uses of meta-humor I've seen.
Intermediate Physical Comedy for Advanced Beginners
Silence is Golden
A non-stop laugh riot and must see event.
I've often enjoyed kabuki and this story's mix of that and other performance in mostly darkness is visually striking and a delightful break from most Fringe fair. Check it out!
Out of the Shadows
Must See Favorite
My Fringe generally consists of picking one of the theater groups (West Bank, Uptown, Northeast) and staying there to see as many shows in a day as there are times. My Sunday was in Uptown to catch a number of friends' shows, but my 8:30 was unscheduled, so I gave this show a chance.
Best. Decision. Ever.
Gabriel's performance and story are both wonderfully executed and emotionally moving. I cannot recommend this show enough.
Fruit Flies Like a Banana: WORLD TOUR
Another Excellent Year
As a fan of last year's show, I had to go on the World Tour and am glad that I did. A very fun show!
Swords & Sorcery: The Improvised Fantasy Campaign
Fun for All, Extra for RPG Nerds
A hilarious live interpretation of what happens at the gaming table, from asking the dungeon master for help to biffing on an attack roll. Definitely worth seeing!
Death in Yosemite: A comedic adaptation of the Non-Fiction Book
PSA of Park's Darwin Award Winners
disclaimer: I have an ongoing working relationship with many involved in the production
As I am prone to laughing at tragedy brought on by personal stupidity, this show was right up my alley. This hilarious presentation of actual events that have taken place in Yosemite will amuse and educate. It did take me a minute to cut through the ranger's accent, but it only adds to the performance so I'm glad it's there, but I can see where it could be a distraction. The bears were great.
Nowhere in Glass
Well Performed Abstraction
While it is likely that this live concept album is meant to be somewhat unclear until the end (which is still arguably open to interpretation), I feel the show may have benefited from just a smidgen more exposition, which could be easily added if remounted. The cast is very talented, both vocally and in physicality (the dogs!), and I particularly enjoyed Ms. Bongiardina's lyric-less number. The individual vignettes hold together on their own and, in sequence, craft enough progression to make the story feel (mostly) complete.
Couple Fight 3: Weddings!
Funny Fights Reacted Beautifully
This was my first year of catching this series of shows about which I'd heard so much and I'm very glad I found the time. A hilarious portrayal of the trials of love, stemming from both silly and serious situations.
Per request, I relay my winners to the cast:
Davies (scheduling > free food)
Zabel (weddings aren't protest platforms)
Leeman (a good tease is always worth it)
Custer (don't mess with the bride!)
Meyer (cultural expectations be damned)
Hartke (support during a meltdown is important)
John Zeiler (another good tease)
Strong Cyrano Adaptation
A strong cast and skilled writing make this one of the better adaptations of Cyrano de Bergerac I've seen.
RomCom-Con: A Meet-Cute Musical
Fun Silly Concept Well Performed
As a convention runner and attendee, I had a good laugh at both the idea and in-world execution of a romantic-comedy convention. The show also plays to the tropes, a running in-joke itself, and elicits genuine laughs throughout.
De Hjerteløse [The Heartless]
Stunning Telling of a Norse Myth
One of my favorite shows of the year. The cast is amazing and the use of the space is superb. Definitely see this show!
Possible Best Show at Fringe
I loved this fairy tale--it was charming, funny, and well written and performed. See it if you can.
Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant: A New Musical
Best Fringe Musical 2017!
OMG funny! The entire cast was great, but Mr. Levin was particularly brilliant with Ms. Vincent close behind. Knowing analogues in real life to fit all the characters in question was an extra layer of joy and I expect most people will have a similar experience.
Moving and All Too Real
A gripping story about the emotional pains for those losing their mental facilities and requiring 24-hour care.
This play only reaffirms my personal stance that I don't want to live to infirmity.
ODD MAN OUT
Outside of the abrupt and unclear ending and occasion confusion of time (there are scenes out of chronological order that weren't as clearly indicated as I would have liked), I can find nothing negative to say about this play. It's a moving tale of a lower-class black family's trials and tribulations, particularly around the death of the (unseen) family patriarch. It dives into the truths we hide from ourselves because we've been told we should and expresses why we should not.
I chose to see this play because there was an opening in my schedule at that time and in that place and I consider myself fortunate to have seen this piece of art and hope to carry its message into my life.
Katie Versus The Devils
Enjoyable But Rushed
Jon Olson's drama draws from the grand tradition of German fairy tales but with a Lutheran spin. The characters are well defined and performed well, and the actors did a splendid job of rolling with a minor technical glitch. My petty grievance is that while the dialogue is intentionally built to include characters interrupting one another, it played too often as actors stepping on one another's lines, which left me with a final impression of being rushed. I would love to see this remounted with a longer run time.
It Can't Happen Here
A Play for Our Times
A poignant tale that's hitting too close to home to be comfortable. A worthy Fringe show, but I would now like to see the full play--I assume they had to trim it a bit for time.
Good Theater About Questionable People
A friend who also saw the show remarked afterwards to the tune of "never before have I hated two characters so much" and I share the sentiment. The play is well written and performed (outside a couple of apparent flubs that may not have been), hence the four stars, but I am not sure I can condone the content of the play. It feels like an effort to elicit sympathy for the loved ones of a rapist, which to me only seems to perpetuate rape culture. The parents attempt to find excuse after excuse to condone their (unseen) son's actions, seem unable to come to grips with the likely outcome, and are in denial of his crimes.
I'm not sure I can recommend it in good conscience, but the craft of it is sound.
disclaimer: I have a working relationship with a cast member
A dense depiction of the Tiresias myth with some (dark/uncomfortable?) artistic liberties (that are fitting of the tale), along with a few personal stories betting the subject matter. Ms. Michels and Mr. Weingartner do a wonderful job sharing the role and dialogue of the protagonist, particularly when they are both speaking the same line. Sadly, the recorded audio both overpowers and does not sync as smoothly with them. Additionally, the "summoning storyteller" sequences feel long, even if they are setting-appropriate, and the costuming was perhaps its weakest element.
It's fasted paced so one must pay full attention or risk becoming a bit confused.
A fun little show, very entertaining. My only complaint would be that some bits were so short as to barely allow the talent/humor to show.
Worth seeing if you have the time.
Compelling Story Well Told
My title is my summary. Comedy, tragedy, song...there's a bit of everything here, including some (targeted) audience interaction, which I don't feel helped the narrative though it was mildly amusing. Worth your time.
My viewing ran right up to time, so keep that if mind if you're travelling between theater groups (West Bank/Uptown/NE) rather that just theaters.
Well written and with a strong lead, this play is strong drama with some good jokes and adequate pacing. My only complaint was there were more small flubs than I'd expect by the fourth show.
Mayor Lear of Townsville
While the entire cast did an excellent job, Natalie's performances as Mojo Jojo and the Mayor were everything one could hope for as a fan of the Powerpuff Girls. A fun watch, but likely more for PPG fans than Shakespeare's.
Much Ado About Nothing (as told by Dogberry and Verges)
Enjoyable presentation of a classic. Loved the pre-show comedy setting the stage for the play itself. Well worth your time.
Fast Paced Sci-Fi
Excellent sound and set design and adequate to excellent performances by the actors.
The story itself, to me, is a treatise on the negative aspects of the binary mentality of "us vs. them" and speaks well to my inner philosopher. Allegiances among the five shift with the tide of conversation and what aspect of community is then at the fore. The pace is fast, perhaps too fast for some of the transitions to feel real.
Some may feel frustrated that this performance feels like either the first half or middle third of a story, and while I can relate (and would love to see more of this story and the universe it paints), I don't feel it harms the issue being discussed, and in fact, leaves one open to think more, which I'm sure was the intent.
Waiting for Gygax
A Delightfully Well-Crafted Mash-Up
Disclaimer: I have a working relationship with talent involved in the show
Fans of both Godot and D&D will find jokes aplenty in this comedy mash-up, and some jokes are obscure enough to prove that the writers are obviously deeply familiar with both and happy to cater to fellow super-fans of those properties. While the pacing is akin to Godot (somewhat slow), there is sufficient action and narrative to keep one's interest. I recommend giving this one a watch.
Full Metal Rabbit
Fun Fun Fun
Pure ridiculousness! Every 80's action movie cliche played for laughs, with a side of rabbits on the run, makes for a lovely, lighthearted good time. Turn off your brain and enjoy the ride.
Dick White: Ghost Detective
Simple and Enjoyable
While one could say the humor is low-brow and the acting basic at best, the performance itself is still quite entertaining. I won't call it a must see, if you need some easy laughs that don't require much thought and are not above a dick joke, check this one out.
Wellstone: A Minnesotan Musical
Fun Muscial Bio-play
A compelling slice-of-life story of our late senator. Kudos to the singers for being clearly audible in their large space--no mean feat and a rarity at Fringe.
Great Philosophical Sci-Fi
In my personal experience, finding science fiction on a stage is difficult, and finding one with a solid philosophical message is a rare treat.
Buffy the Bedbug Slayer
As a fan of the source material, I enjoyed seeing familiar characters in an unfamiliar and silly setting. Iconic costumes were recreated well (though it caused some breaking of the timeline, which bothers a pedantic like me) and Ms. Fletcher's portrayal of Buffy was particularly faithful. The star of the show, however, is unquestionably the Drumpf puppet and its...eccentric behavior. Worth seeing even if you're not a fan of the show, but more jokes will land and be punchier if you are.
An Average Fringe Musical
No real surprises or disastrous issues (beyond the frequent Fringe musical problem of hearing unmiked singers), though fewer pirate jokes than expected. The villain was the most compelling character and the protagonist was perhaps the least interesting, which I suppose is it's biggest flaw.
Playwrights on a Train
Lively Intregue, Tired Performance
While the interweaving of the story and the story within it were well written, I don't feel the execution did it justice. The acting fell a bit flat in most cases though sometimes the opposite was also true--unnecessarily exaggerated. I did enjoy the outro, as I was a fan of the referenced material in my youth.
Be Your Selfie!
Art As Awareness
This is a story about identity and authenticity, which tickles my inner philosopher. While not emotionally moving, I believe this play is a pleasant reminder that it is important to be who you are, whoever you are, and not to change yourself into who you think other people think you *should be.
Good Speculative Fiction
As a fan of speculative fiction, particularly that which is intended to make you reflect upon one's own life and behaviors, I enjoyed this show. Ben's work is thought-provoking and well written.
However, I seem to be less of a fan of his presentation than many other reviewers. Perhaps I have been spoiled by my years listening to audio dramas, but I feel the delivery failed to match the level of the written word.
We Would Not Exist Without Disco
Amusing But Confusing
Good acting and great dancing paired with a narrative that seems to intentionally leave one confused until later in the show (which is fine but was unexpected and unnecessary IMO) and sound tech levels that sometimes made dialogue hard to hear, even in the front row. This is the kind of show I expect to see in Fringe and I am glad that I did, but it won't be everyone's cup of tea.
Not My Jam
Dance isn't a medium I completely understand or truly know anything about, so perhaps I'm wrong. While the frantic energy of the mental illness character was understood, I couldn't tell if the choreography appeared intentionally sloppy or if it was simply poorly performed--I'd like to believe the former. I'm also not sure having the shrink character dance during therapy time was a choice I can get behind. It does not help I've recently seen another show in a similar vein that I found much stronger, I couldn't help but compare the two in my mind.
For those not familiar with how mental illness, particularly depression or social anxiety, can affect one's life, it's worth checking out.
Solid First Outing
disclaimer: I have a working or friend relationship with most involved in the production
I feel my rating is fair to what I saw but also a bit unjust in being three rather than four stars. I came in with high expectations, knowing as I do most of the production's cast and crew, and I think this was my downfall. While the story is a successful comedic twist on a classic horror trope, it wasn't nearly as nuanced as I had expected and the performers were subdued from what I've come to expect (notable exception in Ms. Fox). The energy I would have expected wasn't there and it left me hungry for more. Perhaps it being the last show and first thing on the second Saturday is somewhat to blame and would be understandable.
This show was pretty meh. It survived as a three star because most of the jokes landed and I enjoyed Mr. Stofer's singing, but otherwise was looking at a two star as the acting was either too weak or too overplayed (yet insufficiently hammy) and the writing simple. As a show for kids (with the adult content removed of course), this could work quite well, but this adult was bored.
disclaimer: I am acquainted with the director and a performer
There didn't seem to be much "revenge" happening here, nor did it feel like there was a "redemption". It feels more like the title character realized he'd stolen a potential "get out of jail free" card and discovered what was necessary to play it. The best message I can take away from this play is an indictment of evil men who use others as scapegoats to make their escape.
The show itself seems adequately performed and the set/props are excellent, though the sword play felt uninspired. Others have commented in regards to the pros and cons of the costumes and music choice, though I think the interstitials did have *some meaning (and I like The Pogues).
Thor: Jurassic Park
Uninspired but Mildly Entertaining
I wanted to like this, but can find few positives. The pterodactyl portrayal is excellent, they make fairly good use of the space, and I like that young thespians were given opportunity.
Sadly the jokes are tired (gay stereotyping, Thor's primary (and only?) trait is stupidity), bordering offensive (Widow's speech impediment, the aforementioned stereotyping); the script is uneven, with the best jokes being delivered off-stage; and there is over-all weak characterization. The mash-up itself offers few challenges and enhances neither source.
If you're looking to entertain young children and introduce them to theater, this show will suit your needs, otherwise you might wish to look elsewhere.
Good Friday: Round One
I Could Have Gone Home
As the show I had hoped to see in the Ritz Studio was sold out, I stayed for this Mainstage show, purely out of desire to say I attended in every time slot. I can say that was a success, but I'm not sure I can say the same for this play.
The opening/closing musician was wonderful, and the first act gave me some hope, but the final act was a bit all over the place for me. The first act had purpose and said sometime about how we look at both scripture and the world. Some of the vignettes that compose the second act came close, but nothing hit as hard, and the Hari Hari sub-sequence to Mary Magdalene felt so disjointed and out of place to pull me out of the story completely.
Trimmed down to 25-30 minutes, this could be great.
Minnesota Dance Ensemble Presents CARMEN
A Very Fringe Carmen
The adapted story played well, but unversed in dance though I am, I felt the choreography was dull (particularly for the men) and (most) dancers beginners or poor performers (the notable exception being Heidi Haukos as Micaëla). The live singer was a fun addition, but was better when singing solo rather than along with the recorded track (why not splice the male role to allow him the solo?).
Give this one a pass unless you enjoy seeing different interpretations of Carmen or are willing to set the full show to hear a few operatic numbers.
Neither Engaging Nor Moving
While the dancers themselves performed well (to my untrained eye), most of the pieces themselves did nothing for me, by which I mean did not move me emotionally. The first piece, with its repetition at ever faster pace, along with some dialogue, at least stirred some ideas. The final and longest piece...I'm not sure at all what it was, but I found it difficult to remain attentive (which, in fairness, was due in part to my own fatigue).
Perhaps someone more versed in the meanings of movement will get more out of this, but I can't give it a recommendation.
First Draft Made Flesh
The ideas and philosophies of the piece are compelling enough that if I could rate them alone, I'd give them four star, but the presentation did them no justice. The pacing was poor, some dialogue stumbling or dragging, and the acting was either wooden or clumsily exaggerated.
If you like pieces that make you stop and think about your relationship to the world, you should still check this out, but make sure you're caffeinated and focus on the ideas.
Denial of Service
No Surprises, No Passion
For a play meant to show dialogue between colleagues of differing backgrounds and perspectives, it was awfully tame. There was little passion to the arguments on either side and I feel the arguments made by the side I feel the play intends to make the antagonistic view where given too much support and were not undermined nearly as strongly as they could (and should) have been (yes, my blue politics are showing). The content is fine, but without passion, it just falls flat.
Further, I'd like to agree with another reviewer in that this play is simply a rehash of talking points presented over and over again in this debate, the only difference being in a fictional structure rather than on news channels. Not what I'd hope for in Fringe.
Adequate But Could Stand Another Draft
I strongly agree with most of the points detailed Florence Brammer's review (save that about the lighting, which I felt was only mildly effective). I, too, was confused by the character that most reviews have already dubbed "the narrator", and I think this show would be greatly improved by better addressing that identity. Perhaps greater familiarity with the source material would aid one's enjoyment--I confess I have never read the original work.
Cetius d'Raven's Queue
by Highlander Kitty
by GlowEarth Productions