Years attending Fringe: 2-4 years
35-44 years old
Favorite genre: Drama
Christopher DeVaan's reviews
The Memory Box of the Sisters Fox
Outstanding Fringe fare
THIS is what Fringe was made for. This is an incredible piece that would probably get looked over, except for two inspired performances from the lead actresses.
Boo Segersin & Kayla Feld, both of whom I have had the priviledge of working with, move & interact with absolute harmony. If you didn't know it was theater, if you didn't know that they weren't actually related, weren't actually sisters, you'd never know. In their laughter, their tears, their fighting, & their absolute care of one another, the two bring this story of these two sisters to a life that is unlike a lot of Fringe theater you are likely to see.
Solid & in Sync!
For all those who moan that there aren't enough women's roles, and GOOD women's roles at that, take a good, hard look at Raw Sugar. Because here is a show that has seven!
It has all of the middle school pre-teen to teenage angst hit on the head (and I know because I was a middle schooler at one time, & I am raising a girl right in the bracker these women are playing).
All of the characters are well-written and well-acted. This is a show with truly no "weak link". It was fun, it was hysterical at times, but it also had heart, dealing with true nature of friendships & team spirit.
See this show & you'll be gasping a Joey Lawrence "Whoa"!
It Can't Happen Here
Intense, and plausible! Yikes!
This play reminded me of everything I love about the musical, "Cabaret!", and probably resonated with a lot of people for one very specific reason: like in Germany some 70, 80 years ago, the most horrifying occupation didn't come from outside, it came from within.
What struck me is that this piece focused on near Civil War times, with a small Vermont newspaper that strives to keep the press & the country free as a charismatic, despotic President begins to take over the good ol' U.S. of A.
It was so well acted: everyone fit their parts, even those who played multiple parts.
In a Fringe full of #45 parodies, this was a piece that was scarily appropriate.
Brave, brave, brave! Bravo!
It's been a couple years since this show came across my radar. A friend of mine assisted the creation of it, and I finally got the chance to see it!
I am so very proud to call this brave young woman, Nikki, a friend. Her story of labeling, bias, and constant struggle against her own body, since birth, really, is nothing short of amazing. How can you complain about little things in life, when there are people who struggle to breathe, walk, and even just stand up straight?
There were some points where the monologuing to the audience could have been cut shorter, but the message is an important one.
While I have not seen this as its one-woman show origin, I really enjoyed the cast of characters, especially young Nikki.
Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant: A New Musical
Simply hilarious and stunning!
How often is it you have a sold-out crowd laughing and cheering throughout the entire hour of a Fringe show? Well, that is what happened Friday night at Mixed Blood. Not even "Gilligan's Island" in the same space the year before had everyone in stitches the entire time.
But this musical about four 20-something underachievers who attempt to capture some long-lost importance by recreating a pageant from their youth, has witty lyrics, dead-on timing, and fantastic acting & singing. It's Glee, plus Dazed & Confused, plus Toddlers in Tiaras.
The only complaint is that at times the audience was laughing so long & hard, that lines got missed.
Would love to see a full-length version of this. It's Chanhassen or Ordway worthy.
RomCom-Con: A Meet-Cute Musical
Sweet & endearing
If you loved last year's "Gilligan", and I did, beware that this year's offering is not on that level. Instead of parodying one sitcom, the team takes on the whole Rom-com genre.
It has great puns, & good characters (why does the creep ex-bf get so much stage time?). I found myself, as maybe in other rom-coms, rooting for the cute supporting couple. They were nerd-riffic & adorable.
Erin Kennedy's final, empassioned monologue was sublime! The punny names for all the RomComCom "exhibits" were hysterical, and the cast delivered all the puns on point.
The singing was not good. Maybe should have JUST kept it a comedy.
Fearless Comedy does Horror?
Yes, that's right, Fearless COMEDY Productions has a horror stage show, & pulled it off. It started off a little sluggishly, but soon we were lost in this eerie Scotland bog as characters began to die & disappear.
Not that you needed a reason to begin with, but if you see a well, don't look in it, don't go down it. Just run to the next field far, far away.
The small but mighty cast had Scottish dialects that were spot on, & that's not an easy task with Scottish. There are whole shows filled with actors who swing & miss, but these four got it the whole way through.
Lana Rosario was particularly good as Kate, and the show, which clocked in at about 43 minutes, finishes with a chill you can't easily get with live theater.
The Second Banana Revolt!
A very funny, heartwarming, powerful piece wrapped in something that looks like Captain Kangaroo meets Star Trek.
Solid performances from the cast, with an outstanding lead actress performance!
The songs are inventive & imaginitive, & the whole show moves at a fantastic moment. Save for one, overly dramatic hiccup moment, it is a whirlwind of fun!
Sometimes Fringe is simple and straightforward.
So here is this show with an ominous title, & a twisted basis: what would it look like if demons tried to conjure humans?
It is a very funny jab at millennials, & homegrown fun, too as Mama demon speaks like Francis McDormand in "Fargo".
If the show ran it's full time, it might have gotten tedious, but it is compacted at around 43 minutes.
Shout out to Nicole Laurenne as "The Human".
Inspired experimental art
I was entranced by Serpentine. Well, most of it anyway.
A poetic, Lysistrata era experimental art piece about a man who lives as a woman for a number of years was, at its outset, a little hard to follow, but then when that piece gave way to two performers' real-life stories dealing with transgender transitioning and the affect it had on them & those around them, it became more clear.
That said, I am not sure the mixture of the two really truly works, but it kept my attention & gripped my heart.
Fringe audiences, unless they worship Brecht, hate it when you don't use the time wisely you were given. Frankenstein ran around 41 minutes, but kicking up the pace, even a little, would have tightened it to about 22.
Yes, I get that they were trying to go for ominousness & that creepy sensation of foreboding, and, even through stunted dialogue, the idea began to coalesce.
There were some good performances, and good intentions. Some characters began to materialize that I found myself wanting a little more development to.
But, in the end, it was a hit & miss attempt to convey the theme "Was his creation the monster? Or Was he the monster the whole time?"
The Tragedy of Obi-Wan Kenobi
Potential, It Hqd
Yes, I am going to use that term that makes artists cringe. This show had so much potential. Lots of great performances. R2-D2 stole the first 20 minutes. Luke Skywalker was great. Princess Leia was strong. The droids were fun. Emporer Palpatine was spot on, but entered way too late in the show. The lightsaber choreography was very good.
But, if you are going to have a title role, especially THIS title role, it behooves you to have an actor who can pull it off, and this one didn't. Obi-wan's monologues sucked the energy from the Arena every time he had stage to himself, making us beg when other characters would come back out.
Maybe after some tweaking, this will be the great show it could have been.
It will fade to memory
It's an intriguing idea, and obviously one the company cares about, because they are already remounting it post-Fringe.
It's part Greek chorus Oedipus tragedy, part dance, and part The Circle.
A society with the ability to buy, sell, or trade memories must deal with the consequences and responsibilities of that technology. Partway through the piece, some interesting characters immerged. Poor Mnemosyne herself kept struggling with her headdress.
Dialogue was purposefully stilted, and at times, characters echoed others' lines, which was never made effective with volume or spacing, and therefore the effect got lost.
It's about two-thirds of a great idea, and Fringe is as good a place as any for workshopping, but it still needs work.
The Simple Mind of Dillon Magee
More interaction from script
Maybe if I knew a little more about PTSD, I would see that this script is secretly brilliant. This is a very emotional, very heartfelt story about a mother & a graduate student's attempts to get a traumatized boy to communicate. Somehow, anyhow.
As an actor, there is one thing i crave from productions I am in, and those I see, and that's interactions between characters, and when you have a 42 minute play, and maybe six minutes of dialogue between more than one actor, it's uncomfortable. Maybe that's the point, but it needs work. Kari Elizabeth Godfrey is amazing, and the AV effects jar exactly the right emotions.
With polishing, this show could be spectacular.
Thor: Jurassic Park
It's not QUITE the heavyweight sci-fi battle inferred by the title, but it IS
Good Friday: Round One
Reserved more for a Sunday.
Good Friday: Round One featured some inspired performances by Michael Hertenstein, Ellen Engelson, and good interaction between some of the characters.
The problem is the pacing, the static nature of basically no blocking, and the un-originality of a story that most everyone already knows.
I would have asked for more interaction of more than just two characters at a time. You had some good actors with good roles to play, but most were underutilized.
Earnest. but uninspiring
To be fair, I know the actress in this piece, and had already gotten prepared for what I was going to see before I saw it.
Like so much of what you see in Fringe, this had potential. It's a nice idea, but 45 minutes of back & forth about why a CEO born into privilege & wealth and treasures that wealth beyond everything else, got pretty tedious, real fast.
The "torture" was actually a lot tamer than what I had expected and comes towards the end of the piece.
The play could use some throughout, and maybe a third character to liven things up a bit.
The cast did what they could with the material they had; sometimes line delivery was a little too measured, like Iambic Pentameter.