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Fringy Faves

A critic-approved Fringe six-pack for your second week enjoyment

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 9, 2010
The 2010 Cincy Fringe Festival is headed toward its second and final weekend, wrapping up Saturday. If you haven't made your move yet, we're ready with some recommendations. Here are short takes on six productions still running that CityBeat reviewers have labeled "critic's picks."  

Salem! The Musical

2 Comments · Monday, June 7, 2010
Hanging somewhere in the theatrical ether, ripe as a preteen suicide in a colonial barn loft, is a hysterical musical parody of the Salem witch trials. This be not it.   

Ain't That Good News

0 Comments · Monday, June 7, 2010
It seems simple enough and therefore not unique: two performers (husband and wife duo Abigail and Shaun Bengson), two mics, a handful of instruments and an otherwise bare stage. But until you factor in the two personalities, their talents and their collective life experiences, you don't realize what a long, strange trip you're on.  

The Water Draft

2 Comments · Sunday, June 6, 2010
The Cincy Fringe Festival is an appropriate venue to raise questions about how Cincinnati or any city is managed because a lot of the people watching are likely to be sympathetic. But I also want the Fringe performances I see to be entertaining or engaging, and I'm sorry to say that 'The Water Draft,' a work by veteran avant garde artists Michael Burnham (theater) and Barbara Wolf (film), failed to entertain or engage me.   

Sophie’s Dream

2 Comments · Sunday, June 6, 2010
There is no question that Serenity Fisher has a staggering amount of talent: She plays magnificently, sings well, writes smoothly in rhyme and coins clever inversions of phrases. But this is a poorly formed and indulgent exercise that, like a Stradivarius with only one string, plays the same light note throughout.   

Harold

1 Comment · Sunday, June 6, 2010
"There's a lot of different ways to tell his story. Here's how I tell it." I felt like a kid again, sitting around a campfire with someone spinning scary stories, one on top of the other. That's what 'Harold' is all about, the third iteration of excellent Fringe shows from Four Humors Theater.  

A Short Lecture of a Different Time

0 Comments · Saturday, June 5, 2010
A year ago Karim Muasher was part of the group Giant Bird that came to the 2009 Cincy Fringe to tell the story of the 'Empire of Feathers,' a mythic world in which a quest was undertaken to find a rare bird. This time around, he's back in a solo piece to tell a "spoken-word, multi-media bedtime story" set in a more elemental, mythic world illustrated by crude Nintendo graphics and electronic audio effects.   

Safety in Numbers

1 Comment · Saturday, June 5, 2010
If movement serves as language, then the Space Movement Project, a Chicago-based modern dance collective, displays fluency in its Cincy Fringe debut. The six women dance a lot throughout the piece, and their movement vocabulary proved extensive; I recall only a few recurring motifs.   

A Night of Well-Adjusted Ladies

1 Comment · Saturday, June 5, 2010
After seven years, people who still don't totally understand what the Cincy Fringe Festival is all about should make plans to see this perfect example of what's right and fun about Fringe theater. Pound for pound, I'm not sure you can find a more accessible, charming and pee-in-your-pants-funny show this week.   

The Global Lovers

10 Comments · Saturday, June 5, 2010
In a program statement e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, the director of local poet Rhonda Pettit's 'The Global Lovers,' has written: "I wanted to create a visually compelling, sensory bombastic performance that didn't pull punches." My ever reliable Webster's Dictionary defines "bombastic" as "given to bombast" and "bombast" as "pretentious inflated speech or writing." Bingo!   

Tantric Acting at the Holiday Inn

2 Comments · Saturday, June 5, 2010
We Fringe regulars have been at the Dayton Holiday Inn before. This time around Finite Number of Monkeys Productions, who gave us 'The Success Show' last year, reveals plans for a wonderfully wacky movie that will blend a sainted American musical with Bollywood production values and cultural aims. I hate to even tell you that its name will be 'Oklahomahatma.'   

The End Is Near

1 Comment · Friday, June 4, 2010
CCM grad Casey Scott Leach offers a 45-minute set that combines a scripted stream of consciousness and rap. He rages, role-plays, reflects, observes, judges, moves offstage with an ax to chop at a log and flirts. He falls to the floor repeatedly, from which he sometimes awakes as if from a dream. Also onstage is Ben Leach, who drums and plays the banjo to accompany the poet's journey.  

Aftershock! An Event!

1 Comment · Friday, June 4, 2010
Based on a series of improvised rehearsals, the folks at Fake Bacon Productions have patched together a show that might be a little too loose to be taken seriously, while being too funny at times to dismiss entirely. It's a bit like every '70s disaster flick ('Earthquake,' 'Poseidon Adventure,' 'Towering Inferno') meets 'The Naked Gun.'  

The Finkles' Theater Show

1 Comment · Friday, June 4, 2010
This gleeful hour of stage calamities conceived by Minneapolis-based partners Ryan Lear and Rachel Petrie could become the breakout hit of the 2010 Cincy Fringe. Cleverly constructed, sharply written and hilariously performed, it's a simultaneous celebration and lampoon of all that is sacred and silly in the histrionic realm.  

Just Say Know

2 Comments · Friday, June 4, 2010
The utterly raw nature of a Fringe production can be its greatest and most exciting asset. And that can be its biggest and sometimes insurmountable challenge. In the case of 'Just Say Know,' it's a little bit of both.