August 08, 2010

[Long Sigh]

Blog blog blog: I have been absent and remiss of late, and I apologise. Fringe setup this year has sapped enormous amounts of time, sleep, energy, sanity, etc. from me, even relative to the already enormous time/sleep/energy/sanity/etc-sapping tendencies of Fringe setup. Plus I've been somehow attempting to write course syllabuses for the fall and finish my book. So.

In any case, I finally saw my first Fringe shows of 2010 yesterday, and I can happily recommend them both.

The first, The Friendship Experiment, is a new play by perennial Fringe theatre company Big Wow. (A few years back they won a few awards for Insomnobabble, a really fantastic piece of surreal, psychological work — and I say that as someone who is pretty cynical about surreal, psychological theatre.) TFE doesn't quite recapture those impressive highs of their early years, and in places it really seems to drag — the meta-commentary/fake improv stuff is particularly overdone — though I think this is mostly a by-product of bringing a seventy-minute play to a festival where fifty-five minutes is the norm. If you can settle yourself enough to watch for the subtleties of the two actors' performances, however, you'll be amply rewarded: there's a superb set piece halfway through in a Blackpool nightclub, and the warmth and depth of the final minutes is piercingly lovely, and very touching. Three and a half pundigrions. (Underbelly, 15:05)

The second, Sticks, Stones, Broken Bones, is shadow puppetry and — since I'm something of a puppetry connoisseur these days — a fine freaking example of same. The Montreal-based Jeff Achtem combines all the things that puppetry does best: creativity, simplicity of storytelling, and the simple delight of seeing inanimate objects brought to life. He's also got a great, clownish persona of its own, a perfect soundtrack, and is generally just a joy to watch. Five pundigrions and highly recommended. (Underbelly, 14:00)

So, same time in two weeks?

1 comment:

Dye! said...

"I'm something of a puppetry connoisseur these days"


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