Fringe reviews

As an unofficial part of the 2009 London Fringe Festival, I organized a group of seven people to write opening-weekend reviews for every production. (Which has given me a whole new level of respect for Kathy Navackas and Alison Challis, who do about a million more things for the festival with fewer mistakes than I made with a much smaller group.) I posted a summary of the reviews on Theatre in London.ca earlier today.

I also wrote a few reviews on my own and wanted to hold onto them, as the Fringe forums are purged every year, so here they are for posterity.

archy and mehitabel

i wish…

if i were a cockroach
i would want to be like archy
but im not so
i want to be like jeff culbert

who else in london could be
a cat
an ant
a worm
a robin
a beetle
another cat
another cat
a poet
and a dancer

the black shire is hot
but jeff archy and mehitabel are hotter

toujours gai

[with apologies to don marquis and jeff culbert]

Magical Mystery Tour Rockumentary

Where’s the magic?

It appears I’m in a very small minority (of one?) in not particularly liking this production. The clips from the film make it pretty clear why it’s only got 5.8 stars on IMDb, and don’t do more than interrupt the flow of the concert. (And don’t be confused, this is a concert, there’s no story or context for any of the music.) The music’s played well enough, but the only performers who seemed to have any sort of energy or sense of fun were Yuri (“Paul”), both flautists, and one of the sax players. The whole thing came off to me as safe, over-rehearsed and passionless.

They got a standing ovation, though, so maybe it’s just me.

A MOST Unimportant Criminal

I liked it… I’m not sure I *got* it, but I liked it

At the end of the show I turned to my viewing companions and said “I have to meet Colette Nichol, because I need to find out how someone writes something like that.” Haven’t done so yet, as far as I know—funny how simple black eye makeup and a beret can change someone’s appearance so completely—but there are still two days left in the Fringe, right? (CN: I’ll be the one in the green T-shirt. :))

[For those looking for absurdist fare after the Fringe, Bumbletea Theatre has a show called Smell Co. at TAP starting on July 15. Actually, I don’t know for a fact that it’s absurdist, but it is being performed by the playwright and group that did Twicken’s Book last year. –pej@til]

Never Swim Alone

The beach. The bay. The point.

I’ve raved about this production to anyone who will listen (and many others within earshot) since it was mounted last year. The 2009 Fringe version is even more intense—which those who saw it before may believe almost impossible—and very literally breathtaking in my case.

Funny, verbose, smart, physical, nostalgic, dark, and absolutely heartbreaking. Passionfool set an incredibly high bar with their 2008 production, and Eva Blahut, Meaghan Chenosky, Tyler Parr and Justin Peter Quesnelle have significantly raised even that standard.