- OTHER MEDIA
- Chloe Veltman Blog September 15, 2009
- Following the debacle that was the San Francisco Fringe "Sneak
Peek" preview soiree a few weeks ago, I didn't have high hopes for
my day of Fringeing on Sunday. I had six shows on my schedule starting
at 1pm. I figured that the only way I could get through it all was to medicate
heavily between each performance.
- So I was unimaginably thrilled to discover that not only did I not
need booze to soften each theatrical blow, but that this was probably the
best day of Fringeing I've experienced to date.
- I didn't manage to get to all six shows -- Performers Under Stress'
riff on Shakespeare's The Tempest, tempestuous(ness), went on for an hour
and a half, which meant I had to skip Hell: The Musical. But with the exception
of one production which was very, very, very bad, the other four I saw
were rather delightful. And a couple of them even approached art in places.
Here's a quick rundown of what I saw:
- 1pm, Exit Theatre -- Jesus In Montana: I felt a bit preached to by
Barry Smith's solo show about the spiritually gullible. Nevertheless, the
performer/writer puts on a slick and engaging performance full of humor
and heart. Next time someone mentions the Baha'i faith in conversation,
I will be better equipped to follow their train of thought.
- 2.30pm, The Garage @ 975 Howard -- tempestuous(ness): PUS' take on
The Tempest might be rough around the edges. But the ensemble cast attacks
Scott Baker's quite cleverly composed Wicked-meets-Rosencrantz-and-Guildenstern-are-Dead-like
script with such gusto that it's hard not to fall in love with both the
actors and the ideas. I could have done without the limp "five-minute-Tempest"
at the end of the performance. But I'll listen to Shakespeare's sonnets
intoned by a middle-aged actor with a passion that belies his speech impediment
- 5.30pm, Exit Theatre -- The Tao of Everest: Obviously the lack of oxygen
at the top of Mount Everest has killed a few of British mountaineer Ian
Woodall's brain cells. What on earth makes him think he can put on a play?
His self-adulatory presentation (featuring slides, badly edited pop music
interludes and lots of arm flailing and pontification) about the Challenges
of Reaching the Top is one of the most embarrassingly turgid experiences
I've ever had in a theatre. The climber also completely fails to acknowledge
the controversy surrounding his career, which has been well-documented
in the UK press. I blogged about the decision to include Woodall's show
in this years Fringe lineup here.
- 7pm, The Climate Theater -- Legs and All: Sparks fly when the brilliant
physical comedienne Summer Shapiro (pictured) teams up with equally-talented
clown Peter Musante for a bittersweet and hilarious show about the delicate
negotiations that go on between two people embarking upon a romantic relationship.
Brandi Brandes' live percussion playing adds an extra layer of quirk to
the pair's lively and often surreal physical escapades.
- 8.30pm, The Climate Theater -- Show No Show: Climate (and former Cirque
du Soleil) stalwart John Gilkey plays an over-the-top comedy club-type
MC in a performance that is part stand-up-comedy situation comedy and part
off-the-wall farce. Joined by his downbeat colleagues in clowning Donny
Divanian and Alec Jones-Trujillo, Gilkey weaves a face-achingly funny tale
of three comedians striving to get it right.
- The San Francisco Fringe Festival continues through September 20. Tickets