I have to take the Fringe in careful doses.
For years, I reviewed plays for SEE. That meant being assigned to a venue (lucky if there are soft seats, luckier if there’s a concession) ALL DAY for the first two days of the festival in order to get all of the shows reviewed for the Fringe special edition on Monday.
I would see 12-15 shows in two days, and these are 12-15 hour days. Sometimes I would be sent to other venues to fill in for other writers with more sensible lives. I would look over my notes every night and write 100 word reviews for each play the next morning. At $25 a pop, the money wasn’t bad (overlooking what the hourly rate would be), but by the end of the weekend, I’d be angry– physically angry!– if I had to see a bad play.
There were certainly very, very bad plays. One was a Christian youth group who did an anti-suicide play that appeared to argue for the opposite. Or any play about women’s body issues–one ended with the performers in nude body stockings! Geez, if you accept your bodies so much, show flesh. Painfully un-funny sketch comedy. Period dramas with bad accents. The very last play I ever reviewed started at 11:30 p.m.: an hour and a half of Broadway show tunes. I almost lost it.
Anyhow, that’s why I only saw my first play last night. It’s a first play that premiered at Loud N Queer, revamped by Trevor Anderson and performed by Annie Dugan, John Ullyatt, and Ryan Parker, several of whom are friends.
You’ve probably heard, but this is the gay Jesus puppet show. You probably can’t help but come up with something to look at with that concept, and though there are some rough moments, the entirety of the project was highly entertaining. I made Trevor watch Passion of the Christ and Lost in La Mancha for inspiration, and it looks like he’s made good with it. There are a lot of really funny jokes (and at one point, John flubbed a line, making an off-the-cuff funniest joke ever!) and there was an excellent use of the puppets. Most of the transitions between scenes was simply loud screaming as the lights went down, an excellent choice. Very Trevor Anderson.
There’s only one show left, tonight at 5:30. They’ve been close to selling out each night! I’m sitting in the Journal tent this afternoon from 3-6, then another friend’s play, See Bob Run. Looking forward to that one, too!