Is Capital Fringe too expensive? Is it too hot? We'll return to these crucial questions in a bit, but first: review bonanza. This weekend, our critics saw:
Pro: “Morrison rides a fine line between emotion and composure as she tells her tales; she’s good company.”
Con: “Morrison’s not a great singer, and she knows it.”
Pro: “Noble portrays an older [Stanley Ann] Dunham with grace and wisdom, as she worries about the values she has instilled in her children.”
Con: “Stanley Ann” “could use some trimming of the numerous monologues dedicated to finding one’s place in the world and railing at the injustice of Indonesian politics.
Pro: “The score, by David Eric Davis, rocks the house with nearly every song and is aided by the cast’s uniformly excellent voices.”
Con: “The acoustics in Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s rehearsal hall often mean it’s difficult to make out the lyrics.”
Pro: “Rock-solid Fringe show. . . . It’s unapologetic agitprop and compelling drama.”
Con: Nothing. Nelson Pressley has only positive things to say.
Pro: “More than lust, Barnett’s silent comedy is about reversing the gaze, a hyper-analyzed art-historical concept.”
Con: “The concept is clever . . . but begins to wear thin after several rounds of museum visitors have passed through.”
Pro: “The play is high-minded mockery, and it’s directed gleefully by Kerri Rambow.”
Con: “At times, it’s almost too dense and quick; Merino gives you a lot of social science to sort through amid all the gags.”
Pro: “Some theatergoers reveled in the pantomime, twirling hands and shaking heads.”
Con: “Fans of merely observational performances might find the whole thing tiresome.”
Pro: “The show has firm ideas about that tricky final speech of Kate’s.”
Con: “It’s kind of a raw 70 minutes.”
— No shows today, folks. Instead, there’s a panel discussion on arts criticism with some of the City Paper’s Fringe & Purge crew. Disgruntled actors and directors are welcome to air their grievances in the open discussion portion of the evening.
— Playwright Rich Byrne tackles the annual complaint about the price of Fringe tickets, which can be a barrier to people who just want to check out a show or two. He thinks Fringe is doing something right with the Gypsy Tent: “To pick on one particular instance, you have an awesome space like Artisphere with a cafe that doesn’t stay open long enough to have a drink or kibbitz after a show. That’s a lost opportunity. And a way we can learn from what Fringe does right. Not just creating art, but creating a fun and exciting and vital space around the art.”
— Some stay-cool tips for the hot week ahead: Banished Productions’ Twitter account tells me to carry ice packs to the more tropical venues, which become a “personal AC.” Good call. And Tom Tiding from the show “Twisted” writes to me about his low-tech air-conditioning efforts for his show in the super-hot Gypsy Tent: He’s turned his programs into fans and is offering free bottled water with greeting-card sayings printed on the label.
— According to this tweet, Fringe show “e-Geaux” will be featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” today at 4:20ish.