'Bargain Basement Game Show': Come On Down!
Surely "Bargain Basement Game Show" is the most generous event in the Fringe Festival: T-shirts were liberally handed out during the pleasantly interactive 80 minutes, and I won a prize!
It's just a flash drive with the show's logo printed on it (this was for fifth place, I think), but the take-home loot appears to be real: a substantial bookstore gift card went to the winner. The game itself is more fun than expected, or at least it was Friday night. And the competition and the skits between rounds all change with each performance, so you can forget about learning the answers and passing them on to a friend.
The theme Friday night was the 1980s, and the trivia mainly involved pop culture and politics. Some of the questions were slam-dunk easy, but the game grew nicely challenging as it went on, and the brain was definitely teased. The goofy skits stuck to the '80s, too (early MTV, "Back to the Future"), and while host Rob Perkins and hostess Maureen Shanahan couldn't be more genial, let's just say the show really needs the game. It turns out to be great that they don't really mock the much-parodied form: they seem to genuinely like it. There's no guilt in this guilty pleasure, and the "What do we have for our contestants?" enthusiasm is infectious.
-- Nelson Pressley