Hollywood Fringe (2014)

Well the Hollywood Fringe is back and your valiant critic has plunged into its 275 shows. Running from June 12 to June 29 the Fringe is being played out at 55 separate venues from slightly west of Gardner to Western Avenue, but is focused mainly around the stages found in the theatre ghetto of Santa Monica Boulevard.

With the shows timed so that one can be seen after another it is a variable orgy of the arts running from “That Old Black Magic – Burlesque! Magic! Harriet Tubman Comedy!” to “Anita Bryant’s Playboy Interview”. Now granted, this reviewer has as much chance of seeing all these shows as Davy Crockett had of doing a victory dance in Santa Anna’ s end zone. But here’s the report thus far:

 

Must see:

Lydia Trueblood The Black Widow of the Atlantic Coast” – Liz Eldridge and Erfrain Schunior’s toe-tapping, musical tribute to a female serial killer paying back all men for the crime of…well, acting like men.

Linden Arden Stole the Highlights” – Colin Mitchell’s raucous one man show inspired by the Van Morrison song of the man “who loved the morning sun and whiskey ran like water in his veins.” Mitchell’s bravura performance is enough to please any audience, but his serving them Jameson at the outset certainly doesn’t hurt.

Victorian Courting and Zombies” – A great show. (see primary review)

Dramatis Personae” – A clever, intelligent, one-man show written and directed by Sean Dillon and Curtin Krick that is almost where it should be. And while it is a pity it hasn’t got to where it wants to be, where it’s going is interesting enough to cut it some slack and check it out.

God of Abraham” – A whirlwind of song, puppets, and deep thoughts, featuring a dancing Jesus and a Looney Tune prophet not to be confused with Muhammad; an amazing insightful show about the trivialization of religion and faith.

Magic and Other Dangerous Things” – David Blatter and Leeman Parker’s irreverent family friendly show full of both wit and hocus pocus.

Moby Alpha” – A twisted, gleeful retelling of Melville’s classic by way of Alien, 2001, and Star Trek ingeniously staged by the Seattle comedy duo “Charles”. Melville and Bradbury are both snickering in their graves.

In The Fog” – A stunningly beautiful piece directed by Samantha Shay inspired by Yuri Norstein’s animated film Hedgehog in the Fog. A feast for the eyes.

The Odyssey” – Homer’s epic, only staged in a fast paced, much funnier hour. Presented by The L.A. Troupe, Theatre-In-Education company, Koni McCurdy and her four actors, Dan Pena, Victoria Hilferty, Veronica Wylie and the rubber faced Jonathan Regier, gives the Greek classic a Monty Python do-over bringing forth Olympian sized mirth.

 

Take a Miss:

The Trial of Dali” – A great disappointment with a great title. Written by Andrew Jacob, a Master of Fine Arts who should stick to the canvas.

Scarface – the Musical” – Another disappointment with a great title (see primary review)

My Brother” – Director and writer Brendan Russo’s history lecture masquerading as a play. (see primary review)

 

Still to be Seen:

Giraffenstein”, “Hamlet Max”, “Doc & Stumpy’s Instant Burlesque”, “A Night of Noh Theatre”, “Zombies From Beyond”, “w.e.a.r. h.o.r.s.e.”, “The Translucent Frogs of Quuup”, “The Werewolves of Hollywood Blvd: A Damnable Rock Musical”, and a bunch of others.

I have no idea what half of those shows are about even, but I can’t wait to find out.

This is an arts lover’s smorgasbord, and with ticket prices ranging from a buck a show up, its wallet friendly. Do yourself a favor and check out the Fringe site at www.hollywoodfringe.org.

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