Our last day at this year’s Fringe was short and sweet – two plays nearly back-to-back, which, given that the skies threatened rain all day, meant that the prospect of getting drenched waiting in line was somewhat lessened.
We started the afternoon off at a new Fringe venue – The Laugh Shop – to see The Art of Being a Bastard. Set-up cabaret style not unlike the Yardbird Suite (which I similarly don’t like), the hodgepodge of chairs and tables wasn’t an ideal theatre. The play, one of two written by Matt Alden this year, was another very contemporary look at life, this time out of the lens of three shy twenty-somethings who wished they had more luck with the ladies. It was an enjoyable hour, though it did take a while to get going. The three actors kept up with the fast-paced production very well, juggling multiple characters and visibly sweating after a few of the frantic side-scenes (Mack in particular enjoyed the rap number, while I loved the Saturday Night Fever nod). It was another light, fun play that I imagine was written specifically for the Fringe, but of the two I watched in this category, Space was better.
Our last play this year was David Belke’s A Final Whimsy. Watching Belke’s yearly offering (this year marked his twentieth festival) has become a tradition for me. Whimsy focused on two sisters rehearsing a song for their father’s upcoming wedding, and needing to hash out some of the mysteries surrounding their mother’s departure from their young lives. Although the church setting was appropriate given the context of the play, the echoing acoustics made the dialogue hard to follow sometimes, particularly when the conversations were heated. That said, the vaulted ceilings worked for the musical portions of the show, with Andrea House’s rendition of “All I Have to Do is Dream” being the delightful standout. In all, it was a sweet story about family and what people will do to protect each other from painful truths.
Because the shows I wanted to see all scheduled themselves so well this year I didn’t end up spending that many days on the grounds. For that reason, it felt like I could have seen twice as many productions as I did. Of course, although the Fringe ended today, there are still opportunities to catch several popular shows that have been held over – check out the schedule here.
Thanks for a great Fringe! I am looking forward to next year already.