The Fringe Festival

The Fringe Festival

Sidneyrella by Scottie Campbell

Purple Venue • Orlando, FL

Once upon a time… Once upon a time… Once upon a time, poor little Sydney is trapped in a dismal family situation. Working like a dog, no one respects his personhood. No one respects his dedicated efforts, and worst of all, his evil stepsiblings won’t let him go to Prince Charming’s ball. Not that it would help, as the Prince is in search of a bride, and Sydney would NOT be a suitable helpmeet. Well, maybe he could be a Queen. Sydney’s Fairy Godmother sure thinks so, and she fixes him up with appropriately enchanted vermin to take Sydney to the ball in style. The rental only good until midnight, but that’s long enough for the price to fall for a reluctant dragster. You know the rest. Prince C and lowly Sid are both disgusted by the implications, but Fairy godmother has a heart to heart with each of them. Based on a technicality, she convinces both of them to joust for the other side. Hey, if they’re happy ever after, so should you.

This saga plays as a Fractured Fairy tale, complete with multiple fairies. Played fast and loose, no one takes anything seriously, which pushes this a cut above the numerous film versions we have all suffered though over the years. Terri Sorres is the best Fairy Godmother a lost little boy could have, with rhinestone glasses and an audience supplied bubble machine. Evil step sisters Masticassa and Narcissa (Jamie Newton, Babette Garber) and drunk daddy-o (Todd Shuck) trip over each other being a bad as possible to poor Sydney (Scottie Campbell). Still, the best part of the production is the big kick dance sequence at the end. Stick around for the credits in this one, they swing both ways.

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Runs With Scissors

Green Venue • Orlando, FL

Tell a lie. Tell the truth. Say anything, just don’t let the conversation die. Runs With Scissors dissects the layering of English vis a vis sex. Oops — did I say sex? Sorry. I meant love. Can you iterate a relation? Four skits are presented which show what you would have said or would have lied, if you had that second chance. Third chance. Fifteenth chance. It can take that long, but it’s a lot funnier when you can watch someone else make those mistakes with the remote control in your own hand.

Scissors’ best skit shows the deep inner eroticism of miniature golf. Three copies of Chuck make three separate passes simultaneously passes at three successively more sophisticated and cynical girls. Success is varied but all achieve that deep inner release that acceptable falsehood brings. Runs With Scissors — a metaphor for life. Or is that a simile? I forget. Check these guys out, and get back to me.

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Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know

Red Venue • Orlando, FL

These people have way too many frequent flyer points. You’ll need to eat about 50 Delta Sky deli meals to fully appreciate this sardonic view of travel, presented as a slick, fast moving musical review. Lost your luggage, stuck in automated phone information hell, Montezuma got you? All these travel clichés pop back to life in this top notch performance. The pilot is worried about the plane, but that’s what they pay him for. Just enjoy your eighteen inches of seat for the next hour.

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Divergent Illusion Limited, Presented by Artist Repertory Theater

Purple Venue • Orlando, FL

Black and White. Relationships can seem so black and white. The problem is, what’s black to one party is often blazing white to the other. Our illusion of self and other diverge in way we never understand. The Lighting Guy and fussy Miss Floor Producer don’t see eye to eye when he tries to wrest control of this play from her. Players come on and off stage in pristine white costumes, and play out aspects of misunderstood and mis-interpreted relations. Some are funny. Some are sad. Some are discussed below.

Meditation floats a woman free of her body, and the word “aum” rolls her over. A fellow mediator sets her back up, but grabs a feel or two in process. She returns to her body, smiles, and rolls toward a different relation. It’s nice to be lusted after.

Two party guys are watching the most bored stripper in the world. She’s the entertainment, and they paid for the thrill. Nothing the cute waitress does can attract their attention, no matter how hard she screams “look at ME!” by stripping between rounds of drinks.

A one night stand is drenched in amnesia, and two strangers wake up twenty years later with no memory of where they came from. Accountant? Cosmetic saleswoman? THREE bicycles in the yard? What the HELL happened? Yeah, that’s how I feel sometimes, too.

Unrelated on the surface, all the scenes are facets of who we are, what we become. Come and see us all. Come see yourself.

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Kama Sutra, Presented by Seeing Eye Theatre, Manchester England

Yellow Venue • Orlando, FL

Tristan is getting older, and good old Willie won’t wiggle like he once would. This is OK with wifey Pamela, until one night Tristan makes the offhand remark she ought to consider moving her hips a bit, just for variety. Left to right? Up and down? Both at the same time? Sooo many decisions! As Tristan drifts into dream land, Pamela relives her Catholic School daze and discovers sex, and hey — it’s grrreeaattt !

Searching for a cook book, Pamela accidentally picks up the Kama Sutra at the local library. It’s an honest mistake — the pages are all stuck together, and all good cook books are like that. It’s a revelation, and she spends weeks studying it and adopts all the trappings of a Hindi sex goddess. Tristan is mystified, but cooperative until his arthritic knee disagrees. Pamela kicks him out until he can achieve total engorgement, which is understandably scary to guy his age. After a few rounds of Viagra jokes, and an educational string of British masturbation euphemisms, they rejoin for some Cow and Sparrow fun. Don’t ask.

Make no mistake, Clare Barry (Pamela) and Peter McGarry (Tristan) are a bit lumpy but game to reveal themselves (in an artistic way). The jokes are British funny and the entire performance had the audience rolling in the cramped aisles of Fringe’s worst venue. If you’re not old enough for this to be a lark, just wait.

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Psydshow, Presented by Siren Productions

Yellow Venue • Orlando, FL

The freak show has come to town. Things are going well, there’s money coming in, the boss is in a good mood, yet there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction. Lenny the Strongman and Richard the Lion tamer want to take over the show, and boot the cadaverous Baron Somdi for reasons that are just a little vague. To complete the deal, Lenny needs to convince the mystical, feminine Sesha to join the revolt. Sesha misinterprets Lenny’s intentions and winds up dead. The Baron leaves, and the show goes on, greatly diminished.

Psydshow opens with a beautiful, dreamy sequence introducing the characters with all their sideshow wonder, and then slides into a sleazy little soap opera. The characters do inexplicable things for reasons that make little sense. Profanity covers up weak characterization, and the two strongest characters die (Sesha) or spend most of the time off stage (Baron Somdi). Does the play prove anything? Does it mean anything? Lenny’s Hubris, one would guess, but it’s just a guess. The two mimes obsessively dusting the audience shed no light. Something interesting lurks here, but never surfaces.

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Toxic Audio 2 – Electric Boogaloo

Yellow Venue • Orlando, FL

Hotter than the room, with harmonies packed tighter than the audience in rickety Baptist basement folding chairs, Toxic Audio is a complete swing, jazz, rock & roll band without a single instrument. With nothing but microphones and their own voices, the 5 Toxics pound out a non stop musicale, running from “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (OK, “2001” to you kiddies) to an improv Zydeco cover of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” These are serious musicians without a serious note in their bag of tunes.

The human voice ranges farther than most people realize and not everyone can visualize an a cappella “Walk the Dinosaur,” complete with a back beat. The Toxics not only realize it, they make you want to get up and dance to it. Too bad the hall could barely hold the audience, let alone a decent sock hop. If you miss this troupe at the Fringe, rumor has it they play around town at a certain notorious amusement facility. Stand in the line, there’s only sixty minutes between you and musical nirvana. Not the grunge kind, the real kind.

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