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Orlando Fringe Festival 2018 – Prevue Day 1

Orlando Fringe Festival 2018 – Prevue Day 1

Orlando, Florida

A new contemporary dance troupe appears on stage with an enigmatic but energetic set of acrobatic numbers. The music is modern, mysterious and compelling. It’s accented by a hard-to-hear commentary from philosopher Alan Watts, and the motion flows non-stop. Best of all: they get their sound track to sound great in the cavernous Black Venue.

The spirit of Esther Williams and the ghost of Busby Berkley live on in the swiming pool of a private residence that serves as the weirded “Bring YouR Own Venue” show since Brian Feldman took us camping. Fringe favorites Voci Dance executes a six-woman water ballet complete with matching bathing caps, trained pool noodles and a tolerance for swimming in waters of a temperature only Minnesotans would consider warm. The splatter zone is small and the seating intimate, and the highlight of the preview I saw was “The March of the Flamingoes.” This show it totally kid friendly but a one-mile hike from the beer tent. Protip: there are no restroom facilities at the Aqua Venue. Plan your pee, pee your plan.

Audience participation and kids on stage – you either like this sort of show or you don’t. A three actor troupe guides us through the epic Argonaut journey in Ancient Greece in search of the golden fleece. Highpoints include the giant puppet snake and the roll around Argo which is only panted to look like a ship on one side. Low lights include a hard to hear cast and getting a laugh off dead kids. Don’t judge, it was in good taste and VERY funny. Just don’t think about it too hard. A great show for the kid in you: light weight and zippy.

Here’s your serious, full length meat and potatoes drama for this festival. It’s a straightforward family drama – Jordan and Brandon are brothers, one straight and one gay. Jordan finds a girlfriend, Brandon a guy, and they all stumble through life’s up and downs. Overseeing the adventure is their mom. She’s no longer a real presence but her spirit watches the action as the boys deal with successive crises. While the time line is a bit confused and the show leisurely paced, it did bring a tear to my eye and a standing ovation at the prevue.

Fringe is where I get all my modern dance for the year, and this is one of the more unusual companies in the festival. While they didn’t deliver the preshow via interpretive dance, there was a pre-preshow where the troupe members lay on a white strip of paper and were traced by their fellows. This strip came back to life at the close, and in between they dance through “Origin Stories” and “Self and Internal Chaos” as the dancers came perilously close to those seated in the front row. Troupe leader Christopher Gonzales La Corte did some spacey spoken word pieces, and overall, the show was engaging, athletic and well-conceived.

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