Normally, when the Cincinnati Fringe Festival (edgy, wonderful, exploratory and pushing the boundaries theater) rolls around, I am all over it.
Not so much this year.? I looked at the CityBeat insert, with descriptions, places, times – and just wasn’t particularly motivated.? I had kept my schedule fairly open in anticipation, but had a hard time thinking what I’d like.? And by the time I got it together, a couple that sounded interesting had glided on by.
Several friends who are usually lining up to go weren’t much into it either.? So I ended up seeing just 3, all with friend Kathleen.? Two other friends joined us for the second one.
RadioStar was the first – well done, funny, a bit of cultural commentary.? The actor was terrifically talented and had put together a very professional show.? But to me, it was a commercial venture, not really Fringe material.
Second up was Breaking Rank, which won Pick of the Fringe in one category.? A Vietnam War soldier asking too many questions.? This one raised, in a funny, serious, theatrical and straight on way, lots of issues about war, the military, any combersome bureaucracy.? And ended with a plea for Bradley Manning to be honored as a person of conscience and to be treated more humanely.? This one was excellent in so many ways.
Last – on the last night of the Fringe, which runs 10 days everywhere in Over=the-Rhine – was Don’t Cross the Streams.? Very funny, about being told to Cease and Desist doing a stage version of Ghostbusters, it pitted commercial interests against the creativity and humor of a troop of actors.? They told us the Ghostbusters story without every using the words or props.? Lots of silly string was involved.? Clearly a winner.
And lots of folk came this year – Fringe had its best attendance.? But then again, I have gotten used to being an early adopter, and, as friend Mary says, by the time other folk have caught up, I have moved on.
I love how it worked out that I saw the perfect shows for me to see.? Of course, that is exactly what I expect.? 😕 >