I only made it to four shows at this year’s Cincinnati Fringe Festival! Normally, I go through at least two Voyeur passes, for a minimum of 12 shows.
The changes in Over=the-Rhine itself were most noticeable – as in: the parking was much harder than it has ever been, and getting out of that garage is a lot of work and time (they should just charge when we go in, so exiting becomes quick and easy).
The whole neighborhood was packed! All the time! Used to be, I could leave my house, drive down, park and be sitting in the show I wanted to see 10 to 12 minutes later. Quite a breeze! Not any more. I had to park on Main Street at one point, and walk back to Jackson. A nice little walk, and interesting. But not what any of us inner city denizens have been used to.
The shows were all perfectly Fringe-y. By which I mean – challenging, unconventional ideas, creative staging (pretty much brought up by lack of resources – that is so helpful to creativity!), weird takes on standard stuff (I’m talking about you, Emily Dickinson). Definitely a high level of theatrical value.
I saw Vortex of the Great Unknown – whacked-out sci-fi set in Dimension 317 in the Zoetropian Galaxy – a musical, to boot! A big production (8 characters) created by several friends of mine, in the Art Academy. AND it won Audience Pick of the Fringe! Deservedly so. What a treat!
I never managed to vote, but would have made a sentimental choice – wonderful director and actor Michael Burnham’s And the Rand Played On – giving us, in one raucous hour, Ayn Rand in a nutshell. Ayn did not come off well, which is good, since there were no Representative Paul Ryans in the audience. This was the only show I saw with friends (I just didn’t feel like doing all the organizing I usually do, and a friend organized this – we sat out on the sidewalk at Taste of Belgium later and watched the world go by, while munching on all our favorites.)
Poe and Mathews was a purely funny show, with a lot of slapstick! Held at the Coffee Emporium, with a stage made by hanging black draperies around here and there, the cast included Edgar Allen Poe (as a critic, he regularly lambasted Mathews), and Mathews, who, judging by his unwitting dimbulb-ness, totally deserved it. They are stranded on a desert island, and are not going to be boon companions. I’ve always loved Poe, and love laughing – this was the perfect show for me.
Last but not least was Shut UP, Emily Dickinson, done by last year’s Radio Star creator. Both shows are excellent – Emily comes from a totally different mindset. A wild and crazy, not to say off the wall, look at our beloved poet, who is not quite so lovable here, and nearly strips for us. A confined world shown from the inside out. Great stuff.
Year 10 was another great success, Cincy Fringe! Can’t wait for next time! : >