Monday, June 15, 2015

Best of Albuquerque Fringe 2025! (review)

Spoilers ahoy!

Let me say up front I 'have a complex relationship with "theater about theater." Not that I don't enjoy it (at least when done well, but that is true of almost everything--on the other hand I cannot bring myself to care if a football game is played well or reading new depths of wretchedness--but I digress)! But to be honest, an "in joke" by definition tends to lean too heavily on the references rather that any inherent humor.

So Best of Albuquerque Fringe 2025! left me feeling a tad apprehensive from the start.

Having said that, I actually laughed at one point so hard I couldn't stop! Nor was I alone! Pretty much the entire audience lost it so hard the players literally had to wait for us to stop! Which gives you some idea of just how funny this show proved to be at its best!

At its worst? Well, honestly a small handful of jokes didn't earn more than a smile. Interestingly, those that amused me least were the bits most referential to theater itself...

In essence the premise of this collection of (often wild, often goofy, frequently guffaw-worthy) of skits centers around...well, the title. A visit from the future of another Fringe Festival in Albequerque, California, an awards show in fact to top off the Festival and celebrate the winners of various awards. Jim Blanchette and Jacob Smith wrote the content and performed under the direction of Corey Lynn Howe

I'm not going to give a blow by blow of the various skits. I will say the writers save the best for last "Gary the Michealmas Goose" (the title role is played with simple brilliance by Lauren Flans). Other standouts include Heather Lake, Lisa K. Wyatt, Sam Tank and Liesl Jackson. And mention how everyone played multiple parts with considerable aplomb, generating a steady stream of laughs throughout. The humor varied considerably, from subtle to almost gross and in one case (The Duggars' version of The Sound of Music) horrifying at the same time. One skit was almost entirely in rhymed verse!

Best of Albuquerque Fringe 2025! plays at the Elephant Space 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038 at June 16 – 7:00 p.m., June 20 – 11:30 p.m., June 24 – 8:30 p.m., and June 28 – 4:00 p.m.

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