151 Reviews !!!!  (In order from best to worst) for the 2005 Fringe


A bit about me and my stay is at the end.


I think that the most useful aspect for my readers is the rankings.  The rankings are based on my enjoyment of the show, and may not reflect the quality of the script and/or acting.  The comments are rushed because I have little time between plays, and, after all, I am here for the plays.  The three 5-stars for the shows on August 15th arose because I spent the daylight hours visiting shows recommended to me earlier in my trip.  The last day I saw nine new shows, and while many were below par, I was lucky enough to see three 5-star shows!  What a grand time I have had!!!



Holly’s Hot Spot: (*****)

Singer/songwriter Holly Penfield, backed by a jazz quartet, takes over the whole room with her combination of sometime sexy, sometime campy, and always great singing.  Most of the audience gets a little personal attention from her during the show, and if you really want to have fun sit in the front row!  My actor friend suggested that aspiring entertainers should come to the show just to see how to really work a room.   In the interest of full disclosure, and fond memories, I should note that I shared a drink with her father after the show.  His family grew up about five miles from me in the San Francisco Bay Area, though I did not know her. (Aug 16)


The Reduced Shakespeare Company – All the Great Movies (Abridged): (*****)

The movie references fly fast and furious in this zany review as these three men play a screenwriter, actor, and director making an independent film.  Members of the audience are even brought up on stage for a crowd seen.  Sit in the front row if you want to really get involved!  (Aug 18)


The Picante Quartet: (*****)

Two classical guitarists, including a champion, an electric guitarist, and an upright bass, play jazz and classical like there is no tomorrow.  These young men are virtuosos who know how to have fun.  Young and old loved this group.  (Aug 19)


The Fourth Wall:

This is another show about how the outside world intrudes on the lives of a theater company producing a new play.  The preface describing Stanislavski’s fourth wall between the actor and his audience focused me on the great acting as the pedophilic subplot slowly ravages the company.   I hope the playwright of “Life in Show/Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World” had a chance to see this.  (Aug 29)



This portrays the life of Galileo from the time of his first use of the telescope, until the secret release of his final book on astronomy.  The use of puppets and outsized clawlike hands for the Grand Inquisitor worked very well.  I felt I came to really understand the man, including his many foibles.  The play provided an insightful slice of the time in which he had to live and investigate.  What a wonderful way to end my Fringe experience!  (Aug 29)


Out of the Blue: (*****)

Acappella from a13 Oxford men.  Their choice of a dozen tunes from their 42-song repertoire varies with each show.  The mix of beats and voices for the songs gets rousing applause after each song.  (Aug 8)


Go Go Burlesco : (*****)

At the start, the mistress of ceremonies warns that this will be about nudity, sex, and nudity.   This show lives up to its introduction.  While it provides examples of many of the classic striptease routines, it does so with an air of fun that allows it to escape the tawdry.  You will find a dance of veils, French maids, fan dancers, and even a hula hooping Swan Lake swan, all accompanied by an extraordinary accordionist.  A couple of ribald Sound of Music tunes by the emcee in a perfect Julie Andrews accent were high points.  Besides the fine singing of the emcee, there is a good mix of comedy to break-up the stripping.  I should note that there is complete frontal nudity, but no simulated sex.  (Aug 6)


Basic Training: (*****)

A one-man autobiography of a Black recruit who finds his niche as entertainer and truck loader in the U.S. Air Force Top Blues traveling troupe.  Kahlil Ashanti assumes the characters of a wide variety of people in his life.  He nails them all, from an abusive stepfather, to a loud and fast talking drill sergeant, to an effeminate singer.  His sincerity is apparent, particularly when describing his Make-A-Wish conversation with a terminal 7-year old girl.  (Aug 15)


Chinese State Circus: (*****)

This circus provided many acts that I had not seen in the U.S.  Balancing poles, contortionists, vase balancing, and slack wire acts were all new to me.  The martial arts acts were unimpressive, but, all in all, the whole was impressive.  Don’t bother with ringside tickets (I had them), but do ensure that you are seated in the centered section.  (Aug 27)


Venezuela Viva: A Flamenco Fantasy (*****)

Twelve female dancers and eleven musicians provide a dance chronology of Venezuela from Moorish belly-dancing to Salsa, many in a flamenco motif.  The variety, dancing, and music are all excellent.  The video in the background provides super-titles for some songs, but also proves distracting during some dances. (Aug 18)


The Mystery of Chung Ling Soo: (*****)

This play about the rise and fall of a magician’s act in the 1910’s, based on a true story, had a captivating blend of simulation and word painting.   Each performer had to play a number of parts, from magician assistants to newspapermen to even the Kaiser, and all worked well.  (Aug 7)


Balagan: (*****)
This a mix of music performance and circus acts.  The music by a violinist, bassists, drums, and three horn players, is worth the price of admission.  The circus acts include a male/female duet of gymnasts, a clown, a hula-hooping woman, and small/normal man duet of gymnasts.  Everything about the show was professional.  (Aug 26) 


Guardians: (*****)

This has two alternating monologues: one by the woman who held the leash in Abu Ghraib, and one by a gay tabloid reporter who uses that story to his own ends.  Both stories held my attention throughout.  (Aug 18)


The Wrong Man: (*****) 

This powerful play looks at the events surrounding an IRA murder, with a reluctant accomplice as the focus.   Wives, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and the IRA are all imperfect, and precisely etched. (Aug 15)


School Ties: (*****)

Another musical about high school performed by four high school girls.  After my dreadful experience with Teechers, I entered the theater with trepidation.  But the first song, including its four-part harmony, just blew me away.  This is a tour de force by the four young women.  They nailed every song, and annunciated so clearly that even my Yankee ears could understand every word.   They easily shifted among their distinct roles as four girls, four boys, and a school full of teachers.  The only faults to be found are the poor lyrics of two solo ballads towards the end.  All in all, what a pleasant surprise at the end of the day!  (Aug 21)  


Swift: (*****)

This show has an actor portraying the satirist Jonathan Swift at the end of his life.  I am a sucker for historical plays, and this one did not disappoint.  The script has just the right mix of Swift’s writings and facts about his life.  (Aug 29)


Abnormally Funny People: (*****)

Two short people, a wheelchair bound woman, a blind man, and a deaf man present wonderful comedy mostly based on their own abnormalities.  The comedy is neither in your face, nor based on pity.  Rather, it is based on the situations in which these people find themselves.  (Aug 27) 


All Wear Bowlers: (*****)

This two man physical comedy has some really great moments.  At the beginning we see what appears to be a 1920’s silent movie projected on a wall that has two men walking on a country road.  One of them runs straight at the camera, and then in a flash of light he is on the floor in front of us!  From then on the actors continue to walk in and out of the movie, keeping perfect time with their appearance in the movie.  Later they do all sorts of physical comedy, including creating crossing their limbs to create a phantom third person, and a classic tipping ladder routine.  There are a few less inventive parts, such as mouthed eggs, but on the whole this was wonderful.  (Aug 25)


Guy Browning’s Small Talk: (*****)

Mr. Browning is a newspaper and radio humorist whose gentle observations about men and women demonstrate how an entertainer can get laughs without abuse or swearing.  In this show, I was singled out to have an “interesting” conversation with my neighbor to demonstrate the proper way to interrupt.  As with Jason Byrne, I felt the ribbing was good spirited.  (Aug 15)


David Strassman: (*****)

This ventriloquist uses a classic dummy, two teddy bears, a beaver, and female robot to great effect.  Almost all of the humor is dummy-centric, and works well.  My habit of sitting in the front row made for a strange experience since I could always see his mouth move.  (Aug 18)


Losing Unity: (*****)

Two women portray the lives of the aristocratic Mitford sisters that chose different political paths in the 1930’s, one Fascist, and Communist.  Unity, the Fascist, actually had more than 100 visits with Hitler.  As usual, I love well told true stories.   This is a well written play, with each scene contributing to the understanding of the sisters and their choices.  (Aug 27)


Jason Byrne: (*****)

The fellow clearly relishes doing improv based on audience characteristics.   As the lone American in the crowd he repeatedly made good fun of my being slow at raising my hand when he asked if there were any Americans in the crowd.  While poking fun at three 16-year old boys in the front row, he made sure that they were not the butt of his jokes, but rather the source of inspiration for digressions about adolescent boys’ lives.  He also had a few interesting set pieces about his wife, 5-year old son, and parents.  Though there was a misogynist tilt and frequent cursing to many of his riffs, his spontaneity proved winning.  (Aug 6)


Step into Africa: (*****)

An African dance company of 12 young women and one man provide pieces ranging from tribal to ballet to hip-hop.  I found their joy and the diversity very pleasing.  (Aug 14)


Birth of the Cool: (*****)

I was just in the mood for this combination of Beat poetry and Cool Jazz from the 1950’s.  The poet told of the lives of Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Cassady, as well as performing their poems.  The musicians played clean Miles, Bird, and others.  I was transported back to San Francisco of the late1950’s.  (Aug 24)


Twilight of the Gods: (*****)

This has a raging argument between the ghost of Richard Wagner and his true life friend Friedrich Nietzche who is in an insane asylum.  Besides the fine acting, I enjoyed learning of the lives of these two figures as they argue about Shoepenhauer, and Wagner’s betrayal of Jews and Nietzche.  (Aug 14)


A Midsummer Night’s Dream from the East: (*****)

A Korean company produced a version of Shakespeare’s comedy using traditional Korean storytelling methods with only infrequent English dialogue.  They had switched some of the roles, and I was a little rusty on the play, so it took me a while to get on track with the story.  Once I figured out who was who, I had a marvelous time.  Their facial makeup, and dance/fights were particularly wonderful.   (Aug 28)


A Shut Up Comedy from Japan: (*****)

The whole audience was wowed by the mimed two-part physical comedy of these two men, but I feel that they could have done more with their talents.  The first part is a series of sight gags using simple props.  The second part is a retelling to the Rocky boxing story, including a hilarious bout with Michael Jackson.  I would have given it four stars, but I am afraid I may be getting a little jaded so I gave it five stars based on the audience reaction. (Aug 17)


An Oak Tree: (****)

This is a contrived play in which the writer/director, Tim Crouch, plays a hypnotist who has accidentally killed a girl with his car, and an actor, who has not seen the script, plays the father of the girl seeking help from the hypnotist.  The story itself was good enough to not need the contrivance.  It was interesting to watch the actor, Jason Thorpe, deal with the stress of performing while receiving occasional secret direction through earplugs.  In the middle of the play, the director asked Jason if he had any questions so far.  It was clear from his questions that the stress had not permitted Jason the time to assimilate the whole of the story.  I had two criticisms of this play.  First, it was unnecessarily set a year in the future, which had no impact on the plot, but did confuse Jason, and me.  Second, in describing his role to Jason, Crouch only described his outward appearance, and did not provide an occupation.  I realize that Crouch was trying to leave this open for the actor to devise, but in such a stressful situation a little more guidance would have permitted the actor create a whole person.  (Aug 28)   


East Coast Chicken Supper: (****)

This tells of the day when a young man returns to his two best mates that are outcast drug dealers in a Scottish town.  There is a lot going on in this play: from cooking lessons to repairing damaged interpersonal ties.  This won a Fringe First, but I just couldn’t give it 5 stars because the ending has no roots in the play.  (Aug 19)


Les Liaisons Dangereuses: (****)

This presentation kept me engrossed from the start.  The two leads were outstanding in their wickedness and shrouded caring.  I do wish the director had omitted the superfluous Nazi / Free French motifs though.  (Aug 11)


Brighter Side of Alzheimers: (****)

A one-woman semi-operatic tale of the life of woman abused as a child, and whose mother is transformed into happy, loving person with the onset of Alzheimers.  The actress was a jazz singer most of her life, and brings that talent, as well as fine dramatic movements, to the story.  I hung around with the director and actress for a day, and so it is hard to just give this four stars, but it did seem a little overlong.  (Aug 12)


Angry Young Man: (****)

Four actors simultaneously portray the travails of a Russian surgeon who immigrates to Britain.  It was and interesting effect, though occasionally confusing, to see how each of the four was used for the other characters the surgeon met.  (Aug 18) 


Snoopy: (****)

A musical that has great lyrics, but often-mediocre music.  Initially I found some of the young voices a bit weak, but as the play progressed I found that they suited their roles well.  The young cast throws everything at this with even a tap dancing number.  There is even a clear showstopper, “Don’t Be Anything Less Than Everything You Can Be” with its patty-cake routine.  “Just One Person” brought tears to my eyes with its sentiment of mutual support.  A nearby six-year-old girl appeared enchanted with the play until becoming tired in the last ten minutes.  (Aug 7)


Romeo & Juliet – Deceased! With Tom Stoppard’s The 15-minute Hamlet: (****)

Take the dead characters of Romeo and Juliet, add the love potion from Midsummer’s Night Dream, mix in very good young voices singing hit songs from the 60’s and 70’s, and you get a wonderful musical comedy.   The director wisely avoids the pitfall of unsynchronized dancing by limiting the choreography to the three-person chorus.  The only thing preventing this from receiving five stars is the Stoppard play beforehand.   The company chose Stoppard to draw an audience, but the abbreviated work has little wit beyond its fast pacing.  (Aug 16)


Starting Here, Starting Now: (****)

This is a musical revue of mostly love songs by one songwriting team.  I found both the lyrics and music consistently polished.  The trio of two women and a man blend well in all combinations.  The man has a Matthew Broderick charm and voice.  However, one woman has the voice, looks, and vivacity to cast a bit of shadow when combined with the other two.  (Aug 7)


NewsRevue 24/7: (****)

This is a sketch show of topical political satire.   Since much of the humor relied on a better knowledge of British pop culture, I relied on some friends to help me rate this.  I understood about three quarters of the jokes.   Of those, about three quarters worked.  For the second time in my stay, I found the Brits thinking that Laura Bush is the brains behind George.  I spoke with some people afterwards, and that appears to be the consensus.   How strange?  In the U.S., we would assign that role to Vice President Dick Cheney.  (Aug 29)


How I Learned to Drive: (****)

This was the first of two back-to-back plays I saw that dealt with pedophilia.  In hindsight, this relates the subtle effects of an initial pedophilic experience by a young girl.  Because the tale is told mostly in reverse order, the true message does not become clear until the last scenes.  The caring, ingratiating style of the molesting uncle adds greatly to the story.  (Aug 26)    


Night-Light: (****)

Two women together use movement to portray a little girl, and, occasionally, her mother.  I have rarely seen dance/movement between just two women.  The way they intertwined as the child was, at times, enthralling.  There were times that I was a little confused about whether they portraying the mother or girl.  (Aug 20)


N.F.W: (****)

The lives of four young women at the edge of their lives: a garage attendant, her controlling sister, a junky, and an indigent schizophrenic.  Though occasionally a little preachy, the lives seemed real.  Some of the lines had quite affect on me.  (Aug 9)


The Altruists: (****)

A farce about the hypocrisy of people that support left wing causes.  The characters are well chosen to reveal the many levels of hypocrisy.  I enjoyed it a lot, and I am a bleeding heart liberal.  (Aug 11)


Acetylene: (****)

Eight teenaged men show the strength, balance, and stamina when they break-dance to twelve songs.   Though I was quite impressed with their handstands and twirling, the bulk of the performance relied on a fairly narrow repertoire of steps.  Thankfully, the choreographer provided some different steps in three of the pieces.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if there had been interspersed some slower work.   However, the continual frenetic pace certainly highlighted the stamina and strength that is the hallmark of young men.  (Aug 28)   


Table Manners (****)

This is a series of vignettes about working in a restaurant to illustrate the work life of hospitality workers.  The writing does a good job of balancing humor and exposition while exploring the tensions between waiters and both the public and the chefs.  For the last act, the playwright used a TV game show setting.  While this did provide an easy way to convey some information, I think that the play would have been better if he had stayed with the original restaurant setting.  (Aug 11)


Me and Marlene: (****)

This is a one-woman show on the life of Marlene Dietrich.  This is a tricky one to rate.  When I spoke to those in the audience who knew of Marelene, they consistently said that they would give it five stars.  I think that those people who know little or nothing of her would still find the show quite worthwhile—she was an amazing woman, and the actress does a fine job depicting her life.  (Aug 11)


Hook, Line, and Sinker: (****)

This play has two estranged stepbrothers dealing with the death of one’s father while on a fishing trip.  It has a great balance of comedy and drama.  (Aug 13)


The Tragedy of Richard, Duke of York: (****)

I found this abridged version of Shakespeare’s play quite winning.  I was pleased that the players would occasionally step outside the play to explain germane historical aspects to provide context.  I had never seen this play, and found it interesting to discover the background of Richard III.  The main flaw was that the sound effects were too loud to allow me to hear the actors at times.   (Aug 27)


The Importance of Being Turbann’d: (****)

A drawing room comedy of manners about the collision of traditional Sikh culture and the lives of modern southern Asians revolving around an arranged marriage.  From rigid lecherous grandfather, to prejudiced liberal father, to drinking promiscuous grandsons, this play works well as each of the three generations reveals its values, and foibles.  The ending is a classic full cast fight.  (Aug 21)


Oxford Imps: (****)

One fellow guides the audience in producing topics from which he requests six other Oxford students to produce improvisations.  Great fun!  (Aug 11)


Boston Marriage: (****)

This is a mix of drama and a comedy of manners that has a mistress dealing with the request to be a beard for her former lesbian lover.   Mamet’s script harkens to Wilde and Coward with its wit and precision.  An oft-abused maid provides comic relief as well as important plot points.  All three of the actresses were well chosen and performed perfectly.  (Aug 20)


Ubu: (****)

This is a fantastical satire about three extremely depraved people taking power in “Scotchland.”  This is one of the rare plays at the Fringe that had a program in which the director expressed his thoughts about the play.  What a godsend!   He warns that the core of the satire is their despicableness.  All the deadly sins were there, particularly gluttony, in all their glory.  The audience even got to throw cherry tomatoes at the deposed king.  By the end the stage was a total mess from their eating, and “beheading” of fruits.  (Aug 28)  


The Lifeblood: (****)

The story of Mary, Queen of Scots, last few days.  As a former history teacher, I found this interesting to learn of her privations, betrayals, and trial presentations.  (Aug 25)


The Exonerated: (****)

Eight actors sit on chairs facing the audience and read the words of six people that were found innocent after spending time on death row.   I am a sucker for true stories, and here are six.  (Aug 23)


Pip Utton – Adolf: (****)

Utton portrays Adolf Hitler, including his last speech to his followers in his bunker in Berlin.  I had always wanted to know what Hitler was saying to rouse the crowds so, and here I found out.  I can now see how his repeated claim that “Everything I did was for the good of the German people.  How can that be wrong?” would resonate with many people.  The parallels with our current demagogues are scary.  (Aug 20) 


The Rap Canterbury Tales: (****)

The one-man show is premised on a fan that stows away on a bus of a traveling show of rappers.  Each of four rappers, including the fan, provides one of the tales of the Canterbury tales in rap.  It is much better than it sounds.  I had the pleasure of sitting next to a young woman who was going to teach the Canterbury Tales to 16-18 year olds next term.  I enjoyed having her revel in the play next to me.  Because of technical difficulties, music only played for the first tale.  I hope to read the Tales in the next couple of weeks and return.  (Aug 8)


Later Showers: (****)

This one-man play describes the life of a 22-year old poet whose father died when he was twelve.   Though he assumes the characters of the poet’s family for short stretches, the bulk of the time is devoted to the poet’s observations about his life.  The evocative word pictures painted by the poet character are beautiful, although a bit rushed in places.  (Aug 17)


Will Smith: (****)

If self-deprecating humor is to your taste, then Will is the comic for you.  With a combination of a videos and interwoven tales he describes how a too nice and too sincere Jersey boy with an ever present umbrella can, amongst other humiliations, lose a girl friend to a brash Outlaw singer, and antagonize his hero, the singer Fish, through his sycophancy.   In the end he presents a wonderfully weird music video that summarizes his travails.  (Aug 6)


Laurel and Laurel: (****)

Bob Kingdom portrays Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy.  I tend to like one person biographies, and this is no exception.  Laurel was the brains of the duo, while Hardy spent the afternoons golfing.  Things did not turn out well because they had no royalties in their contracts, strictly wages.  Much of their work was copied/stolen by Abbot and Costello, Jerry Lewis, and Peter Sellers.  Laurel’s phone number was even in the phone book.  When Peter Sellers discovered this, he stopped calling for advice on what was funny.   I would have given this five stars except that the chronological jumping around made the tale unnecessarily confusing.  (Aug 25)


Caesar Twins:  (****)

These two 25-year old gymnasts are incredibly strong and handsome.  They have four or five tableaus separated by singing by a leggy assistant, and accompanied by a horn player.   When they are using that strength to do hand stands, headstands, and ribbon iron crosses they are wonderful to watch.  It is amazing to see them do such things without even the need to breathe through their mouths.  However, in the two scenes imitating martial arts games, and Marx Brothers mirroring their lack of precision becomes quite evident.  (Aug 6)


Robert Dubac’s The Male Intellect: an oxymoron. (****)

Robert’s mantra is that the genders are “equally different.”  This show explores what it is about him, as a generic man, and his recently departed fiancé, as a generic woman, that explains why she left him two weeks ago.  With the basic question being, “What do women want?”  He makes sly observations about books, unwritten rules, and different ways of thinking that I found quite funny and perceptive.  Both genders receive their just barbs, but men come out the worse for it.  His partial answers and final solutions ring true.  See the show to discover them!  (Aug 9)


Roses & Morphine: (****)

A three-person fantasy of interpreting memory set in a psychological library complete with a Librarian.  On another day, I may have given this abstract play only two stars, but this just hit me in an ineffable way.  The young actress playing the Librarian seemed much older than her years.  The set of four moveable bookshelves with drawers is noteworthy.  (Aug 13)


The Good Thief: (****)

A one man show centering on an Irish thug whose attempted intimidation of a crime boss goes horribly wrong.  The actor plays the protagonist perfectly.  This is a simpleminded man who knows his role in life well, and accepts himself for what he is.  The content is appropriately violent, but may be too strong for many.  There is too much effort manipulating the three props, two boxes and a table, into cars and staircases.  It is like the director was saying “See what I can create with just these three props.”  A single box would have worked better. (Aug 21)


!Runners – The Return: (****)

This has an interesting take on theater.  A therapist’s chair is surround by the audience.  The therapist then deals with the audience as if it was a group therapy session.  Some of the audience are actually actors, but it is not until well into the play that I could discern who they were.   The play has to have a few slow parts where the real audience is interviewed to make the charade work.  There are a couple of twists along the way that keep this quite interesting.  (Aug 26)


Where’s the Power – A Rap Opera: (****)

Three men and a woman dance to portray the conflicts that arise from the disparity of power in society.  Their choice of chairs as the measure of power provide useful symbols for Chairista rebels and a game of musical chairs.  The first piece was my favorite, when three dancers danced in synch, while the fourth provided his subtle variations.  (Aug 12)


Corpus Christi: (****)

I saw this play about the earthier side of Christ’s life at midnight!  Despite the hour, the cast did fine job of portraying the twelve disciples, and a wimpy, sexually ambivalent Christ.  The disclaimers at the beginning and end were appropriate, though unneeded in my case.  It was quite a surprise to have Christ jump off the stage and across two rows of seats to personally ask me to shout Halleuah!   The crucifixion and remaining empty cross are still powerful for me.  (Aug 28)


Snapshot: (****)

This is an autobiographical story of a woman dealing with her life as the daughter of a white woman and a Black man who quickly leaves his family after returning from the Vietnam War.  The photos that often served as the backdrop for the story were from her family album.  Seeing her family from pregnant mother and stylish singer father through to a man with an empty stare contributed to the power of the story.  I shared this with an actress/playwright and a director from another show.  The actress found it a bit long, but I found it engrossing, and fought back tears at one point.  (Aug 9)


Twelfth Night – The 1960’s San Francisco Psychedelic Musical : (****)

Twelfth Night with 1960’s music injected wherever possible.  The voices were good, and the selection for music was appropriate to the character’s state.  They even got in all of the basic plot points between the many songs.  (Aug 24)


Weapons of Laugh Destruction: (****)

Though I had a four star good time with these five comedians, much of that was because of the camaraderie of the small audience, and my home near San Francisco.   Of note was a 71-3/4 year old, Ruth, who based her comedy purely on being elderly.   (Aug 28)


Imogen: (****)

Two actors, and one dummy controlled by two puppeteers explore how the loss of a child affects a man who clearly loves life and his family.  There is sense of South American magic theater with a crow puppet symbolizing death.  (Aug 13)


Enola: (****)

This tells two stories: the development and use of the first atomic bomb, and the life story of Enola Gay, the woman for whom the bomber was named.   Both have poignant endings.  Years ago I had painted shadows of people on sidewalks in Sacramento in commemoration of Hiroshima.   I learned that the real “shadows” in Hiroshima were caused by dust collecting on the fat of people impaled on walls.  The Kansas town that built the B-29, was a true company town, with a perfect grid of streets that oppressed its citizens with its rigidity and sameness.  (Aug 26)


AmerWrecka: (****)

The four college students killed at Kent State protesting the Vietnam War are assigned as guardian angels of four disparate New Yorkers to create a nationally known protest against George Bush’s policies.  I loved the polemics, the 60’s music, and the conception of the protest.  However, the interactions with God as Elvis, and two drill sergeant angels really detracted from the play.  (Aug 19)


Golden Prospects: (****)

A pitch perfect melodrama complete with mustachioed villain engaged the hissing, booing, and cheering audience.  It was Dudley Do Right come alive.  The story was a little overlong, and the Brits missed some comical references to the history and geography of Los Angeles.  (Aug 21) 


The Race: (****)

This is a dance piece about coping with the birth of a man’s first child.  The first half of this was great, but the second half did not match it for originality.  Their use of a treadmill, rolling tables, and rolling chairs was wonderful to watch.  Of particular note is a door size cutout in the curtain that moved.  They used this as a sliding window onto an evolving party that had babies starting to appear in people’s arms.  (Aug 22)


The Invasion Handbook: (****)

Two Nazi spies await paratroopers among six other diners in a boarding house on the English coast.  Each of the characters has a significant part to play, though the retired colonel of the Boer War has the most fun.  (Aug 14)


Ian Kendall’s Magic Show: (****)
Ian provides pleasant patter between routine magic tricks involving ropes, cards, coins, and money.  As a kid who had a magic show, including a top hat full of my mom’s scarves, I found this a nice break from the other things I have been seeing.  I was brought up on stage and participated in a rope trick, spiked plinth trick, a ball trick, and a money trick!  (Aug 20)  


Bass: The Final Frontier: (****)

Steve Lawson is a virtuoso bass player who uses two echo machines to lay down bass lines that he then plays over.  His chats between the songs are great fun.  When he leaves the machines off, and stops twiddling with their dials, his true virtuosity really shines.  (Aug 12)


Guy Pratt – My Bass and Other Animals: (****)

Guy provides humorous anecdotes and short bass riffs from his long career.  He starts with childhood, works through the Australian hit band Ice House, and his time with Pink Floyd, Madonna, and even Michael Jackson.   I think a fan of the musicians of the 1970’s and 1980’s would give this five stars, but some of the celebrity references were lost on me.  (Aug 16)


Come Again – The World of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore: (***)

The play portrays the interactions of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore from 1960 and Beyond the Fringe until the movie ‘10’.  The erudite Cook constantly put down Moore.  By the end, Cook was drinking heavily and Moore had a successful solo Hollywood career.   I think that Brits who watched the Moore/Cook team rise to stardom in the 1960’s would give this a higher rating. (Aug 24)


Being Gertrude Stein: (***)

A one woman portrayal of Stein speaking about her life in 1930(?).  I certainly got a flavor for Ms. Stein’s elitism and poetry.  The problem with this act is that was only 40 minutest long, when I expected an hour.   I felt I was teased with what I saw.  (Aug 27)


The Hospital: (***)

This dance piece tells of the lives of three nurses in an empty hospital during a war.  It is strange how I feel that I can understand the whole even though there were parts that I did not understand.  They walked that fine line between reason and insanity.  (Aug 22)


Life in Show/Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World: (***)

A theater company prepares a play about a real nineteenth century actress’ rights in the 1800’s while dealing with fears of rape, and an accused rape by one its actors.  The play they are practicing seemed quite interesting to me.  The modern day script that overlaid it, including poorly shot videos, provided some counterpoints, but was, on the whole, much weaker.  By comparison, one of the last plays I saw, #4, “The Fourth Wall”, handles the same general plotting exquisitely.  (Aug 28)


Steven Berkoff - Shakespeare’s Villains: (***)

The renowned actor provides an essay about the villains as well as life as a Shakespearean actor.  I enjoyed the exposition, but his portrayals were way too hammy for my taste.  On only two occasions did he take a part seriously.  Otherwise, he was in full pantomime mode complete with tongue wagging and sight gags.  What a waste of talent.  (Aug 20)


Shakespeare for Breakfast: (***)

The leads of Julius Caesar, MacBeth, Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Two Gentlemen of Verona meet in a forest camp for a TV Survivor’s game.  True to Shakespearean form, a lot of them end up dead.  For Brits, this pantomime is worth 5 stars, but, as an American, I missed all the fun of the many pop culture references.  (Aug 14)


Sleepwalk: (***)

I placed this play higher than I might because of the message.  This is clearly a play to be presented to adolescents to warn them of thinking that leads to suicide.  While preachy in places, the play presents many of its arguments in very entertaining ways.  The doctor with whom I shared this play, and I, particularly liked the way they used a buffed up Amygdala (part of the brain, for those without a background in brain physiology) character to represent the uncontrolled negative emotions with which a teen literally has to wrestle.  (Aug 8)


Art of Travel: (***)

A dance piece based on the book of the same name (which I have not read) about how travel leads to consciousness raising.   The initial dance is a bit off putting because of the seemingly obscure video of a truck parking in the background.  (I later learned that the videos alluded to images from the book.)   The two women and a man provide an entertaining range of interpretations of Indian dance.  I found it interesting to compare the subtle differences when the two women performed the same steps; one was sharp while the other slightly softer.   The highlight was an early piece on the joys of a new romance.  (Aug 7)


Turn to Face the Change: (***)

A romantic comedy about a depressed late-night talk show host who rediscovers romance through a personals ad.  There were many funny lines that fell flat for lack of audience.  The host and his love interest’s mother are well developed, but the lover lacks explanation – she is too good to be in need of a personal ad.  (Aug 17)


The Booth Variations: (***)

An actor tells of the life of the renowned American actor Edwin Booth, brother of the assassin of President Lincoln.  He started acting when he had to replace his father as Hamlet in a traveling show, mimicking every move that he had learned while watching from the wings.  The Civil War is brought to life with a portrayal of the photographer Matthew Brady.  The historical notes were interesting.  (Aug 24) 


Happiness, how much do it cost?: (***)

A seemingly autobiographical play about the numerous emigrations of a tall Yugoslavian.  He played basketball for Yugoslavia, then was a stable boy and movie villain in his beloved Italy, then back to Yugoslavia, then mowed park grass in Canada, and then married and divorced in London.  It is a sad tale of a life with little purpose or happiness.  (Aug 29)    


Beautiful Child: (***)

The second of back-to-back plays I saw about pedophilia.  This one has a young art teacher seeking sanctuary in his parent’s home after falling in love with an eight year old student.  Unlike “How I Learned to Drive”, this story has two other relationships presented which muddy the power of the story.  (Aug 26)


Heaven Eyes: (***)

This is a fairy tale of orphans whose river raft lodges on an island whose inhabitants are Grampa, and a girl named Heaven Eyes.  The tale of trying to find ones past is touching.  (Aug 25)  


Box of Noise: (***)

A troubled woman becomes a TV that harshly changes to channels that are sometimes her life and sometimes others.   Many of the channels are disturbing, and almost all are engrossing.   This is another example where the whole is less than the sum of its parts.  (Aug 19)


Trad: (***)

An Irishman and his 100 year old son review their lives.  I dozed during this, but found parts interesting.  (Aug 23) 


The Real Inspector Hound: (***)

A Tom Stoppard farce with two theater critics suddenly becoming part of the murder mystery they are watching.  The plot is appropriately zany, but the lines provide little of interest to me.  (Aug 21)


I am Star Trek: (***)

This revue is a biography of Gene Rodenberry, the creator/producer of Star Trek, from the creation of the first TV series through to the opening of the Las Vegas theme park.  As a trekkie, I found it interesting to learn of the darker side of the man.   The songs are quite forgettable, and this is definitely only for those who know the original TV show.  Still, I am glad I went. (Aug 18)


Otherwise Engaged: (***)

At a wedding, five women meet in the ladies room and deal with strains of an inappropriate pregnancy.  The ramifications and revelations kept my attention, with a big twist at the end.  (Aug 13)


13 O’Clock: (***)

Two women use physical comedy to tell the story of one woman’s fantastical story of writing a script.  While some of the physical comedy was fresh, particularly using multiple fold down bibs for quick costume changes, the story itself was muddled.  (Aug 27)


The Grill Chef:  (***)

Three twenty-something performers explore the trials and tribulations of finding and keeping unrewarding jobs early in life.  The young adults in the audience found the pieces quite funny.  The older crowd, including me, found it somewhat depressing to think of prospect of unfulfilling work for low pay with horrible bosses.  It helps explain why so many young people get drunk every night here.  (Aug 21)


Le Cid: (***)

A play in French about a woman whose fiancé kills her father defending his father’s honor.   Although I understand about ten words in French, the synopsis provided a reasonable guide to the action.  The costumes were beautiful.  The tone varied from tragedy to comedy with a bit of farce thrown in to confuse me. (Aug 15)


Haci Guigo: 8.15: (***)

An Italian performance piece telling the story of the Holocaust and the Manhattan Project.  Some of the parts were quite interesting, while others meant nothing to me.  (Aug 22)


Your Life in Their Hands: (***)

Two women provide sketches of normal people dealing with inept people in positions of power such as attorneys, doctors, and even ultrasound technicians.  The wry humor is fine, but there are too many long blackouts between the sketches.  In particular, there was one sketch that was shorter than the blackout before it.  There would have been more time for comedy, and more entertaining, had they simply changed costumes quickly on stage.  (Aug 16)


Being Earnest: It’s Rather Important: (***)

This play within a play is a shortened version of Oscar Wilde’s play with an interlude of the actors dealing the difficulties of putting on the play.  Wilde is great, and the enthusiasm of the cast is evident.  (Aug 15)


The Coming of Golf: (***)

I chose this because my stepsons love P.G. Wodehouse.  The play is a series of humorous vignettes centered on golf obsession, from Celtic times as well as the early twentieth century.  The fare is light and friendly.  (Aug 9)


Seb Lime: (***)

With the help of a demon, a self-centered handsome fellow gets to correct a sexual mistake that had horrible consequences.  Seb is a rogue, and my own sense of honor never allowed me to identify with a man that seems to choose remorse for a lark.  The acting was fine; I just didn’t find the outcome satisfying.  A change in the final scene would have made this much more satisfying fare.  (Aug 8)


Twelfth Night (C Electric): (***)

A fun and fine edition of this play.  The use of picture frames for the doorways worked quite well.  (Aug 10)


True Genius: (***)

A 17-year old boy must confront his delusions about his father who died when he was three.  One 10-second, 2” mistake in make-up made the second part of the play quite confusing.  The director told me that the make-up had been an issue before, so I am a little concerned that they have not addressed this critical facet of the story.  The play has too many scene changes that require redressing the stage.  Better set design would reduce the amount of dark time on the stage.  (Aug 10)


Subverse (Show B): (***)

This is a political revue composed of five sketches and one poem.  Most of the sketches are over the top, particularly those that are fictional TV shows.  I found it refreshing the way the poem points out the insidious power of  the clever people,” instead of blaming political straw man.   In the interest of full disclosure, and fond memories, I must state that I had a drink with the company after the show. 


The Kourageous Kiplingers – without a net! : (***)

This is a good hearted homage to Borsht Belt vaudeville, with a singer and her sadsack husband accompanying on a ukulele.   The one liners are straight from that era.   I don’t know whether this is high camp or low humor, but we in the audience had a wonderful time. (Aug 15)


Catch-22: (***)

A tale of a bomber pilot in WWII who wants to quit flying because everyone is trying to kill him, but the paradoxes of military rules prevent him.  I read the book in high school, and thought the movie would be unintelligible to someone who had not.  Incidentally, Heller wrote it as Catch-18, but just before the book’s release Stalag-18 came out, and he changed it to the oft-cited Catch-22.  The play provides more connections between events, but still appears to provide too little character background to make its conceits to the book work.  There are just too many characters without adequate justification of their behaviors.  (Aug 8)


Madam I’m Adam: (***)

A man deals with the consequences of building a time machine in the late 1800’s.  I chose this play because I always like stories about time travel, and I often give a computer programming assignment to build a palindrome detector.  This has a well thought out mix of live action, puppetry, and video effects.  The story is a bit confusing as, I suppose, time travel should be.  Had the acting been less broad, this would be more satisfying.  (Aug 20)


The Ennio Morricone Experience: (***)

A quintet plays the music of Ennio Moricone, who wrote the music for Leone’s spaghetti westerns.  Music is probably the wrong word.  Soundtracks would be better.  Besides trumpet, vibraphone, drums, bass, and keyboards they use a ton of sound effects gadgets and silly instruments to emulate a movie.  They even have a solo with a man playing a pimento can “guitar”.  It is all done in fun, though the musicianship is spot on.  (Aug 22)


Wetmarsh College: (***)

This light comic opera about the unwillingness of the dons of a college to break tradition, and hire a female professor, probably deserves just two stars.  It is just that as a lecturer at an American university, I like to see plays about the English system.  This has the classic silliness of English pantomimes.  (Aug 10)


Ride the Punani: (***)

A one woman show portraying a day in the life of an unsuccessful twentysomething woman.  Though I found much of what she said interesting, there were too many other distractions.  She wore a bustier that revealed much of her ample bosom, even though she was suppose to be at work for much of the play.  Even more distracting, was the constantly changing slideshow in the background.  To make matters even worse, some of the slides even had aphorisms and personal letters that were particularly hard to ignore.  (Aug 29)


Tropea Couch Potatoes Paradise: (***)

A dance piece that has a couple in a video changing TV channels that the performers then perform.  Some of the channels are quite good, but others have little to offer. (Aug 22)


Burlesk’s Little Bo Peepshow: (**)

The Oxford men and women have created a burlesque show with can-cans, slightly bawdy humor, and stripteases without nudity.  I have no problem with the lack of nudity, but I guess they are just unwillingly to tap into the sexuality that is at the heart of burlesque.   One act epitomizes this.  A Mary Poppins lookalike appears, but rather than slowly stripping into a more revealing costume, she disappears behind a screen and quickly throws her clothes over it, and then is revealed in a nurses mini-smock.  It seems that company does not realize that it is the getting there that is most of the fun in stripping.  (Aug 19)


Some Explicit Polaroids: (***)

This play explores how a recently released attempted murderer re-integrates into his world after spending years in prison.  He still has lots of idealistic anger when dealing with his former girl friend, victim, and a trio of desperate souls.   The play explores many issues including AIDs, political idealism, and sexual abuse.  I realize now that one major problem I had with the play was because the company had not updated the script.  The lead mentions that he was put away in 1984, so I supposed that 20 years had passed, and that he was suppose to be 40 years old.  But the lead and his former associates did not look, nor act, like middle aged people.  Had this date been corrected, much of the play would have made much more sense.  (Aug 19)  


Duck Variations: (**)

As the title indicates, ducks are mentioned in every scene as two old New Yorkers sit on a park bench and discuss life.  It seems like the playwright, David Mamet, set a self-imposed challenge to write as many scenes involving two old men and ducks as he could.   Turns out that the whole is less than the sum of its parts.  (Aug 17) 


Soul II (**)

This is a flamenco troupe that just did not grab me.   Most of the musicians looked bored.  I think the show would have greatly benefited from either a program or an emcee to provide an explanation of the dances.  With the proper interpreter, this could have earned four stars.   For a five star show, albeit not all traditional flamenco, see Venezuela Viva.  (Aug 17)


Sixty-two Tickety Boo: (**)

This very short, 35 minutes, has four women discussing their lives during one night at a bingo parlour.  The show is fast paced and has a few good quips, but simply runs its course.  (Aug 13)


MacBeth – the hour. (**)

Unhappily my jet lag kicked in just as this show started.  Normally I drink a coke before listening to Shakespeare, instead I had had my lunchtime Guinness.  Nonetheless, when I wasn’t dozing I found the scenes well selected and the acting fine.  It would be hard to beat the playwright.  Of note was the use of 18” x 6’ wood rectangles that served as a variety of sets and props—tables, steps, doors, and clamoring sounds of war.  (Aug 7)


A Servant to Two Masters: (**)

My first play of the trip.  Patterned on the Shakespeare Italian comedies with a woman masquerading as a man, this was a pleasant but uneven play.  The initial premise lacked some explanation and made it difficult for my tired mind to sort out the roles.   After a frenetic first scene, the play settled into a more reasonable pace that suited the material.   Befitting the title, the Servant had the best lines and most fun.  All in all a good start for one of many “young” plays I will be seeing.  (Aug 7)


Subverse (Show A): (**)

This show contained eight political pieces ranging from poetry to TV show sketches.  Unhappily, few of the pieces were very satisfying.  Some were overlong, and others just seemed to have no point.  The couple that convinced me to see this show with them said that they had seen Show B, and found it much better.  (Aug 11)


The Thing and I: (**)

This is the story of how a singer gets a part because her secret admirer/piano player murders her competition.  While the singer has an average voice, the piano player’s has become much worse since I saw him in “Gangrene and Grapes”.   “Gangrene and Grapes” is a continuation of this story.   I found that many of the songs did not fit the needs of the situation and plot.  Though there are two notable upbeat songs at the end, the rest of their selections were more of non-melodic Sondheim variety than tuneful Porter.  (Aug 29)


Improvedy: (**)

Four men and a woman do improv based on audience suggestions.   Though there was an occasional witticism, these comedians pale in comparison to the Oxford Imps.  (Aug 16)


Velvet Laughter: (**)

Scott Capurro is a gay man from San Francisco who chooses topics that many would avoid.  While his jokes on the sexual side of being gay work well, he has a tin ear for other arenas.  In particular, he attempted to have fun with child molestation.  After 40 minutes, he clearly had run out of material, and resorted to making fun of the audience.  (Aug 13)


The Pipe Manufacturer’s Blue Book: (**)

A violent killer overtakes a household of precise reasoning.  The precision of the speech within the household mesmerized me, but the extreme violence and appearance of a constable are gratuitous.  In fact, three of the six characters could be cut without loss of plot.  (Aug 14)


Valentine’s Day: (**)

A slight tale about an isolated romantic young man who has a series of sexual misadventures.  While the actor is fine and some of the vignettes were well told, the story as a whole seemed weak.  (Aug 10)


The Treasure of the Puta Madre: (**)

This is really a whimsical radio play of a pirate presented in a theater.  There is little acting, just reading of lines.  The premise that the storyteller, a young woman would be treated as a parrot, including sitting on the pirate captain’s shoulder, just did not work for me.   (Aug 26)


The Albert Einstein Experience: (**)

Four men trying to explain Einstein’s major theories at the level of pub talk?  Sort of works, and has its fun moments, but the task is a bit more than they, or anyone, could handle.  (Aug 9)


How to Build a Time Machine: (**)

A one-man show that tries to explain quantum physics using chicken-wire, corrugated boxes, and electrical wire.  Like the Albert Einstein Experience, this has its cute moments, but has set itself an overambitious goal.


Guys and Dolls: (**)

Unfortunately, musicals, unlike normal plays, have ideals with which to judge them: notes must be hit, and a group should dance synchronously.  Though they clearly tried hard, they missed their notes and their marks too often.  A good high school production of which their parents could be proud.  I was also unhappy that they cut “I’ve Got a Horse Right Here” despite playing it in the overture. (Aug 10)


Korczak: (**)

This musical is based on the true story of a master story teller that ran a Jewish orphanage before and during World War II, including the Warsaw ghetto and Auschwitz.  While the story is undeniably heart wrenching, I had real problems understanding the singing.  The music haunting, but repetitive. (Aug 12)


The Road to Pisa: (**)

As the name suggests this is a takeoff on the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby “Road to …” movies.  Though the plot parallels the plots of those movies, the gags aren’t very good, and no one has a voice close to Bings.  (Aug 25)


The Bicycle Men: (**)

This play has a bicyclist finding himself in a French town in need of having his bicycle repaired.  There just isn’t much here.


Gangrene and Grapes: (**)

A one-man revue about an escaped insane asylum inmate who had murdered a singer’s rivals.  I found it strange that while his poems were well written, and his musicianship fine, his songs were lousy.  He just could not combine his two talents.  (Aug 19)


The Red Shoes: (**)

I would have benefited greatly from knowing this story beforehand.  This patchwork of the original Hans Christian Andersen story and a modern day interpretation was just too confusing for me.  The woman next to me thought it was “amazing”. (Aug 11)


Teechers: (**)

A musical about a drama teacher’s first year at a troubled British high school.   As a teacher, I am predisposed to plays set in schools.  However, this has an unimaginative script, and not a particularly talented cast.  (Aug 19)


Murder We Wrote: (**)

In this the audience tries to determine the murderer of the presenter of a kiddy TV show.  The audience had some fun, but there really wasn’t much here.  (Aug 11)


The Ladyboys of Bangkok: (*)

This show has 13 Thai men appear in drag and lip synch and dance to popular songs.   The audience loved it, while I found it very disappointing that they did not sing themselves.  Seeing men dressed in drag is nothing new to me, and hardly fun.  I felt sorry for the obviously bored and tired performers.  (Aug 26)


Absence and Presence: (*)
This a autobiographical mimed piece about losing ones father.  The somber music, and long pauses of nothing moving, had me dozing.  However, he received a standing ovation from many.  I think many could identify with his grief and loss of a loved one.  I am lucky enough to have not lost anyone to an untimely death.  (Aug 22)


Steve Furst: (*)

I must first admit that some of the jokes relied on cultural knowledge of which I am ignorant.  Nonetheless, this series of five skits sandwiched between six video chapters of the same incompetent stuntman, seemed to leave most of the audience underwhelmed.  Furst creates potentially interesting characters, but their stories and jokes are perfunctory, with the stuntman being the most predictable and least funny. (Aug 6)


Ants with Feelings: (*)

Four comedians with about ten minutes of good material between them tried to fill an hour.   Each, in turn, had the bad habit of introducing each new topic by polling the audience.  Since none have more than one or two jokes on a given topic, this meant we were constantly being polled, rather than hearing comedy.  (Aug 29) 


I’ve Stuttered so I’ll F-F-Finish: (*)

Jaik Campbell is a really nice guy who no longer stutters much, but whose mind can’t seem to get on track for comedy.   His videos were banal, and, as he admitted, his attempts at interacting with the audience just don’t work.   (Aug 29)


Yeehad! The Musical!: (*)

With this one, I paid the price of not reading the synopsis beforehand.  This musical about T Bone Pickens disguising himself as an Arab and detonating a strap-on nuclear bomb in the parking lot of a Korean grocery store in Los Angeles, has bad taste, few good voices, and few good songs.   After the London bombings, I should have avoided a play with this premise because it is particularly disgusting to me.  (Aug 15?)


My Pyramids: (*)

A one woman characterization of the soldier that held the leash of the prisoner pyramid in Abu Ghraib.  She is portrayed as an ignorant bigot accustom to abusing people both in her personal and military life.  The play just criticizes her, and offers no enlightening insights.  (Aug 12)


Lilita: (*)

According to the program Lillith was the woman created by God before Eve and left Eden immortal.  Though she appears in the play, the balance has to do with a mix of Red Riding Hood and child molestation.  The latter is such a important subject, and so poorly handled by this play that it poisons my response. (Aug 12)


Angelo Tsarouchas – The World’s a Whore: (*)

A fat Canadian comic of Greek descent whose humor centers on obesity, Greeks, and Canadians.  Though we started 15 minutes late, he decided to end on time.  Thank goodness.  45 minutes of swearing, and an occasional good joke was enough for me.  (Aug 25)


Priorite A Gauche – Remastered: (*)

Two Brits masquerade as a French musical group.  Their songs lack wit, and their patter is inconsequential.  (Aug 24)


Strangers: (no stars)

A French troupe that uses mime and occasional gibberish in a very uneven attempt to explore the interactions of strangers.  They do have a nice prop of a 3’ high screen that is occasionally raised 3’ above the floor.  This permits us to see just stockinged legs with different shoes used to differentiate the characters.  I also liked a skit using the screen that has a prostrate bum trying to grab a fallen coin while a street sweeper thwarts him. (Aug 7)


Give Up! Start Over!: (no stars)

Great acting by a young woman confronted with the difference between reality and reality TV.  The concept was just too abstract for by dozing mind.  (Aug 8)


The Reggie Watts Tangent: (no stars)

Though he can imitate a beat box, there was almost nothing funny during the entire hour.  (Aug 24)


Into The Closet: (no stars)

Six people in a closet doing very little for six minutes for 4.5 pounds.  Just a waste of money.


The Lesson: (no stars)

A 21-year old “professor” “teaches” his pupil arithmetic by abusing her mercilessly, and finally killing her.  Other than a short guitar solo by the professor, this play offers nothing.  (Aug 13)


F***ing Asylum Seekers: (no stars)

This absurdist comedy about a soccer watching yob whose council flat is taken over by a family of Slavic asylum seekers just has nothing to recommend it.  It is another example of a play that wastes time on a video to no effect.


I should note that this London company, Act Provocateur International, has ten plays at the Fringe.   Avoid them!   I have also seen Valentine's Day.  According to others, the company considers it their job to challenge the audience.  In my view, they are fine actors that are deluded in their belief that they can write.  (Aug 10)

About me:

I am a 52-year old Computer Science lecturer from the University of California in Davis who thinks even a bad play is better than no play at all.  I have been to the Fringe three times before.  Two years ago, after two weeks touring France, my wife and I spent nine days of our honeymoon at the Fringe.  We shared 45 plays, and I attended ten other events besides.   This year, I am fulfilling a dream of seeing an entire Fringe Festival.   I hope to see around 150 performances while I am here.  I expect to devote most days to only one venue to maximize the number of performances I can see.


If you wish to contact me, send e-mail to Sean Davis.