2009 Edmonton Fringe Reviews: Day 1

My 2009 Fringe Theatre Adventure began with a little play called Noncommittal. This play was billed as exploring why men can't commit, but what it really is instead is a tale of two couples who undergo a breakup at roughly the same time. Ben and Liz start this play off with the 4 words that nobody wants to hear: "We need to talk". Is there any place where this phrase is good news? You don't want your significant other to say that to you. You don't want your boss to say it. You're not keen on your parents bringing it up (one person I know learned about her parents sexual perversions once with that phrase). Liz breaks up with Ben, and soon we learn that Tom, Ben's best friend (played by the author of the play) has just broken up with his girlfriend as well, the smoking hot Amber. Meanwhile, through Tom's music he explores how long you need to wait for love, what parts of a person must change to be happy, and whether or not he's queer for his friend (a recurring sub-theme that I was happy to see abandoned). The acting, particularly the non-vocal acting by Amber and Ben, were excellent. The music by Tom, was a little... um... not great. It was like the Family Guy featuring Stewie's musings how "douchebags ruin the guitar". Also a downer: the play opened up in a messy apartment featuring a magazine on the floor that featured President Monkey on the cover. Talk about ways to start things off on the wrong foot! Amber, bless her soul, ended up covering it up halfway through the play. The other issue I had was with the writing of the male characters. Too often, Ben and Tom's personalities weren't wildly distinguished from each other and Ben's proclivities for jokes (which appeared mysteriously halfway through the play) suddenly appeared in both characters. Be sure to admire Amber's outfit though: she does that 'hold the collar of my shirt so I don't flash everybody when bowing' move which disappointed me, but she has great legs and hid PMOTUS for me. I'm in love. Until tomorrow.

Secondly I attended Kreskinned. This time I didn't go alone, I went with a girl who really enjoyed the subject matter (hence the invite). She's a hypnofetishist, you see, who if you attended Capital Ex this year you saw get put under almost daily. So basically as I'm watching the show, I'm dimly aware that basically for her this is like porn. This tells the story of two people hooked up on a blind date at a hypnosis show, only to accidentally discover later that they have remembered the triggers that put them back asleep. They use it to get around awkward moments, mostly... stories that turn out to be worse than expected, sexual miscues, unintended revelations, etc. This is a whole lot of both comedic and also dramatic potential in this plot device, so its a shame to see it squandered on a couple cheap laughs and fart jokes. On the other hand, the sexual scenes do allow actress Jaimi Reese to show off how good she looks in her underwear. The actors have a lot of energy, but it also means their characters get it too, and sometimes its a bit much. We do have a bit of a sweet story with a surprise ending that disappointed the hypnofetishist (ergo, you can guess how it ends I suppose) and some good acting with lots of cleavage. In the end though the opportunities to do more stood out. I was also assured over MSN the next day that the hypnosis wasn't accurate. Now I know how people feel watching SciFi with me.