Fringe Reviews, Day 2

This will be a two-parter, since I'm online in between the play today I have seen and the play today I have not. Hopefully that makes sense, but 3 trips to the beer gardens today and I'm a bit tipsy.

This morning's performance was Underneath the Lintel, which sorta sounds like a Gwen Stefani song but is really an interesting tale about a disgraced librarian trying to track down a seriously overdue book with a seemingly impossible trail that turns out to be a little too easy. As things go along, it turns out the reason there was coincidently always another clue was because somebody was always leaving one. Could the late book return be from the Wandering Jew? What implications does it have to our existence? And will the search ruin a second man's life?

The one-man performance by John D. Huston (who looks sort of like Dean Stockwell) is incredible, a full 90 minute no-break show. There was possibly a technical glitch that kept the slides from running... or possibly not, since it could have all been part of the show. Readers who attend other showings could possibly fill me in. It was a great performance in any regard, and highly recommended.

Update, August 18 2007 10:44am: Last night I also saw Futures, a 4-person audio-visual heavy play that can be quickly summarized as pretty weak: particularly if you aren't so far gone to actually think this global warming scam is true.

The year is 2014. Global warming is considered to be out of control, and even if everybody started living in caves nothing would change. (Basically Bjorn Lomborg's prediction, only this time illogically dedicated to the belief that we still should "do something"). A massive world conference is being held to deal with the change. Dr. Hannah something, M.I.T.'s leading climate change researcher, has come up with a way to let us keep burnin' fossil fuels and just scrub carbon out of the air. But to get her findings to those who need it, she'll need to deal with her activist ex-boyfriend, a sleazy investment-seeking spook, and the fact that the only reason I cared about her character is because the actress who plays the role, kindergarten teacher Marissa Robinson, is hot (especially when she's in just a bra and tight pants halfway through the show).

Oh, speaking of which, the play is a little longer than the 75 minutes advertised. For those of us who had tried to make plans, and found ourselves late for appointments.

The other actors, Nicholas Cole, Matthew Spinney, and Scott Shannon, are all decently okay. It's a shame they get bogged down in what's classic "fringe overplay"... a lot of dramatic jumps to all 4 members speaking in unison. The playbill features a message from the playwright, Len Falkenstein of New Brunswich, who rants about how he started caring for the environment because of his kid, which is almost a shame as if he really cared for children he wouldn't have written such an overbearing script.

There is also a rather serious technical problem: two large multimedia screens are used to show pictures, and also titles for segments of the production. The problem is, they never thought much about the sightlines in the Varscona Theatre, and as a result even close to the centre you spend too much time totally unaware of whats on screen as set pieces are left haphazardly in the middle of the stage. Seriously kids, that's what rehearsals are for.