Now it’s getting real. And by that, I mean now I’m noticing how weak I’ve gotten in the last year. One late 4-AM night and suddenly I’m getting tired near the end of my workday? It’s all this soft living, and it has got to go. Still, I woke up today feeling strong, biked to work, and later to the Fringe, and despite some early drowsiness made it to my first show with time to spare.
That first show, or show #5 for this Fringe for those keeping count (you all are, right?) was PURELY CABARET, by Esby Kabaret Productions. The brainchild of one delectable Miss Lindsay Sutherland Boal, and starring herself and her pianist Elisabeth Scholtz, the show is an hour of Cabaret classics from the Weimar Republic, a period of parliamentary rule in Germany reaching from approx.1919-1933
..most songs were in English, tho with a few German-language originals thrown in. Boal is perfectly at ease regardless. A few personal asides from her notwithstanding (charming though they are), most of the show is a nonstop cavalcade of tunes from Lindsay’s opera-trained voice, from raucous ballads to chest-pounding sturm-und-drang emotional grinders, and she seems to feel every emotion intended at top volume. I remember exactly the moment she had me…when I became putty in her hands, and when you will too, if you see this show. If not earlier, it could be earlier, true…but when Jenny makes up her mind..? You’re DONE.
Lindsay’s voice is a finely tuned instrument, and NOT a delicate one. I’m pretty sure she could deliver a Mortal-Kombat-style finishing move with her high range falsetto if confronted in a dark alley. Girl’s got pipes, is all I’m sayin’.
Here’s an aside…you ever plot out your Fringe shows for the night, and set out to seeing them, only to notice that some gaggle of total strangers has fluked out and also plotted the EXACT same set of shows, and you end up seeing them everywhere you go? That happened tonite. Which is fine, and it allowed me to overhear something about this show a little later on. Namely, the notion that if Lindsay had only worked harder, especially given her theatrical background, she could have turned this into a genuine SHOW about Weimar, using the music as a base, rather than just a collection of songs. And to that, I can only reply the following: I absolutely agree. It’s true.
And if Lindsay Sutherland Boal had wings, she could fly. The point isn’t what sort of show someone could have made out of this material…it’s how good was THIS show, being what it was, and what it is? And what it is, my friends and enemies, is exactly what the name says…purely cabaret. You want a play made out of it? Write it your fucking self, and quit channelling Gladys Kravitz already.
Pardon my tone, but I’ve been overhearing entirely too much kvetching and moaning in the first two days of this fringe, and it is starting to vex me. I’m coming close to writing entirely unkind things about some, and I don’t wish to do that. Instead, I’ll just remind everyone of that famous old quote by civil war historian and amateur tachyonologist Maximillian Optimus Jones :
‘Fringe is awesome. Shut the fuck up and enjoy it, already.’
Thanks, Max. And just in time, ‘cause I have to boot it to The Arts Court Library (my first visit this Fringe to this claustrophobic location) for the premiere of UNDERNEATH IT ALL from 1331 Productions. Written and directed by a Scotswoman by the name of Catriona Grozier (Catriona being an already classic Fringe-name), it’s the story of two office workers who end up stuck in the same closet with each other at a party…and they hate each others guts. Which sounds horribly sitcom-esque, although they go fun places with it. There’s an immediate staging problem, though…half the scenes feature the two mains sitting on the floor…and as anyone who’s ever seen a show in the bookless library will tell you, if someone is sitting on stage? You can’t see them past the second row. So there’s that. The leads are strong…not amazing, but strong. Though there IS some killer dialogue in there…if you’re looking for something terrible to call a recently ex-lover, this is the show for you. And the set is lovely.
Off then at a run (sorry, Crystalline Entity, I didn’t end up checking in with you at SAW..!) to Café Alt….I wanted to get there early so I could make sure to get in, because I suspected this next show might sell out. Which I’m pretty sure it did. The show being CACTUS: THE SEDUCTION by someone called Jonno Katz. And to this show I can only say…what a fucking waste of time.
Seriously! What a total waste of my time, writing a review to a Jonno Katz show. It’s god-damned JONNO KATZ. It’s like writing a review of a Bowie album, or Superman punching out a meteor. Who cares? We KNOW it’s awesome, just give it to us already!! GIVE IT!!
All on the same page? Then let’s speed off (and I mean speed, because Jonno ran long…he does like to improvise) to the classic Arts Court Theatre, for IT’S RAINING IN BARCELONA. Translated from an original play by one Pau Miro, who is maybe from Barcelona..? I dunno. But it’s a dandy by Bundle of Joy Productions, a story of a prostitute with a thirst for knowledge, her pimp, her client, and where that takes us all…I won’t reveal more except for that the performances were punch-to-the-chest fantastic. I’m still catchin’ my breath..! Tho that may be partly due to the excessive drinking and the long bike ride home. But what’s a pulmonary infarction or two among friends?
As insinuated, I retired then to the beer tent, and happily met up with me old workmate Patty. We drank and danced until after last call, long enough for me to get an extremely intriguing invitation (more on that next time), and the looming threat of my potential 7-show day. I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t know if I WANT to do it. But I just spotted that the Fringe website itself has started actively linking to me (and please, call me Visitor…only my Mum calls me ‘Kevin’), so I guess I should at least LOOK like I’m trying hard.
Oh, and by the way…yesterday was June the 18th. Which makes it the second anniversary of the time in my life when I absolutely did not give a shit about theatre. Two years and one day ago from me writing this, I had never voluntarily seen a play in my life.
Then I wandered into the Fringe Festival. And I’ll see you tomorrow, won’t I?
The Visitor…and here I am.