Cavemen, Twinkies and Choose Your Own Adventure: Weekend Two at the Fringe Festival
With weekend one of the Houston Fringe Festival under our belts, we ventured back for more indie theater, dance and comedy. This weekend brought acts from across the pond, stories from around the globe and even some Houstonians to the stage. Here is our weekend two wrapup.
Milo and Shyla
Hailing from Austin, Texas, long-form improv team Milo and Shyla brought to Super Happy Fun Land a mix of sharp wit, surreal situations and laugh-out-loud comedy. The duo ran through themes and through the audience (literally) depicting "bloated" chefs, oversexed cavemen, Jesus and the apostles and T-rexes. Their role reversals were spot on and Milo's turn as the naive cavewoman was hilarious. There were times when their sketch was drawn out longer than the joke, but in general they read their audience well.
Fugitive Songs, presented by Famous and Divine, two women from Bedford, UK, brought to the stage a nonlinear string of moments, fantasies and female desires. Expressed through poetry, song and dance, some struck a chord, such as the dangerous woman with the sad past or the longing for something better in life, and then some of these moments were baffling. When you go excavating the human psyche, you are sure to find some peculiar business, especially when there are endless glasses of gin involved. It should be no surprise to the performers, then, that when you go digging too deep, you will lose some of your audience along the way.
Confessions of a Dancemaker
Rosie Trump opens her Confessions of a Dancemaker literally swimming in rejection letters, a feeling any artist can relate to. The piece combines dance, storytelling and performance art. Trump is adorable to watch on stage and her performance style makes you want to join her in a booty-shake and give her a big hug at the same time. Trump intertwines stories of loss and friendship, adoration and betrayal and she does it all with a demure one-person dance party. (On the most subjective of notes, anytime The Smiths show up in a dance performance, I'm sold.)
Ahh, the irony: a competitive eating contest in a famine-struck Somalia. In Live Ate, three eaters are brought together to show a starving Somalian the art of gluttony. It is a clever technique to convey the hunger issues facing Africa. What better way to bring attention to the problem than to make fun of the good ol' U.S. of A. and our love for hotdogs and Twinkies? It is a light and funny piece, touching on a heavy topic; next time I go for that third helping, I'll remember this show.
Dancer and choreographer Tina Mullone shines on stage. Her movements are fluid, strong and simply stunning. Her dance took the audience through times of sadness to pure joy and back again. She is a pleasure to watch.
The Shit We Lost in the Fire
New York-based Sobers and Godley...totally brought it. Acting out a relationship on the verge of destruction, the audience is invited into their intimate history, the good times and the bad times, through dance, song and spoken word. Members of the audience were handed cards with words written on them such as "Sure," "Letters" and "Shots." In random order, the words were shouted out, each illustrating a different aspect of the couple's past. I wish I had seen the show more than once for a sense of the different directions it could have gone in. It was Blue Valentine meets Choose Your Own Adventure performed by Twyla Tharp. In the performance I saw, the couple's love went haywire, a roller coaster of emotions. Both Sobers and Godley are powerful dancers and actors as well. It was easy to get emotionally lost amongst their "shit."
I am sorry to say that the one performance I missed this weekend was FrenetiCore's own The All Hands Meeting. I'll (yet again) blame the heat. I did hear it was fabulous, though.
Nice job to all the performers and to FrenetiCore for keeping theater indie in Houston.
The festival continues into next weekend with the "Anything Goes" portion. Visit www.houstonfringefestival.com for more information.