Saturday, July 25, 2015

EdFringe, Here We Come!

With 52 shows booked at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (and a few slots left to fill), there's a lot of theater in my future. Without doubt, there will be some losers. (The good news is that most shows are 60-75 minutes, so the pain of a bad show doesn't last for long.) There will be some winners as well, though, and a couple of shows that make a real impact are worth sitting through a lot of so-so theater.  Here are the descriptions of some of the shows I'm most looking forward to seeing .
"Hair Peace"
Hair Peace - When Victoria competed in beauty pageants for a previous show a hairdresser advised she wear hair extensions. Freaked out by wearing a piece of somebody else's body she embarked on an extraordinary adventure to find whose hair this was. Victoria's boundless curiosity takes an audience on a serendipitous journey around a world in miniature. There's a baddie, a Russian fortune teller, an unbelievably expensive wedding, a Celebrity Big Brother contestant, forensic crime scene investigations and hair, lots of hair. The outcome is a true story about the search for three strangers from distant lands connected by DNA. How could Wendi and I resist? 

"Where Do Little Birds Go?"
Where Do Little Birds Go -  This one-woman play tells the story of Lucy Fuller, an 18-year-old girl abducted by the Kray twins in 1960s London. Based on a true story, we follow Lucy's journey from small-town teenager to London sex worker.   I know it's a bit dark, but the show won the People's Choice award at a curated theater festival in London earlier this year.  Plus--true confession time--while my tastes these days tend more towards literary fiction, I've read more than my share of serial killer books.

Butterfly - A striking adaptation of Madame Butterfly, exploring themes of love, loss and hope. Told without words, this haunting piece uses visually poetic narrative, handcrafted puppets and a beautiful score to tell the tale of Butterfly, a kitemaker.  While the idea of theater without words might sound a bit strange, I saw a wordless show at an international community theater festival at Venice Theatre last year that was mesmerizing.  If this is half as compelling, it will be a treat. 

"Little Thing, Big Thing"
Little Thing, Big Thing - An ex-con and nun are chased across Ireland for a roll of film... why the bleedin' fuss? Martha and Larry take a high octane jump into the world of international energy skullduggery, awakening passions they thought were dead.  This show caught our eye in part because one of the actors and the theater company have been the previous recipients of Fringe First awards from the Scotsman newspaper. 

The Sunset Five - Faced with losing their beloved watering hole, a pub quiz team stage a casino heist. Hailing from the rundown seaside town of Chipworth, this band of very ordinary misfits come together in an attempt to pull off something truly extraordinary. Think Hot Fuzz meets Ocean's Eleven.   I feel like we're cheating a bit with this one since it's not a new show.  UK Guardian theater critic Lyn Gardner (whose recommendations we rely on heavily) says the show is "full of vim and great music." 

"Jonny and the Baptists"
Jonny and the Baptists: The End is Nigh - Last year, Jonny accidentally told his four-year-old niece that climate change would end the world. To stop her crying, he and Paddy promised to fix it. They really tried very hard…  Last year's Every Brilliant Thing, a solo show starring Jonny Donohoe, was one of my favorites and holds a special place in my heart.  How could I miss Donohoe's return with this musical comedy? 

I'm not planning to blog while I'm away (when would there be time???), but you can follow the fun on Twitter if you're interested.  My exceedingly clever handle is @Nanettecrist17.  And I'll be sure to report back on how these shows held up to my expectations.  I'm hoping for at least a 50% hit ratio! 

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