Editor's note: Every year we look forward to the theatrical inspiration from companies across the valley that comes together for the Vegas Fringe, hosted by Las Vegas Little Theatre. Our team of reviewers has worked to cover each of the 11 shows. Here is the second in our series from
Paul Atreides. The Fringe continues 6/15-6/18. Beat the heat and catch them all this weekend!
Between my colleagues here at Eat More Art and I, it was another year of Fringe, another year of hit and miss. For my part, it ended up fifty-fifty.
“A Fuppin’ Fringe Show” ★★★★★
An irreverent, off-color, hour of frantic fun. Fast paced and full of chaos, they touch on all kinds of topics from an old couple committing suicide in “Off Golden Pond” to an untitled neighborhood child molester. The finale is a playwright’s dream gig exerting total control over characters.
My personal favorites were Geo Nichols and Gus in a sketch about a man trying to sneak through the airport TSA checkpoint with more carry-on than allowed. “Only one carry-on. The rest you’ll have to check,” says Nichols pointing to an enormous pile of dildos.
“Slappy’s Anatomy” brought a clown killed in a car accident. In a Volkswagon Beetle. With seventeen others. Cliché? Yes. Because of the way they presented it, it was hilarious.
The entirety works so well, without offending, because the cast stayed so on-point, so fully embraced the character, whether the skit lasted five second or five minutes. And the pace never let up. Even with a needed scene change they kept the antics going.
“I Hear You! I’m Just Not Listening” ★☆☆☆☆
What began funny with skewering preconceived notions and fake news, quickly faded into doldrums. The actors were slow to pick up on cues, mimed props went astray, and physical reactions didn’t quite live up to the stated emotions of a piece.
Many of the sketches went on too long – as often happens with SNL, we got the joke long before they were done in an attempt to hammer home the message. Such was the case with a couple (Thea Deley and Kris Chung) in a Mexican restaurant as she is serenaded thinking the lyrics sensuous and beautiful, while he finds them offensive because he is fluent in Spanish.
The cast also wrote the sketches and two really fell flat for me. In a women’s rights take on Low T commercials, they missed the mark by being too graphic. The one I’ll call “Woman ‘Splaining” didn’t find the correct tone, let alone the right idea. It’s as if they’ve heard the jokes about man ‘splaining but just weren’t listening. Or, maybe I missed their joke.
They presented a final song to recap the hour with a waltz tempo which wasn’t conducive to comedy. Director Natalie Shipman needed them to pick up the pace, and deliver the punch lines with some punch.
It’s disappointing to say the least. There’s nothing worse than going in with high expectations and coming out with a big let-down.