austin theatre review

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Frontera Fest, Friday the 13th (insert ghost noises)

Reviews of Friday's performances, brought to you by an anonymous reviewer...

I'll start this off with some mini-reviews of Friday the 13th, since Yellow Tape peeps were otherwise occupied:

"Oh My!" - A while back I mentioned to my wife that I had done some Christian Mime back in the day. She thought the fact that Christian Mime existed was complete craziness. This was kind of like Christian Mime only with masks instead of face paint, and your enjoyment was probably at least partially dictated by how you respond to things like Christian mime. There was some dancing and lip-syncing to music. There were some short skits. According to Hyde Park's website, these events of addiction and abuse were taken from the actor's lives. I think if they continue with this it could be very moving, currently it's just a little too rough.

"Tight" is improv. Which normally I'm not into. But this one was quite well done. The subject was a bicycle and they actually had several skits about a bicycle, including a hilarious skit about a drunk father and his son who barely knows him. It was a bit odd coming after the piece about overcoming substance abuse, but whatever, that's Frontera Fest.

"Sixty-Seven" was a piece by the Bedlam Faction taken from their funding transcript with the City of Austin. It started with a comical piece that basically showcased their rehearsal process, although unfortunately they didn't really manage to convey to the audience that that was what they were showing. Then they launched into a full performance of the transcript. Franklin Trumpe especially stood out with his grumpy old codger who felt that Bedlam lacked direction. Eventually the council members turned into monkeys and there was some amazing turning over of tables and general bouncing around. It was a tad alienating, but over all the best piece of the night by far.

"I Don't Care: A Poignant Investigation of the Customer Service Industry, You Jackass." For having next to nothing to do with the Customer Service Industry, this show had a few laughs. Briana Stoger's monologue about a visit to a trendy SO(LA|CO|FI) boutique was hilarious and anchored the piece, although unfortunately they choose in the end to have her aquiesce and admit that perhaps these boutiques were not the root of all evil. Which was lame. There also was a bit about the desirability of being a GAP greeter, and some sports announcers who in no way resembled sports announcers yelling that we know nothing. It didn't really tie together in any way, nor provide any insight into Customer Service, and milking the audience to clap twice seemed a little cheap, but Briana's monologue was quite good.

"Foolish Mortals Improv," another improv troupe. They had a few good bits, and their means of ending a scene via a ninja popping up and killing everyone was quite nice. Overall though it seemed like it might have been an off night for them. And they didn't really use the audience suggestion at all (Froot Loops - the closest they got was a boy with a toucan nose).

Did you have different impressions? Send your reviews to Laura, this time with the spaceman excluded.


  • FYI:
    Improv groups use suggestions as the engine behind a piece, not as something they can just mention to make the audience smile.

    For example, Fruit Loops makes me think of breakfast on Saturday morning, which makes me think of cartoons, which makes me think of toys I could never afford. I may do a scene where I brag about toys.
    That, to me, is much richer than me walking on stage and saying "I want Fruit Loops for breakfast" or mentioning Fruit Loops at some point in the show.

    Too many people are closed-minded when it comes to this stuff.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:10 AM  

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