What gives a show its edge
Date: 19 August 2010
I have been trying to attend shows at the Fringe in between performing my own and have noticed a vast difference in quality and professional polish. I happen to love the immediacy of shows that are performed without much production because they are so real and feel like the actors are talking directly to me. Welcome to Afghanistan! is one of those shows. The script is a view of Afghanistan in 1839 and the actor plays several parts with great expertise. The show is produced by Monkey Do Theatre and Jon Bonfigilio at Venue 339 at 1:50 pm. Make no mistake, this is a one man presentation, not a production. It is wonderful all the same and makes the point that history repeats itself.
Most stand up comedy is like that as well: a presentation rather than a production. My own comedy show, Granny's Gone Wild changes every day as I add and subtract jokes from the text. Jay Foreman sings his songs at the Underbelly in the same format. He stands before his audience and amuses them, talks to them and charms them as only Jay Foreman can do. Both these shows are excellent and should not be missed but they are casual in every sense. They are not slick, well timed, fast paced plays. They are experiences.
In contrast, The Door at the Cowbarn at 12:30 and The S&M show that finished on the 15th were productions with scenery, a director and controlled, careful lighting. It is that extra touch that makes these two shows so memorable. And that is why I find Fringe shows so delightful. I am given a variety of presentations, many different formats and I can decide for myself which one has entertained me and which has moved me or given me something memorable to think about. Each of these shows had value in its own way but the ones who more casual are not likely to make the "big time" until they have invested in some kind of professional production techniques.
- by Lynn Ruth Miller
Any opinions expressed above do not represent the view of Whatsonstage.com nor any of its staff or contributors beyond the bylined author.
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