Fringe Reviews, Part 1

Note that the following reviews are the completely subjective opinions of the specific writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the other members of Assaulted Fish. Today’s featured reviewer is Kuan Foo.

In writing reviews, I hope to be able to give you an idea of what the show is like so that you have some additional information on how best to spend your time and money on the over 700 performances at this year’s Fringe. My completely subjective rating system is as follows:

5/5 Transcendent. I will likely be talking about this show for years to come and steal from it shamelessly.

4/5 Excellent. A top-notch production that deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.

3/5 Good. A solid production that may not necessarily be my thing but is still enjoyable particularly if you are a fan of the artist or the genre.

2/5 Fair. Has some good points but needs a bit more work. You pays your money and you takes your chances.

1/5 Disappointing. Friends and family only.

0/5 Uhhhh. Would not recommend unless you can get in free and then only to analyze what went wrong.

Martin DockeryThe Exclusion Zone with Martin Dockery

The Exclusion Zone – This is the third Martin Dockery show I’ve seen at the Fringe and if there is such a thing as a sure thing at the festival, he is it. His two-hander, Moonlight After Midnight, was probably my favourite show at the 2014 Fringe. This year, he’s back in his more familiar guise as a solo storyteller. The Exclusion Zone is a hyperactive travelogue through the irradiated zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, but it is also an exploration of one of Dockery’s favourite authors, Geoff Dyer, and Dyer’s book about one of his favourite movies, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, and how that movie can be a metaphor for Chernobyl as well as for both Dyer and Dockery’s creative processes. If that sounds convoluted, then you are starting to get an idea of Dockery’s circular and multilayered storytelling. Charismatic, thought provoking and frequently very, very funny. 4/5

The Birdmann in Momentous Timing – Part stand-up comedy, part deliberately-inept vaudeville act and part poignant observation on love and the passage of time, The Birdmann in Momentous Timing is somewhat hampered by a meandering structure and a weak through-line so it never quite lives up the surreal promise of its title. Still, Trent Baumann (the titular Birdmann) is an appealing performer who lobs his one-liners with such a relaxed, amiable smile that it sometimes takes a second or two to register how witty and well-crafted they are. The audience we saw it with was roaring with laughter by the end. 2.5/5

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