2012 Chicago Fringe Fest: More Picks to See Including *Best of Show*

2012 Chicago Fringe Fest:  More Picks to See Including *Best of Show*

Another taste of Chicago’s 2012 Fringe Fest…

2012 Chicago Fringe Festival presents HANDSHAKE UPPERCUT by Jay Dunn and John Leo.

The early buzz predicts this Brooklyn-based duo will win *Best of Show.* Jay Dunn and John Leo are just a pair of old-fashion, slutty mimes.  They are formal and crass.   Wearing adult onesies and ties, the two perform a variety of shticks that disturb and thrill.  The continued contrast between polite and gross makes for ongoing hilarity.  Dunn and Leo are in opposition onstage but it’s obvious they are bound by a tight synergy, unquestionable trust and impeccable timing.  The show is all about the original experience and I wouldn’t want to ruin it.  But I’m still dazed by a surprising boot bit.  The mannerisms and facial expressions are a majority of this uniquely, impressive show.  So, a good seat is essential.  As soon as the house opens, scurry in and get a seat in the *center* section.  The show is interactive so if you want to leave untouched, sit in the back row.  From lights up, you’ll enjoy watching everything these guys drag in, stomp on, serve up.  Dunn and Leo make Shields and Yarnell look like carnie rejects.  HANDSHAKE UPPERCUT is this year’s Chicago Fringe Fest *Must See.*

At Americana Stage, 600 W. Cermak 

SHOWS LEFT:  September 6th at 10pm, September 8th at 8:30pm, September 9th at 7pm

Production photography courtesy of Amy Bolger.

2012 Chicago Fringe Festival presents AS WE LIKE IT by Messenger Theatre Company.

Among all the ribbons and hatboxes, this show is a pretty little package.  Emily Davis and Sally Zimmerman devise and perform their two person adaptation of the Shakespeare classic.  Clad in ball gowns, Davis and Zimmerman play an energetic and stylish game of dress-up as a classic.  As cousins, Rosalind and Cecelia or lovers, Orlando and Rosalind, their antics are sweet adorability.  The two ladies slip paper makeshift hats, belts, skirts on and off as they slip into a different Shakespearean character.  Animated paper sock puppets fill out the rest of the ensemble.  The whole story swirls forward with an impromptu make-believe vibe.  It’s easy to believe we are watching kids pretend.  They giggle.  They sing. They chase ribbons. They kiss using their hands.  Davis and Zimmerman sip from age-defying elixir and ta-da, they captivate!  It’s that pure innocence that makes this story a delightful charmer.  Just as I like it, AS WE LIKE IT is a fun-loving frolic!      

At Dream Theatre, 556 W. 18th Street 

ONLY ONE SHOW LEFT:  September 6th at 10pm

 2012 Chicago Fringe Festival presents THE ROAST OF CINDERELLA by The League of Miscreants

What happens *after* happily-everafter?  Marital bliss with your prince charming?  Not according to these bitches!  The Disney heroines have gathered in tribute for one of their own. These booze-soaked princesses are ready for a smackdown:  Cinderella, Fiona, Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Alice, Fairy Godmother, Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent and Leia?  The Star Wars character initially seemed out of place in this cartoon buffoonery.  But Barb Bechtold-Wright (Leia) was scathingly hilarious comparing her escapades to these tiara wearing debutants.  The roast is facilitated by Shannon Ennis (Tinkerbell).  Ennis is pucking fantastic.  Her twinkling eyes and spritely stature contrast brilliantly to her truckdriver-sailor-love-child persona. All the ladies are drinking and dressed in their native garb.  It’s obscenely clever.  Janet Paliatka (Snow White) is particularly funny going from squeaky voiced jabs to a well-sung, mean-spirited aria.  This isn’t your Disney G-rated childhood idols.  It’s the untold back stories of dwarf fetishes, ogre penises and daddy issues by the c#nts that lived it.  If Walt Disney was still alive, this show would kill him.  THE ROAST OF CINDERELLA is a mother f#cking hoot!           

At Dream Theatre, 556 W. 18th Street 

SHOWS LEFT:  September 8th at 4pm and September 9th at 8:30pm 

2012 Chicago Fringe Festival presents SORRY TO DISAPPOINT ME by Eric Bjorlin.

Storyteller Eric Bjorlin recites his midlife crisis.  Bjorlin has turned 30 and imagined his life differently.  He thought he would be married with children.  Instead, he’s a writer with roommates.  Bjorlin’s autobiography is chronicled with interesting details, organized flow and a lot of *now* transitions.  But, the former math teacher delivers his contemplation in emotionless monotone. His life is a story problem that never feels like a real difficult problem.  I kept waiting for Bjorlin to spin out of control or at least come untucked.  I was looking for a punchline in this very academic overview.  Despite revealing some snippets about a playful side, Bjorlin remained fairly serious.  His calculated narration of his personal life wasn’t very intimate.  Ultimately, I remained unengaged.  SORRY TO DISAPPOINT ME was…disappointing.       

At Both Sides Art Gallery, 1840 S. Halsted 

SHOWS LEFT:  September 6th at 10pm and September 8th at 8:30pm

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