Fringe Day 3 Recap & Reviews: The Summoning, A Mermaid Aboard & A Fish Out of Water, Dick White: Ghost Detective, The Tragedy of Obi-Wan Kenobi

*Note this blog is written by our Executive Producer Kyle B. Dekker. This Fringe season he has decided to chronicle HCM's experiences at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Please enjoy the blog to read about the run of our show, and for reviews of shows Kyle attends during the Festival.

Waiting for Gygax Show #2

Waiting for Gygax had its second show and it sold out! It marks the first ever sellout of my theater career and the biggest crowd I've ever had for a show I was involved in. If you've talked to me at Fringe at all about my show, you know I can't say enough about the cast and crew. They are amazing, and I'm so incredibly proud of them and the show.

Fringe Central and Venue Feedback

I want to hit on two things that have stuck out to me about Fringe this year. The first is The Southern theater. A gorgeous facility that I love seeing shows in - most of the time. During the show yesterday it seemed they had turned off the AC in the theater and it was a sweat box. It's hard to enjoy a show when you are uncomfortable. For the sake of all the shows in that venue, they need to get that fixed.

Grumpy's is Fringe Central this year, and boy is it a miss for such a purpose. A great little bar with decent food, it is far too loud and doesn't have enough seating/staff to accomodate Fringe Central. I don't know if there is a good solution for Fringe Central, this may be one of those perpetual problems a Festival of this size faces.

The Reviews

Again I must reiterate I dislike the rating system on the Fringe website for shows. Bad ratings hurt the chance of an artist making a little money on their work. And even if it's not great I'm not going to tank another producer's shot at having a successful run by giving them a 2-3 star rating. Regardless of the end result of a show, successfully creating and producing five shows for stage is an accomplishment and anyone who puts on a show should be proud, even if it doesn't resonate with an audience. 


The Summoning - Grumpy Bean

This show has a fantastic concept that I adore. Three demons summon a basic white girl into their dimension using a Ouija board and Starbucks. That elevator pitch is amazing, one of the best concepts in Fringe.

The show itself is a bit of a jumble. There are really solid jokes and the cast delivers them well. As a group they have great comedic timing and all of them kept me interested. The pacing was a bit off as the show seemed to want to hurry towards the end, but without a clear course to get there. It roamed without a ton of purpose and ended abruptly.

I would love to see this show remounted with the same cast (they were great) and see the script workshopped a little more with more focus of world building and a tighter, to the point plot. There is definitely something here worth expanding on, it just needs some more polish.

A Mermaid Abroad & A Fish Out of Water - Mermaid Productions

This is the second storytelling show I've seen this year, they consistently are some of my favorites. Storytellers Ariel Leaf and Scot Moore trade very human and touching stories about love, life, childhood, and bodily functions. 

What really stood out to me was how well they utilized their theater space at the Rarig Xperimental with its multiple levels, entrances and views. Storytelling shows can often fall into a trap of becoming a bit dull because of the soothing voice of the performer and lack of visual and/or timbre changes in the stories. No issues with this show, as the movement and alternating between Ariel and Scot in a very fluid and fun manner keeps you invested and interested every minute of the show.

The time flew by in this show and I couldn't believe 50 minutes went by that quickly . The best storytelling shows are the ones that leave you wanting to hear more from the performers and a little sad that the show is over, A Mermaid Abroad & A Fish out of Water did just that.

Dick White: Ghost Detective - I'm Related to Lin Manuel Miranda

A noir Detective must team up with a drug dealing con to solve his own murder. A brief description that does disservice to such a funny, creative, and unique show. I haven't laughed this frequently or hard at a Fringe show in quite a while.

Ostensibly this is a two man show, but they make really interesting use of a couple of other actors to make a very interesting and fun show. My only complaint may be that the jokes come so fast and so frequently I missed some because I was laughing at the one prior. This is another show that made great use of the Rairg Xperimental space as an asset to the show. 

The humor is a creative blend of dick jokes, wordplay, absurdity, and farce. I hope they credit the Kool-Aid man in the show for the number of times they break the fourth wall. This meta approach is experimental and fun and they flaunt it and do it with style in Dick White: Ghost Detective.

The Tragedy of Obi-Wan Kenobi - by Headcanon

This show swings for the fences and completely strikes out. Which was really disappointing to me, because I know several talented actors in the show and they did the best with what they had to work with. 

The script for this show is all over the place, it has no idea what it wants to be. Half the time it is a tongue in cheek Star Wars parody that breaks the fourth wall, but the jokes are pretty bland and you likely have heard some version of them before. The other half of the time the show is rambling, slow, and monologue laden that also shoehorns in obscure references to bottom of the barrel Extended Universe stories. 

I understand and respect that this show was a passion project of writer and lead actor Dave Stanger. He really needed to take a step back and let others rein in his vision. Dave seems like a smart guy, I hope he learns from this and comes back strong with a new idea to Fringe next year. 


I put on one show and saw four putting me at nine total shows attended for Minnesota Fringe 2017.