Fringe Day 4 Reviews: Code L-O-V-E, The Well, Death in Yosemite

*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 #3 Tonight and Possible Encore Shenanigans

Tonight at 8:30PM Waiting for Gygax has its third show. There is some good buzz and great reviews for the show, I hope you can watch it. If we get a second consecutive sell out that puts us in good contention for the encore slot for Fringe. There's a wrinkle there as Matt Saxe who plays Pozzo in Gygax also plays Emperor Palpatine in The Tragedy of Ob-Wan Kenobi which has had two sell outs. There are talks of a possible oil wrestling match between the directors of the shows if both do win the encore slot and have to determine which Matt Saxe performs in. Stay tuned for some possible fun. 

The Reviews

The usual disclaimer of I don't like to use the Fringe website system because of the rating system (you don't rate art on a 1-5 scale) and the character limit. I only managed three shows on Sunday as I wasn't feeling well and I opted for rest so I could finish Fringe in one piece.

Code L-O-V-E - Highlander Kitty


A retooling of the Cyrano de Bergerac story set in an WWII espionage outfit. Cynthia Debbret is a master spy who secretly loves master code breaker Robin Bell, but instead helps new spy recruit Christine Neuville woo Robin through coded love letters to him. If you can't tell by the cleverly swapped names, this is a gender reversal of the classic story.

The costumes were great the blocking was effective and the performances by the cast were phenomenal. Highlights were Meredith Kind (Cynthia) and Megan Guidry (Christine) but the entire cast portrayed their characters with nuance and grace. The second act of the show was a little slow in pacing, but helped set up an excellent and very emotional third act.

This was a ton of story to cram into 50 minutes, and it worked well. I loved seeing a twist of the classic Cyrano story and it's great to mix up a Fringe schedule with a solidly crafted and entertaining drama.

The Well - Coattail Productions

This is the first horror play I've ever seen and I love the concept. A period piece set in Scotland with great acting, set pieces, and a costume surprise at the end I won't soon forget. My only complaint about the show is I wanted a little more from each character especially the last one we see on stage.

The story follows four members of a Scottish family taking shelter in some ancient ruins in the middle of a storm. Rough folks returning from a raid of one of their neighbor's farms, they aren't the type to scare easily. One by one things happen to them and the mystery and the fear grows. It cumulates with the appearance of something I wanted to see more of on stage (but won't go into details for spoiler reasons). The costumes, props and blood effects are top notch for Fringe or really any stage play I've seen. The well set piece is fantastic and they made interesting use of its modularity. The cast was phenomenal and maintained Scottish dialects throughout and pulled it off. Lana Rosario gets the nod as my favorite character with a emotional performance.

The venue Ritz Studio was a little cramped and made for some poor sight lines and awkward blocking, and the sound design was a little more basic than I would have liked to see in a horror show. I wished the third act was more detailed I feel they could have played up the terror aspect in it a little more. Overall a really strong showing from a first time producer at Fringe.

Death in Yosemite: A comedic adaptation of the Non-Fiction Book - Rooftop Theater Company

A great concept and a very funny piece of edutainment. The title tells it all, the audience is treated to true stories of the idiotic things people have done in Yosemite National Park to cause their own demise. A show that never takes itself seriously, it's fun and informative.

The ensemble cast play a group of tourists who reenact stories of death while narrated by a park Ranger. While the entire cast does a great job, the star of the show is Edwin Strout as the Park Ranger. Without his set up and weaving of the stories together I don't think this show works, his character and performance is the glue of the show that keeps it from just being a series of sketches. Most admirably is the expert use of the Theater in the Round space as it is obvious great care and detail was used in the entrances and blocking of this show, and it enhanced the enjoyment from the audience.

Many silly props such as foam rocks, granola bars, and water guns (if you sit in the front row you have the chance to use one on the actors) are used to up the physical comedy in this show. The jokes are good, though at times they rely too much on swear words for the punchline and outshine the actual joke that is there. If you like high energy performances by a cast with great comedic chops and informative gallows humor, this show is for you. 


Three shows on day four, putting me at 13 total shows attended during the festival.