Our third show on Saturday was perhaps the weakest of the Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB) shows that we’ve seen so far — this is not to say that it wasn’t funny at points, but it was also much more improvised and disorganized.
The show was Mr. Mark Twain Answers All Your Questions, and the premise as described was: “Fresh off his award-winning performance at last year’s Poe Show,* Mr. Mark Twain is back with his one man show! This June at the new Sacred Fools space, Mr. Mark Twain will be shooting out the lights with stories, observations, and general nonsense (with extra nonsense on the side). If he fools around long enough, he may even say something worth repeating.”
As executed, it was a little different. The conceit was somehow that the Federal Bureau of One Person Shows was forcing Twain to do this show for some reason. The show involved Twain telling a few stories of his life, trying to tell some bad jokes, and the reacting and answering a number of questions from the audience in the Twain character. There was some level of audience participation, but in many ways the biggest question was whether Twain’s mustache would stay attached to his face. At our show, it didn’t and he eventually gave up.
Twain was played by a fellow named S. Clemens, who in reality was Ed Goodman (FB). Goodman was reasonably funny and quick on his feet, but I’m not sure he captured the Mark Twain character as the audience might expect.
Corey Rittmaster (FB) providedthe sound and voice, and served as the representative of the FBOPS when Twain broke the rules. Jeremy Aldridge (FB) helped develop the show and served as director. Suz Curtis was the Brainstorm Trooper. Mark Twain was partially funded by an Indiegogo Effort.
There is one more performance of Mark Twain Answers All Your Questions, Saturday June 25 at 11:30pm. Tickets are available through the Fringe Website.
Attention Programmers! Take the Fringe Programming Challenge! Scheduling your shows at the Fringe can be a pain in the …. I’m trying to solve the problem for next year, so take a look at my specs for a Fringe scheduling app. Can you write it?
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Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre critic; I am, however, a regular theatre audience member. I’ve been attending live theatre and concerts in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted. I am not compensated by anyone for doing these writeups in any way, shape, or form. I currently subscribe at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB) and the Hollywood Pantages (FB); my subscription at The Colony Theatre (FB) has gone dormant, and REP East (FB) has seemingly gone dark for 2016. Through my theatre attendance I have made friends with cast, crew, and producers, but I do strive to not let those relationships color my writing (with one exception: when writing up children’s production, I focus on the positive — one gains nothing except bad karma by raking a child over the coals). I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups.
Upcoming Shows: Ah, June. Wonderful June. June is the Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB), and I’ve already written about the shows I plan to see, as well as suggestions to the Fringe regarding viewing the audience as a customer. Our Fringe/June schedule is as follows (for shows in the past, ✍ indicates writeup is in progress; ✒ indicates writeup is complete and links to the writeup):
- ✓ Sat, 6/4: Alien vs. Musical (230p) (✒) • Code 197 DWB (Driving While Blewish) (400p) (✒) • Toxic Avenger: The Musical (600p) (✒)
- ✓ Sun, 6/5: Tell Me On A Sunday (600p) (✒) • All The Best Killers are Librarians (800p) (✒)
- ✓ Sat, 6/11: Pali Hi All Year Picnic • Einstein (400p) (✒) • The Boy from Oz – the Celebration Theatre (FB) (800p) (✒)
- ✓ Sun, 6/12: Titus Andronicus Jr. (700p) (✒); and then the Tony Awards when I get home.
- ✓ Sat, 6/18: 30JJ or Bust: The World is My Underwire (1130a) (✒) • Lamprey: Weekend of Vengeance (200p) (✒) • Mark Twain Answers All Your Questions (600p) (✒) • The Old Woman (800p) (✍)
- ✓ Sun, 6/19: Sweet Love Adieu (100p) • All Aboard the Marriage Hearse (400p)
- Sat, 6/27: Squeeze My Cans (400p) • My Big Fat Blond Musical (830p)
- Sun, 6/28: Temple Israel Reunion • Hamlet (Las Vegas Style) (630p)
Whew. July brings us back to conventional theatre, with Beautiful at the Hollywood Pantages (FB) and the Western Corps Connection (FB) the first weekend, Grey Gardens at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB); the second weekend, The Little Mermaid at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB); the third weekend, Weird Al Yankovic at the Hollywood Bowl (FB) and Operaworks (FB) Opera Re-Constructed at CSUN; the fourth weekend, a mid-week Hollywood Bowl (FB) concert of Wynton Marsalis and Aaron Copeland, and … currently nothing for the weekend. As of right now, August is completely open. One weekend has a bar mitzvah, and there are a few holds for show, but nothing is booked. Late August may see us looking at shows down San Diego/Escondido for one weekend. The best of the shows available — or at least the most interesting — is Titanic from Moonlight Stages. September is similarly mostly hold dates at this point. As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Bitter-Lemons, and Musicals in LA, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves.