Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Fringe Day 3, Part 4 - August 8, 2004, 6:00pm

Plants and Animals
Der Stamen Spielers
Bryant Lake Bowl

Woops. I've been doing too many reviews of good shows right in a row, I'm running out of superlatives.

And this show deserves many.

I fell in love with Scot Augustson's writing and Jonah Von Spreeken's acting prowess last year when they were part of the team bringing us last year's Fringe show Gilgamesh, Iowa (my personal favorite of all of 2003, which I went on, and on, and on about - and for which I received a fair amount of teasing, but no matter).

While this show doesn't have the same kind of poignancy that knocked me out last year, it does have all of its predecessor's wit and high energy. Again, two actors play a multitude of roles each, which range across the spectrum of animal, vegetable and mineral. Jonah's partner on stage this year is Megan Hill, who matches him outrageous portrayal for outrageous portrayal. The accents! The passion! The puppets! The killer monkeys! Oh the humanity!

If you're not oddly touched by the love story between a dog and an ear of corn, well, you haven't been to enough Fringe shows yet, I guess.

I've never laughed so much about the near destruction of humanity at the hands of a joint animal and plant revolution. And seriously, with the way we're treating the environment these days, who could blame it for slapping us back a little?

Almost their entire show fits in a duffle bag, and yet this Seattle crew manage to fill the Bryant Lake Bowl stage with such an offbeat army of characters and vignettes, it seems like they must have every resource in the world at their disposal. When storytellers, both on the page and in costume, are this good - that's all the magic a show needs.

I'm going to see if I can squeeze in another performance of this show. The whole thing blazes by so fast (it's only an hour and ten, not a full 90, minutes) that I'm sure to have missed a few tricks.

Catch them before they head back to the great northwest again. We all need a laugh, and this show is full of them.

(For more of my writing - plays, past blog entries and more - visit www.matthewaeverett.com)

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