Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fringe Review - Happy Hour - Sara Stevenson Scrimshaw - 5 stars

Tweet review - Happy Hour - as Mom says, "Happy Hour indeed! That was wonderful!" Joyous sexy all female dance - 5 stars #mnfringe

Mom and I both agreed on the high point of this performance.  Each of the five dance works that make up Sara Stevenson Scrimshaw's Happy Hour are, as the subtitle on the program says, Dances of Booze and Celebration.  Drink #3 of the Happy Hour specials was choreographed by Danielle Robinson-Prater, of DRP Dance.  Sara dances with Danielle's company frequently, and this long-time collaboration shows in their two person dance together here.  Can't say I know what an Argentinian Malbec is, but the title of the piece is "Opulent" and the dance certainly lives up to the name.  One lady has the bottle, the other the glasses they'll need to drink from later.  Both Sara and Danielle have long slinky dark dresses on, and the fabric moves as gracefully as the dancers do.  Both women are perfectly in sync with one another, and the resulting dance is hypnotic and sensual as you watch it unfold.  It's a great piece of work by two people who know one another's moves very well.  It's a treat to watch.  Mom kept bringing it up over and over again throughout the rest of the day after we saw it.

Another high point is the rousing closing number choreographed by Jeffrey Peterson for Champagne, entitled "11.6.2012" (the date of the upcoming election in which we're voting on an amendment to the Minnesota state constitution limiting the definition of marriage to one man and one woman - even though we already have laws on the books to this effect here in Minnesota.  The effect of the amendment would be to double down on making gay marriage illegal, the constitution being harder to undo than a law in the court system).  And what better way to negate all that constitutional silliness than with seven female dancers (Katherine Arndt, Hollie Edlund, Renee Guittar, Crystal Pelletier, Krista Ripperton, Erin Simon, and Rebecca Stuart) joyously coupling and uncoupling in purple outfits to the tune of George Michael's anthem "Somebody to Love," culminating in a pair of brides coming together at the end.  This being a Jeffrey Peterson piece, there was also much kissing.

We also get two comedic interludes from Sara herself, one a hymn to Whiskey played on a ukelele, with dance moves that became increasingly slurred the more whiskey she imbibed.  The other was for Beer, in the guise of a janitor forced to clean up after the striptease artist.

The striptease was called "Green Tease," in honor of Absinthe, and danced by choreographer Gina Louise.  There was also a whacked out, disjointed celebration of Vodka, entitled "Plunging Sirens, starring Happy, Sappy, Goofy and Grumpy."  These inebriated hobos (Stephanie Fellner, Heidi Kalweit, Christine Maginnis - also the choreographer, and Stephanie Narlock) were literally all over the place, as was their musical accompaniment - an assortment of songs from rap to Judy Garland to Alanis Morissette to Whitney Houston.  It was entertaining, if a bit confusing.

Overall, though, a really impressive gathering of different styles of music and dance under a surprisingly effective unifying theme.  This is one of Scrimshaw's best dance offerings yet.

5 stars - Very Highly Recommended

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