Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Fringe Review - Serif Punglasses - Raven Timberlake - 3 stars

Tweet review - Serif Punglasses - quirky little ramshackle sketch comedy show; ode to friendship stronger than Fringe deadline pressure; 3 stars #mnfringe

"All those months of dedication, determination and potty training are about to pay off."

Only at the Minnesota Fringe Festival could this odd little duckling be born and take flight.  Serif Punglasses caught my (and I'd wager many other people's) attention during the first Fringe-For-All preview this year.  Their Gay-B-Gone "spray away the gay" live commercial was just weird and funny enough to make us all think, "Hey, that show might be a lot of fun."  Turns out, yes, it is a lot of fun.

"If your heterosexuality lasts longer than four hours, please see a doctor."

Artistic partners in crime playwright Maggie Danger and slam poet Spencer Retelle have assembled a goofy little assortment of sketches and stories that work well.  Some are based in life experience, some are in the "where the heck did they dream that up" category, but all are enjoyable.  Color commentary on the new Baby Olympics.  Tales of humiliation and rebellion working in a costume as Spongebob Squarepants.  Special photo paper that tears neatly when you need to cut an ex-lover out of the picture.  A cross-species human/space alien couple getting hooked on that ancient phenomenon known as YouTube.

"A grown up Christopher Robin stoned out of his mind and wandering through the Hundred Acre Wood."

The show is also a tribute to their friendship - how they met one bleary morning after in the apartment shared by their respective new dating partners, how their friendship grew, and then how they managed to pull together a Fringe show in time for August.  It's both sweet and funny, instead of seeming conceited.  They're entertaining, so we don't mind hearing about the particulars of their personal lives.  They know how to tell a story, and how to land a joke.

"I'm just a creepy adult in a box who wants to hug you."

The production itself has all kinds of rough edges showing but that's part of its charm.  They're maybe a little more in love with prop and costume gags than they need to be.  The comedy speaks for itself without a lot of window dressing.  And there's a bewildering abundance of light cues, particularly when they're in a "back and forth" talking sequence deconstructing how they met and became friends.  If one person's talking and the other isn't - we'll look at the person who's talking.  You don't need to flipping lights up on one and down on the other.  You can trust us to follow along.  The stage isn't that big.

"Alfred Hitchcock with a smart phone - Really Angry Birds."

All in all, Serif Punglasses is a pleasant way to while away a Fringey hour.  Now that they've been through it all once, imagine what they'll come up with next time.

3 stars - Recommended

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