Saturday, July 15, 2023

Fringe 2023 - Returning Favorites - Maximum Verbosity (phillip andrew bennett low)

Too Many Notes

Five shows. Two decades. One whiskey-addled neurotic. A different show every night, featuring original tales of comedy, horror, and everything in between.

Venue: Augsburg Studio
Tagged for: Comedy, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Solo Show, Spoken Word, Original Music, Storytelling, Historical Content, Literary Adaptation, Political Content, Religious Content
Content Warnings: Adult language, Violence, Crude Humor, Sexual Content, Drug Content, Loud noises, Mental illness, Sexual violence, Suicidal ideation/self-harm, Gun/Weapon Usage, Abuse/Physical Violence, Other Divisive Content

If you love being told a good story, you should see one or all of these performances.

I’ve seen them all before, and I would happily see them all again (and if I can get the schedule gymnastics to work out, I may just do that).

The Rundown for “Too Many Notes”
8/4 - 10pm - Get Thee Behind Me, Santa: An Inexcusably Filthy Children’s Time-Travel Farce for Adults Only
8/6 - 5:30pm - The Concept of Anxiety
8/8 - 8:30pm - The Gray and the Gold
8/12 - 1pm - On The Concept of Irony (with No Reference to Socrates)
8/13 - 7pm - Camelot Is Crumbling: An Arthurian Nightmare

Two of them I’ve only seen in an online format, so I’d be especially anxious to see both of those live and in person, the way I’m sure the storyteller originally intended.  On The Concept of Irony (with No Reference to Socrates) was part of the first pandemic Minnesota Fringe online in 2020.  The Gray and the Gold was part of the Minnesota Fringe online in 2021.  They both made good use of the online format, and The Gray and The Gold got particularly inventive.  But there’s nothing quite like seeing something live, so I’m happy phillip is providing the opportunity to revisit these two on stage.

About The Concept of Irony:
(comic horror) What happens when human folly runs face-first into apocalypse? Stolen placentas, political genies, sad puppies, Elder Gods, cryogenically frozen comedians...welcome to this year's grotesque anthology of comic horror, with no mention whatsoever of a certain ancient Greek philosopher.

About The Gray and The Gold:
(dark fantasy) A gray-man, skin dirt-gray, sets out into the desert to find a golden maiden, stopping for long palavers with a pale man along his way. Tale of some colorful folk, say I, with tongues of gold, whatever their skins may be.
(and hey, what do you know, that complimentary quote on his Fringe page is one of mine :) " engaging but dark tale of a wandering man on a quest full of talking wolves, cryptic cannibals, unexpected zombies, and bad dreams; first rate experimentation..." (yup, still agree with myself on that)

The Concept of Anxiety is reaching back a full decade to Fringe 2013, so that’s overdue for a rewatch, and I’m sure phillip has learned a thing or two about performing in the intervening years that he’d love to apply here (which is probably why it’s on the roster).

About The Concept of Anxiety:
(short sci-fi) Death and the deathless. Dragon shadows. Medicinal dreams and time machines. Your biological clock is ticking, and it's time to get metaphysical in this verbose cabaret of macabre geekery. Fondly dedicated to everyone who is dying. Especially you.

I did see Get Thee Behind Me, Santa on its opening night at the 2019 Fringe, but since that August 1st was literally just a month after my mother died of a brain tumor, I was physically present at that festival but more than a little stunned and in shock still.  I will doubtless have a more fully engaged mind this year to better appreciate both the comedy and the borderline sacrilegious content (which Mom, bless her, would have loved; she always appreciated phillip’s grasp of the biblical source material, and his willingness to play around with it).

About Get Thee Behind Me, Santa:
(comic fantasy) It’s December 21st, 2012, and something’s gone terribly wrong with the timeline. Now it’s up to Saint Nicholas, a soft-boiled detective, and an unknown carpenter’s son named Jesus of Nazareth to set things right in this giddily blasphemous collection of literary parodies!

And it wouldn’t be a proper showcase of the phillip andrew bennett low oeuvre without a sampling of his creative re-imaginings of King Arthur, Merlin, the Knights of the Round Table, and Camelot and all their many loves and nemeses.  So it’s good to see Camelot Is Crumbling: An Arthurian Nightmare on the list as well.  It was the very first Fringe version of "Camelot Is Crumbling" back in 2005 where phillip’s writing and storytelling first really blew my mind, and landed him in my pre-Fringe Top 10 list the next time he mounted a show in 2007 - "Descendant of Dragons," which is the show that ended up putting him on the map with everyone else.

About Camelot Is Crumbling:
(medieval romance) The murderous son of King Arthur recounts his history with the court to his dying father, while Arthur's greatest knight traverses a post-war landscape to find his queen. Both reflect on how their actions brought about the death of the dream in this brooding one-man tale of light and darkness.

The man is a master wordsmith.  He loves language, and loves sharing that adoration of words with othersThe guy knows how to spin a tale.  He’s great fun to listen to.  If you haven’t seen one or more or all of these, it’s really prime Fringe material.  You should treat yourself and go.  You will very likely see me there, whichever one you choose.  I highly recommend them all without reservation.

Here's some handy links to this year's Top 10, and Top 11-20 Lists, plus the full list of all returning favorites at this year's Fringe, plus a link to all the 2023 Minnesota Fringe Festival coverage

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