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Today, some family friendly fringe–in the company of my 6-year-old son.
We started with “Tastes Funny,” in which a pair of goofballs (the Ed Grimley-haired Daniel Oldaker and the stunning, “Pretty Woman”-era-Julia-Roberts-looking Ranik Huszar) performed admirable feats of plate spinning, juggling, and contortionism. Missing, though, was an act that tied it all together. The elements are there. This Australian duo just needs a writer and/or director to accentuate and structure what they already do well. If you are looking for an acrobatic kid-friendly show, see my previous batch of reviews.
Next up was going to be the generically titled “Magical Cabaret.” In the best fringe fest tradition, though, we struck up a lobby conversation with someone who raved about “Stinky Flowers and the Bad Banana.” What to do? Leave the decision to my son, of course. He reasoned that we’d seen other magicians. We’d never seen a guy pretenting to be a 3rd grader telling stories in his attic. Plus, this one had a recomentation. So off we speed-walked from American Cabaret Theatre to the Phoenix.
My favorite part of the performance may well have been the pre-show, in which the “kid,” Sinclair, stood on stage with his back to the audience, writing simple stories and using simple bird cutouts to tell simple stories on an overhead projector. Soon, when the lights went down, he realized that we had somehow materialized in his attic and proceeded to tell us fanciful stories about warring monkeys and nasty smelling plants. Bits of biography slip in as well, and the two elements–and the bird stories–came together in a beautiful (and appetizing) climax.
I’m not convinced “Stinky Flowers” is as focused as it needs to be to truly communicate its overarching story to all ages. And some of the transitions were a bit abrupt and inconsistant for the character. Minor quibbles, though. This guy is clearly a talent and unlike some other Fringe productions, he has taken great care with this piece. He’s a talent to watch and I hope the show continues to evolve.
(Hanky alert: While his show isn’t designed to immediately pull tears, don’t be surprised if you well up later.)