Fringe 2009: I’m tired, but not that tired


by Matthew A. Everett | 8/7/09 • Just a clarification on the ebb and flow of my reviews.

Someone commented to me the other night that my string of 5 star reviews was starting to buckle a little bit. They wondered if maybe I was just tired, or getting sick of the Fringe and so the ratings were going to be a little lower and the reviews a little harsher from now on. Fringe Fatigue and crankiness beginning to settle in and all that.

Of the 24 reviews posted thus far

single white fringe geek is the blog of matthew a. everett. in addition to being one of seven bloggers covering the minnesota fringe festival for the daily planet, he blogs throughout the year about theater and culture.

13 have been 5 stars

4 have been 4-1/2 stars

3 have been 4 stars

3 have been 3-1/2 stars

1 has been 2-1/2 stars

Here’s the thing…

During the first six days of the festival, I’m front-loading the schedule with all the things Mom really wants to see, and I really want to see (and share with Mom). A lot of these are artists we’ve liked in the past, and expect to like again. It is possible we will be (and on one occasion were) disappointed. But our favorite artists (and our instincts) being pretty consistent, the likelihood is that we’re going to see a lot of very good theater.

Hence the preponderance of five star reviews.

The Fringe is really good this year. And we’re seeing a lot of really good stuff.

I am now approaching the end of the reviews of all the things I saw with Mom before her departure.

The second half of the festival, I’m seeing things that are more of a risk for me. Things I wasn’t sure Mom would like, things I wasn’t sure I would like.

But I’m also seeing things that, for whatever reason, we were still keen to see but the scheduling didn’t work out til now.

There will still be five star reviews (for instance, I saw two really amazing shows last night – A Cynic Tells Love Stories and Harold Pinter’s The Dumbwaiter – both great in their own ways. Top of the heap in terms of Fringe quality this year.)

There will now also be a lot more less than five star reviews (for instance, the other two things I saw last night, one was great, but had its bumps, close but not quite a 5; the other, while well-written and well-acted, I just sat there wondering, “Why?” – so probably a 3)

There is also two-thirds of the Festival that I will not see. Despite seeing something new in almost every time slot on the schedule (I’ve had two repeats already – Love Me Or Die and Winnemucca, both of which I love dearly), if I manage to keep forging ahead, the best I can hope for is 56 performances of 54 shows. Out of 162.

It is possible to go to the Fringe and see nothing but great shows. There are a lot of them, and only a limited amount of time in which to see them. That’s the beauty of it.

This year, my educated guesses for what I think I’d like have just been better than other years.

So it’s not that I’m uncritical. I’m just enjoying the heck out of myself this year.

And if I don’t enjoy myself, you’ll know it.

Thanks for all the great theater so far, everybody.

Keep it up, and I’ll try and do the same.

Matthew A. Everett is a local playwright and three-time recipient of grant support from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Information on Matthew and his plays can be found at

Support people-powered non-profit journalism! Volunteer, contribute news, or become a member to keep the Daily Planet in orbit.