Fringe 2009: Review—”Parry Hotter & The Half-Drunk Twins,” Five stars

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by Matthew A. Everett | 8/1/09 •

Theater Even A Muggle Could Love

“It was time to get Harry a wand and do some serious foreshadowing.”

Empty S Productions/Tom Reed

Parry Hotter & The Half-Drunk Twins

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.

Not only was this show sold out, it was a wee bit oversold. I’m really glad Mom and I reserved our tickets or they wouldn’t have been able to squeeze us in. People were sitting on the floor in front, including one completely enchanted and amused pre-teen boy next to Mom. We got her a folding chair, and I ended up standing at the back next to the light board, but standing, sitting, near, far, damn, we all got a hell of a show.

I’d feel guiltier about liking returning favorite Tom Reed so much, if he weren’t as friggin’ talented as he is. Thank goodness, in addition to being really easy to look at, he has a bottomless sense of humor, a limitless ability to contort his face and body into various different characters, and powerful singing voice to boot. Plus, in keyboardist Andrea Olson, he has a great musical partner in crime to keep things humming along. If it weren’t for the brief pauses between each of the seven books for a sip of water, I’d wonder how the heck he managed to get through the show. It’s a marathon performance that never lets up.

Clearly this is a labor of love. Though Tom tweaks logic and plot holes, and the often repetitive structure, in the epic boy wizard saga (even dismissing one entire book with just a series of four bullet points), the guy obviously knows the books backwards and forwards from having devoured them all personally. They hold an honored place on his bookshelf and in his heart. Only somebody who likes the story so much would feel compelled to wrestle it all down into a musical comedy Fringe-sized package to share with others.

Mom, as a fellow Potter fan, enjoyed the show enormously. Not a missed step in her opinion. She marveled at how even the tiniest supporting characters were fully recreated, with their own separate identities. How Reed juggles the dozens, and dozens (and dozens) of characters and plotlines and somehow manages to keep them all distinct, boggles my mind. As only a Potter hanger-on, indoctrinated by Mom through the movie versions, never having read the books myself, I followed it all just fine, enjoying it for the comedic and musical aspects, and leaving Mom to fill in the other levels of it all later for me as an added bonus.

This was a hell of a lot of fun.

Very Highly Recommended.

As stated before, his opening performance was sold out. I’d be surprised if Friday’s wasn’t as well. Make a reservation or get their early if you want to make sure to get it. And don’t wait too long. His remaining performances are this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday 8/2, 8/3 and 8/4. Unless he nabs the encore slot (a distinct possibility, but no guarantee), there will be no closing weekend performance for Parry Hotter. Catch it while you still can.

The video sample from his Fringe-For-All preview below will give you a taste, in case the words above failed me.

His show page

His Fringe-For-All preview Fringe 2009 – 8:30 Thursday – show #3

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 matthewaeverett.com.

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