Rambler Family Ramblers, Cat, Super Spectacular, FLESH, Disney Dethroned


One of the beautiful things about Fringe is the happy accident, the show you weren’t planning to see, but for whatever circumstances (other show in the venue sold out, for instance), there you are.  And then the angels sing and the heavens open and you meet god.

Or not. I had been impressed by the preview for the Rambler Family Ramblers Final Christmas Reunion Spectacular at the Augsburg main stage. The performance, however, was cursed with technical difficulties at the start of the show. They covered well enough that I was truly uncertain whether that part was scripted or not. They finally forged ahead as a family singing group without amplification. With very nice voices, this corny show will have its admirers, but I am not one of them.  Bob experienced a personal emergency that caused him to quietly slip out about 28 minutes in.  He’s afflicted with this disease, and I’ve learned to live with it: the overwhelming need to read Huffington Post (or ANYTHING else, really) on his iPhone rather than continue doing whatever it is that he’s doing.  Diagnosis is hard to define, but it’s a combination of OCD/Tourettes/extreme boredom/extreme irritation/PEBS/WTF and EBS. He is expected to lead a relatively normal life in spite of this.

On to Cat presented by the Mechanical Division at the Lab Theatre downtown. One of the most beautiful theater spaces in the Fringe, the Lab is awesome – make sure to get down there. Cat is very nice. Extremely well done, cute, entertaining, it’s the story of a one-cat production of CATS. It won’t change your life, but I don’t think they intend to. Look how fancy: on their printed programs, the artist bios are scan codes that you need to scan with your smartphone. The future is now, folks. Next shows Tuesday at 7, Friday at 8:30, Saturday at 5:30.  

Super Spectacular! To Opera With Love was one of my most anticipated shows after their preview at the out-of-towners showcase last week. The Donovan Ensemble finally opened on the Augsburg main stage to a sold out crowd. Always found opera boring? This is the show for you. Operas are performed in zany madcap, Cliffsnote, 7-minute versions that are hilarious and incorporate a range of crazy props and supporting (non-opera) music. Genius. Absolutely gorgeous voices. I vote they move on to performing Shakespeare and the Bible in similar form. Or maybe do a series of grill and other appliance assembly instructions. That would help me a lot. One of the best shows in the Fringe — all ages.

I’d heard good things about FLESH, and I’ve been a fan of Tamara Ober’s past Fringe offerings. Tamara assembled four other dancers to put together this show just weeks before the festival launched (that wait list sometimes has you wait until the very last minute…). I loved it. I found something interesting in each of the five pieces performed. Bob, who, as I’ve mentioned before, only really appreciates dance when there’s a pole involved, surprised me by saying that he thought it was great.  I can sit in these shows for hours, watching beautiful bodies do amazing things to interesting music — it makes it possible for me to create my own narrative.  I find that more relaxing than trying too hard to figure out what they’re trying to say.

It goes like this:

“Why hello, Nic Lincoln, super hot dancer guy in a thong, writhing on the floor. Nice stilettos – I wonder where you shop; they look like they could fit me. What’s wrong with your legs? You’re a foal, just born, just getting your stiletto/hooves attached and working. Yes, they’re really hard to get used to. I can totally relate to that. Now you’ve got it. Prancing pony. Why are you dancing like a stripper? Maybe that’s all you can do if you’re wearing shoes like that. They have magical stripper dance powers. Oh oh, but see what happens, now you’re getting your magical stiletto/hooves taken away. That’s what you get, my pretty pony.”

I’ll spare you my interpretation of the other four pieces. I really enjoyed this show a lot, and it’s beautiful and interesting and might encourage your mind to wander into fascinating new places…Friday at 4, Saturday at 7:30 in the Rarig Proscenium.

We ended with Disney Dethroned at Mixed Blood. Nothing to say, other than go see it. Tom Reed is talented beyond talent, and this mashup of Disney stories is an accurate snapshot of the ridiculousness that is Disney. Brilliant characters, hysterical songs, this show is perfect, and will entertain Disney fans and haters alike. Monday at 7, Friday at 8:30 and Saturday at 4.