CAVEAT: I am once again touring a one-man show to the Kansas City Fringe Festival, affording me a unique opportunity to review some shows coming to the Minnesota Fringe in earlier stages of development – with the reminder that live theatre changes from performance to performance, and shows may undergo significant alteration from Fringe to Fringe.
DESCRIPTION: This musical comedy features the sassy melodies (and harmonies) of Simon and Garfunkel. With little more than a guitar and an egg shaker, these spiritually-driven travelers warm hearts and melt faces.
(SCENE: the lobby of the Bolender Center in the KC Ballet. We are flyering the crowd. There is a lull in patron movement.)
ME: Hey, so…what show are you with?
HIM: I’m with Scarborough Fair.
ME: Oh…oh, right, that’s the, uh, the Simon and Garfunkel thing…right?
HIM: Yeah, yeah…that’s right.
ME: So which one are you? Paul or Art?
HIM: Um, it’s not really…it doesn’t really work like that.
HIM: Yeah, we’re not really so much a Simon and Garfunkel cover band, so much as, like, two idiots who are obsessed with Simon and Garfunkel.
ME: …so, like, if Bill and Ted thought they were Simon and Garfunkel.
HIM: Yeah. Yeah, exactly like that.
…and he was right. It was exactly like that.
(So ridiculously tempted to just end the review right there.)
I was on the fence for this one – because, as we’ve established, I only sort of vaguely skim show descriptions, and was therefore under the impression that this was some poker-faced tribute to Simon and Garfunkel. Which, I mean, I like them well enough – not a huge fan, but I certainly have derived my share of enjoyment from their well-known songs – but, I dunno. I mean, it’s the information age. If I want to listen to Simon and Garfunkel, I can just go listen to Simon and Garfunkel. In fact, I’ll go do that now.
So what we have here are interpretations of Simon and Garfunkel songs, quite serviceably delivered, punctuated by some clowning, and interspersed with some comic business between the two performers.
They’re both charming and approachable. Overall, the show was thoroughly pleasant to sit through: none of the jokes were amazingly hilarious – I rarely laughed – but I had a big silly smile plastered on my face through most of it. And reasonably engaging, as well. I wonder if my attention would have drifted less if there was more of a narrative in place – we get bits and pieces of their story (e.g. how they met, how they started a band, et cetera), but they end in pretty much the same place they began, without much variance in between.
Still: sweet, playful, charming. And probably the kind of thing that Paul and Art would have been into. For an hour, at least.