Fringe By Numbers: Day Two, "Suitcase Cabaret"

Day Two:  7:00 p.m. Time Slot

Show:  Suitcase Cabaret
Company:  Claire Simonson
Venue: IntermediaArts
Die Roll: 19

First things first.  This is something about the venue, the usher, and the box office people at this venue specifically.  They were wonderful, polite and informative.  This was not the case at either of the two shows I had attended prior to this one, nor the show I attended afterward (although that is technically getting ahead of myself).  Point being... I'm noticing a marked trend in Fringe personnel this year, both staff and especially volunteer ushers, of being rude, hostile and acting like jerks.  Got some new policies?  Turn on the customer service and help the patrons learn without being total assholes!  I'm not exclusively talking about treatment that I received.  I was somewhat horrified by the way other people were being talked to and treated.

That being said, again, whoever it was working this specific show was terrific, and not just in comparison.  Thank you!

Okay... so on to the show!   Let's talk first impressions.  Walking into the theatre, one sees a small AV cart with a laptop on it and a few other wired things.  This is because this is going to be a projector heavy show, one that is run from that little control center on the stage.  Also on the table, although hidden from view, are four puppets: Barbie (of doll persuasion), Devil Duck (of rubber persuasion), St. Clare of Assisi (of porcelain statuette persuasion) and "Uncurious" George (of sock monkey persuasion).  These four puppets are projected through mini-cameras through the computer and onto the walls. 

Sadly, though, this wasn't a show that focused on performance through puppets.  What really happened is a woman gave a disjointed rant about her views of the world's politics and culture, while pretending that she might be a puppeteer.  The show was clearly under-rehearsed, in need of an editor and a director, and not really theatre in any sense of the word.  What it really felt like to me was that we, as the audience, were watching someone play with their action figure toys and making them talk to each other sort of in the way that a 10 year-old child might.  The topics weren't the same as they otherwise would be with a small child, but if you hold the image in your head, you've at least got a start down the right road.

I believe that I'm getting grumpier as I get older, and that in past years I might have given Ms. Simonson a "well, at least she tried" type of review.  In truth, I started to do just that, but then I read her bio on the Fringe Website.  Color me judgmental, but I expect better from someone who has performance credits from Jeune Lune and the Walker Art Center.

I stopped taking notes 25 minutes into this show, because I get depressed if I'm writing nothing but negative things.  With that last statement in mind, it is time to end this review.

Rating:  d4 = Not Worth The Time

Ten Word Summary:  Oh my God, can I have that hour back, please?

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