Oh Boulder Fringe Fest, We Hardly Knew Ye

Having been in one of the most talked-about shows at the Boulder Fringe Fest, I didn’t get a whole lot of chances to see the other shows offered there. But I did end up with one night that I finagled to free up. That night, I saw three fantastic shows, and I meant to review them before the final weekend was concluded but eh. I had papers to grade.

So think of this three-way review as a memorial, lovely lurkers. And if these shows pop up anywhere around you in the future, don’t hesitate to go see them. Hey, two of the three I saw are locals, so, ya never know…

Jenn’s Fringe Sampling The First: “2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick”

What a fascinating frame for math/mentalist magic. Or, how fun to insert magic into storytelling. Also, what puns!

Tim Motley’s one-man show was highly entertaining: ostensibly a parody of the noir detective tale, he narrates a story of a heist in the best Mickey Spillane voice, all the while tossing the terrible puns out left and right. “Your groans make me stronger,” he says as he continues his tale of femme fatale Ruby Knockers and her crime spree. He’s a talented mind-reader-style magician, is Motley, and his interrogation scene turns into a display of this skill as he questions the audience, let alone a big finale of psychic ability once we finally see what’s in the envelope that’s been hanging in a small spotlight since before the show started. Narration of events that are reflected in randomly drawn cards, an easy way with switching between addressing the audience directly and narrating, made this show quietly dazzling, the way that close-up magic is.

Sampling the Second: “Lucid”Lucid1

Lucid was a lovely, ethereal, aerial dance piece centered around a woman and her dreams. It boasted a wide variety of circus skills, from loops and harness to acro-yoga type pas de deux, to a lovely closing number featuring a flying singer and accompanying (astonishing) Spanish web dancer.

I danced with an aerial group back in the day (Frequent Flyers is their name) and this piece made me want to run up on stage and join them more than once. In a joyful way, though, not a jealous one. It was a brilliant theme to go with in a piece like this, as the flying and levitating and feats of superhuman strength executed gracefully do lend an air of the dreamlike anyway. This group is called the Fractal Tribe, and is centered in the Boulder Circus Arts center, so those of us lucky enough to be local can hope we will see more from then soon.

Sampling the Third: “Tossed and Found”

I’ve been a huge fan of Peter Davison since I was a kid–since the Airjazz days. How can I possibly describe the sort of theatre this is? It’s sort of vaudeville, juggling…but the word juggling doesn’t really cut it. Object manipulation and sublime clowning is how I’d attempt to describe it.

Highlights of this virtuoso piece include: the whole war section. Lovely and poignant. The multiple hats, juggled and placed on the head one after another as the music changed for each, and a long elaborate balancing act including a table and two chairs.

One note I have: in the beginning especially, Davison channels Bill Irwin so much I’d actually call it ripping off Irwin’s work. Though, as a fellow castmate said when I mentioned it, “If you’re going to rip something off, rip off the best.”

Any iteration of Airjazz is a brilliant thing to see, and Davison still astonishes.



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