post fringe round-up 2018

It's that time of year again... no, the other time... when Fringe goes away and everything seems that little bit less bright and exciting.

We only saw 18 shows this year, originally it was 17, but then we were fortunate enough to get to see The Man In The Mail for free, so that was lucky (especially since it was a good show).

Venue-wise we were pretty much back to our usual haunts, although we did get to visit the Wine Centre, The Kings Head and Marion RSL, all of which were new for us. We were also generally very spread out this year... Gluttony being the main place that got multiple visits as always.

I managed to invoke Rule 3 at least three times this year, which I love to do whenever possible... plus I got a hug from one of my favourite circus performers and a short-lived balloon animal from another. Plus a Le Gateau Chocolat hug, which is always a bonus.

I finally remembered to start scoring my Fringe reviews out of 5 (and just like I do with the movie reviews, they all got a cute little nomenclature assigned to the score depending on the show) and tailoring my review tweets a little more, although the fact that I ended up posting most of my reviews at about 1am (regardless of what the individual posts say) was an issue.

It also became very apparent very quickly that my usual refrain of "the top X number of shows are all barely separated in quality" is pretty apt given the scores I ended up giving most of the shows... 13 of the 18 shows are either a 4 or 5 out of 5.  I've included the ratings in the round-up below.

I was kind of surprised this year that I never fully hit that "I need to go hide in a hole away from people" mood that usually hits me towards the end of Fringe, but that may be due to a) not seeing as many shows as usual or b) not having to deal with people all day every day in my regular life.

So...
  1. The Displaced
    "This is absolutely the kind of show I could watch, leave and then turn around and go back and see again right away. And Time in Space Circus have proven that they're a force to be reckoned with." - 5/5

    This was my "mention it to everyone because it blew my mind" show for this year's Fringe. And it wasn't just because the company had matured and was so very different to the last time I saw them, this was genuinely the most amazing circus show I saw this year.

  2. Flesh and Blood
    "The show goes from hilarious to moving to thought provoking and back again at the flick of a switch and had me welling up towards the end." - 5/5

    And this was usually the second show I mentioned to people. The writing and the characters here were exceptional and I'm not surprise at all that this took out the overall Best Theatre show in the Fringe Awards and the Week 1 Theatre and Week 3 Critics Choice awards.

  3. Intoxication
    "And there's a lot of great writing and performing from Bryant, but I think that the thing that really pulls the whole thing together into a consistent whole is that sense of intimacy. Because it's hard not to really hear what someone is saying while they're looking you straight in the eye and you're looking back." 5/5

    I wasn't really expecting this show... I threw it on the list because I always like to keep something gay themed in my Fringe, but I got so much more than I bargained for.

  4. Kaput
    "With this type of show the comedy and seemingly "out of control" nature of it often belie the skills of the performer, and while the character is often losing control, Flanagan maintains it beautifully." - 5/5

    I'm not going to lie, the fact that Ma ended up as part of the show made this even better, but Flanagan really is a master of physical comedy.

  5. Sound and Fury's Cyranose
    "Cyranose was barely controlled chaos. Again, in the best possible way." - 5/5

    Sound and Fury on the edge of a total nervous breakdown was something I didn't realise I needed in my life until this show. And even when there's only a third of the original cast present, it still shines.

  6. A Simple Space
    "They're the gold standard as far as I'm concerned, both in the way they put their shows together but also in how they interact with each other and with the audience." - 5/5

    Gravity and Other Myths are my OG circus act... they were one of the first (if not the first) we ever saw... and watching them from 2011 to now continues to be pure delight.

  7. Box and Cox
    "The three of them are wonderfully over the top and ridiculous in that Victorian farcical way but everything they do suits the material perfectly." - 4/5

    This show is quintessentially Fringe... funny, something you didn't know you wanted more of until you saw it and not quite what you expected.

  8. The Man in the Mail
    "Phillips does a small number of tricks, but does them well and with a lot of personality, including a couple that I really haven't seen other people do before, one including balancing on sticks and the other including a door." - 4/5

    This isn't the first time that a show we've been lucky enough to see for free has been excellent, but in this case it's a very sweet show and well put together.

  9. A Night At The Musicals
    "This show, as Woo and Chocolat proudly proclaim, is where "musical theatre goes to die", and if that's the case, then it's a good death." - 4/5

    Le Gateau Chocolat, my other OG Fringe star who just keeps getting better and better, even if I've seen the show before (Johnny Woo is also great, but let's be honest, I'm in if for the Chocolat). And any show you can sing along with is a good one.

  10. Attrape Moi! (Catch Me!)
    "The trampoline routine that closes the show was my absolute favourite... the way they dive from the structure down onto the trampoline and then just step back into position as though they hadn't flung themselves into space is breathtaking to watch." - 4/5

    Bouncy Canadian circus performers... do I need to say more?

  11. When There's No Strength In Men
    "Lorien excels as Rosalind/Ganymede and steals almost all of her scenes while pretending to be a man. In fact everyone seemed to be on top of their game in this section." - 4/5

    I always enjoy bite sized Shakespeare, and it would be fun to have this crew put on one of the comedies since they do those so well.

  12. That Daring Australian Girl
    "Hartstone does a fantastic job embodying Matters, not only through a very proper British accent (even more difficult because Matters was a trained elocutionist), but also through a very energetic physicality." - 4/5

    This is one of those shows were you come away both knowing more than you did when you walked in, but also wanting to dig a little deeper.

  13. 6 Quick Dick Tricks - A Dirk Darrow Investigation
    "He's here to amaze us with his keen mind and powers of deduction. Also puns... terrible, horrible, groan inducing puns. I mean they're funny... while being awful. But there are a lot of puns and dad jokes." - 4/5

    A master of misdirection and magical manipulation, but with more than his fair share of awful (possibly great) puns.

  14. By A Thread
    "It's an elegant show though, a beautiful show. From the choices of costumes and colours to a lot of the staging and a number of the tricks... it's at times ethereal and weightless. Other times it's bold and flashy." - 3/5

    I still maintain that this may be one of the prettiest and most elegant shows we saw this year... it just needed a little more heft at times.

  15. Circus'cision
    "Maybe some days or in some places there's a little more skin, and I won't lie that I was hoping for a little more, but it was still a fun show." - 3/5

    The problem with a show with a rotating cast is that you can never know what you're going to end up with... and while it was nice to see some "old friends", I think I was expecting a little more circus. But the circus I did get was great.

  16. Grimm Tales
    "Lorien excels as Rosalind/Ganymede and steals almost all of her scenes while pretending to be a man. In fact everyone seemed to be on top of their game in this section" - 3/5

    There were definitely great moments in this show, but a different venue may have helped.

  17. Heathers: The Musical (High School Edition)
    "Camryn Jordans is spectacular in the role (of Veronica), not only does she have an amazing voice that can really belt out the big musical numbers, but she has some serious acting skills and great comic timing. And she makes it hard to look anywhere else but in her direction." - 3/5

    To be honest I didn't realise this was going to be a teen cast until after I'd bought the ticket, and it was definitely uneven, but there are a couple of names and faces I'll be keeping my eye on.

  18. The Bridge
    "I feel like they have an interesting, if slightly short, story here, it just needed something more." - 2/5

    Definitely interesting... but it just didn't hit the mark for me.

And now there's nothing much to do but wait for Fringe to roll around again.

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