The Fringe goes on! This year, the PF team has had the great idea to offer “first looks” at shows, written by local friends of PF and posted at , and here are a few of my own highlights from the first weekend:
The Yellow Wallpaper (Bare Portland – Portland) + from the rib vault in the room that has become mary (New Fruit – Portland)
Absolutely stunning. This jointly devised installation and performance, an abstracted riff on Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, are the quintessence of Fringe —brazenly experimental, genre-defying, wondrously disarming. Under the high ceilings of the Mechanics Hall ballroom, New Fruit’s installation is jaw-dropping, and Bare Portland’s immersive performance integrates movement, text, and audience interaction gracefully and with the most sublimely, gently sly wit.
Remaining show: Sat, June 24, 4:15 pm at Mechanics Hall, 619 Congress St.
Deep As Hell (Jason LeSaldo and Khalil LeSaldo – Portland, ME)
The brothers range through a variety of absurdities in this addictive little sketch comedy show. Their writing is funny and quirky, but it’s their particular idiosyncratic fraternal rapport – prickly, intimate, and solidly grounded in its own weird universe – that most draws us in and keeps us laughing.
Remaining show: Wed, June 21, 10:45 pm at Portland Stage Storefront, 25A Forest Ave.
The Antigone in Warsaw (Purple Crayon – Portland, ME)
In Richard Sewell’s wartime drama — written in 1968 — a scrappy theater company rehearses Antigone on the eve of Hitler’s crossing into Poland. Stylishly staged and acted, elegant in its geometries, the show is a thoughtful meditation on the theater of politics, people, and theater itself.
Remaining shows: Thurs, June 22, 5:45 pm & Sat, June 24 at 5:45 at Portland Stage Studio, 25A Forest Ave.
The Paranormal Pair (Box of Clowns – Portland, OR)
This very funny duo from the other Portland totally delivers — in drag — as a ghost-finding team, with Laura Loy as a nerdy ghost hunter and Jeff Sesautels as a Gothic lady medium. They cheekily and deftly subvert a ton of TV tropes (reenactments, cheesy music stings, This is Your Life), pull off A+ physical comedy, and draw their earnest misfit characters hilariously and — crucially — with obvious affection.
Remaining shows: Wed, June 21, 7:30 pm & Fri, June 23 at 9:15 at Portland Stage Studio, 25A Forest Ave.
Latest from Megan Grumbling
- A handful of memories — Elizabeth Peavey stays connected in one-woman show 'My Mother's Clothes Are Not My Mother'
- Social justice storytelling — Portland writer/mom Kari Wagner-Peck's 'Not Always Happy'
- Inspect this! — Good Theater's absorbing mystery classic 'An Inspector Calls'
- Learning to Brace Yourself — Butler and company soar in 'Complications From a Fall'
- Draw the circle — Pie Man Theater Company plays with concepts of Hell