Entertainment » Theatre

San Diego International Fringe Festival: Part 1

by Rodney Rodriguez
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Jun 29, 2017
The performance troupe Curbside presents 'Flight'
The performance troupe Curbside presents 'Flight'  

The San Diego International Fringe Festival arrives once again. Now five years old and quickly developing a name for itself on the national and international scene, the festival is now open through July 2 throughout downtown and in Balboa Park. Quickly becoming a choice destination for artists all over the world, this year features 90 works, many bring World or San Diego premieres. Featuring comedy, drama, dance, magic, street performers, and some inspired storytelling, "the Fringe" offers a little for everybody.

The process is easy: a $5 donation gets you a Fringe Tag which allows you to purchase tickets to each show and access Club Fringe at the Spreckles Theatre. Club Fringe is a casual lounge serving refreshments of the adult and non-adult variety where you can mix and mingle with artists and patrons alike.

Occasionally you'll find an impromptu performance by one of the visiting buskers, an open pool table, buzz about what shows you simply must see, or you may just find a casual musician filling the summer evening with music for passers-by. No matter how you choose to enjoy Fringe, you're bound to get your fill of art.

Each show costs $10 with discounts if you purchase multi-show packs. A ten show package will set you back $72, or $7.20 per show, a fraction of what you would typically pay for the theatre. Lasting one hour or less, it becomes quite easy to spend a day binging on theatre.

Yes, think Netflix for theatre.

Now that you're sold, what to see? Here are a few suggestions to fill your upcoming weekend:

My top pick after week one would be "Flight," a circus inspired telling of the classic tale "The Little Prince" produced by the Long Beach-based group Curbside. Told through movement, imagination, and a remarkable amount of creativity and skill, Curbside Artistic Director Ezra LeBank and his crew elevate storytelling and introduce a beautifully choreographed reimagining of a classic fable. With a pensive moral message, this children's story works cross-generationally, can inspire any theatre-goer, and is a must-see for this year's festival. Performed on the Lyceum Stage in Horton Plaza on Friday, June 30 at 6 p.m. and Sunday, July 2 at 2:30 p.m.

A close second is "Echoes of Gallows Hill" by local circus group Astraeus Aerial Dance Theatre. Fringe award winners from the past two years, this year's incarnation explores the Salem witch trials through aerial movement, dance, and one hell of a creepy show. Rich in every technical aspect with a talented cast and inventive storyline, "Echoes" is a rare triple threat in the Fringe world and is a quality production top to bottom. Dark, haunting, and an utter thrill, I was on edge from the opening scene through to the end and loved every moment of it. Performed on the Lyceum Stage in Horton Plaza on Saturday, July 1 at 4 p.m.

EDGE readers won't want to miss "Help! I Think I Might be Fabulous," a one-drag queen cabaret performance by Alfie Ordinary from Brighton, U.K. Exploring her time in Madame LeCoq's Preparatory School for Fabulous Boys, Alfie recounts her life and friendship with fellow classmate Jon, a closeted 'muggleborn' fabulous boy. With humor, grace, soul and a wonderfully unexpected maxim, everyone will find a little bit of themselves in this sweet-sounding jaunt. Performed on the Reader's Spreckels Theatre on Friday, June 30 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 1 at 4 p.m., and Sunday, July 2 at 6 p.m.

With site-specific theatre becoming the new rage, enter "There's No Place Like," a two person romantic dram-edy with a message. Founded on the belief that the theatre can be a catalyst for conversation, from London Althea Theatre brings us this intriguing look into immigration and the need for change in our system. With magnetic chemistry and a polished performance, the show explores what it means to long, to belong, and to have a home. Playing in the lobby bar of the Bristol Hotel downtown, show up early and have a drink before falling in love, or somewhere near it. Performed on Saturday, July 1 and Sunday, July 2 at 7:30 p.m., seating is limited!

Who watches the watchers? Lisa Pedace is a one woman force in the hilarious "Neighborhood Watch." With metered delivery and a tempered, deadpan delivery, Pedace serves up a string of underhanded compliments and hysterically harsh criticisms of her friends and neighbors. When finally pushed to the limits, how far would you go to keep the peace? Performed at the San Diego Art Institute - Project Space on Friday, June 30 at 9 p.m. and Sunday, July 2 at 4 p.m.

From Minneapolis, MN comes Patrick O'Brien in "Underneath the Lintel." One man's obsession leads to a wild, globe-trotting investigation into a missing library fine. A captivating performance at break-neck pace, O'Brien offers up a unique story and one of the best performances at this year's Fringe. Performed at the Geoffrey Off Broadway Theatre in the Spreckels Building on Friday, June 30 at 10:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 1 at 1 p.m.

Just closing this week was "To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This," an emotional look at one couple's attempt to move past an unimaginable loss and fall in love all over again. Eric Casalini's performance was captivating and the chemistry he shared with his stage partner, Beth Gallagher, was palpable. With humor and tears and awkwardness and hope and all of the other emotions one experiences in any close relationship, "To Fall In Love..." received much well-deserved buzz at the festival this year.

For those seeking more LGBT stories might look to "Night & Day," a new musical by San Diego's Above Board Theatre, conceptualized and directed by Nick Williams featuring the music of Joe Jackson. David is a struggling musician who runs to off to New York and signs with a producer promising to make him a star. Instead David finds himself being molded into someone he was never meant to be. Jackson's enduring music is re-conceived in a unique, flashy and voluble new way. Performed at the Geoffrey Off Broadway in the Spreckels Building on Saturday, July 1 at 2:30 p.m.

The San Diego International Fringe Festival runs through July 2 at the Spreckels Building, 121 Broadway Cir. # 600, San Diego, CA 92101. For information or tickets, visit www.sdfringe.org

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