Fringe Favorites

Here are 6 not-to-be-missed shows at the annual theater festival, which ends this weekend.



"Commencement'' explores how three people deal with the aftermath of a school shooting.

Photo Courtesy of Fringe Festival

We’re at the fringe of the Fringe—the last weekend of the 2017 version of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, the country’s oldest and bestest un-juried, unfettered, unconventional theater festival, featuring hourlong theatrical creations by independent artists from all over the world.

Here’s a look at some of the most buzzworthy shows you can still check out between now and Monday:

ONE OF THE NICE THINGS about Fringe festivals is the camaraderie and support among the artists themselves: You’ll frequently hear proven performers put in a plug for newcomers. Here are three shows recommended by the circuit’s vets:

Weaksauce: Sam Mullins’ “coming of age comedy of first times, second chances, and third wheels” gets a thumbs-up from Mike Delamont, among others. Delamont, by the way, has two new shows of his own that are getting high marks this year: The Devil, in which he plays the part of a misunderstood Beelzebub in a red Mr. Rogers sweater-vest, and Mama’s Boy, a serious, touching look at his relationship with his alcoholic mother.

Field Zoology 101: Shawn O’Hara plays a deadpan, pompous-ass zoologist who doesn’t know nearly as much about wild things as he thinks he does. O’Hara also wound up with a plum role in the annual Fringe presentation of Floriduh!

Til Death: The Six Wives of Henry VIII: Tara Travis is a majestic multitasker, playing the half-dozen ladies who had the misfortune of marrying and un-marrying Henry. The lucky one escaped with a divorce.

THREE OTHER SHOWS that have been getting good reviews from various corners:

Commencement: Clay McCleod Chapman’s examination of the aftermath of a school shooting through the eyes of three people affected by the tragedy. An original, well-acted, keenly scripted take on horrific current events.

Chase Padgett: 5 Stars: A new approach from one of those Fringe vets we mentioned. The UCF graduate’s musicianship, showmanship and ingenuity is the through-line here, as he appears as himself, rather than through characters of his own imagining, and does a science rap that will surely be turning up on YouTube – if it hasn’t already.

O-TOWN: Voices From Orlando: Calling this theater doesn’t do it justice. Call it, instead, a communal experience, powerful and primal. No third wall between audience and performers here in playwright David Lee’s depiction of several real-life individuals affected by the Pulse tragedy—some of whom may be in the audience during the show—as actors portraying them relate what happened that night in their own words. 

Fringe shows are staged at venues at Loch Haven Park. For ticket information and schedules, visit orlandofringe.org

 

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