Monday, August 10, 2015

Fringe Festival 2015: "Brother Ulysses"

Day: 9

Show: 41

Category: Something Different

By: Rhombus Theatre

Written by: Christian Gaylord

Location: U of M Rarig Center Arena

Summary: Two brothers weave a captivating story about history, literature, myth, science, and family.

Highlights: This is one of those Fringe shows that's so uniquely wonderful, I cannot possibly describe it. You just have to see it to know what it is, and if you didn't, I'm sorry for you. I don't know where these guys came from, or why I had this show on my schedule (I guess the combination of history and a capella intrigued me). But it was a delightful surprise on my last day of Fringe-ing. Brothers Christian (writer) and Andrew (director) Gaylord tell us that this show was inspired by James Joyce's novel Ulysses, but not in the straight-forward adaptation kind of way. They talk about Napoleon, and Alexander the Great, and various other figures from history, myth, and literature. They sing in beautiful a capella harmony, sometimes making use of one of those recorder/looper thingies. They climb on and over a single tall block in the center of the stage in strange and interesting ways. At times Andrew reads passages from the book, which all of a sudden morph into Fringe commentary. Christian passionately portrays Napoleon, and Andrew juggles audience members' shoes for no reason in particular other than it's amusing. This show is so creative and odd and charming and unexpected. I think my post-show tweet sums it up best: "I'm not sure what just happened but it was beautiful."