Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Fringe Festival 2016: "Mead Hall"

Day: 6

Show: 29

Title: Mead Hall

Category: Comedy

Created by: Greer, Tallen, and Watson-Jones

Location: U of M Rarig Center Thrust

Summary: A meta-Fringe mash-up of the oldest story in Western literature, Beowulf, and the 1989 Patrick Swayze movie Roadhouse.

Highlights: This isn't your ordinary mash-up, in which two seemingly different stories are combined into one. This one is told in a very meta-Fringe way, with actors playing versions of themselves doing a Fringe show. Or rather shows, as due to a mix-up, two different productions show up in the same place at the same time - a very literary and nerdy one-man show/lecture about Beowulf, and a musical adaptation of Roadhouse (on roller skates!). At first the two groups argue and take turns telling their story, but eventually they come to realize that their stories have several parallels (thanks, Joseph Campbell and the hero cycle) and work together to conclude the two stories that have now become one. The cast is great as both heightened versions of themselves, and the overblown characters (Clarence Wethern as the Beowulf guy, the Roadhouse cast consisting of Kayla Dvorak, Brandon Ewald, Delta Rae Giordano, David Schlosser, Noë Tallen, and a late and shirtless Derek Meyer as the Patrick Swayze character). The structure of the show allows the creators (director Carin Bratlie Wethern, writers Aaron Greer, Ben Tallen, and Brian Watson-Jones) to poke fun at the Fringe itself (including a list of ridiculous Fringe titles that are no more ridiculous than real Fringe titles), while still producing a very fringey show. To be enjoyed by lovers of classical literature, bad '80s movies, and the Fringe. I can't wait for the sequel next year!