Monday, August 7, 2017

Fringe Festival 2017: "The Banana Wars"

Day: 4

Show: 19

Category: Something Different

By: The Miller Conspiracy

Written by: Derek Lee Miller

Location: Strike Theater

Summary: A history lesson about the world's most popular fruit, the banana, and the wars that the US fought in the Caribbean because of it.

Highlights: This show is the reason the Fringe Festival exists. Most shows - dance, sketch comedy, drama, musicals, even clowning - have another performance home. But where else can someone give an hour-long history lesson about the banana that manages to also comment on the US military through history to today? What Derek Lee Miller has done here is, simply put, brilliant. It's like if John Oliver were to do a piece on the so-called Banana Wars, and at the beginning you think, "why is he talking about the Banana Wars?" And at the end you think, "OMG why isn't everyone talking about the Banana Wars?! Smedley Butler, people, Smedley Butler!!" Using a series of silent film placards, Derek walks us through these small, brutal wars (which I won't even begin to explain here, just go see the show), interspersed with personal remembrances, all to paint an ugly picture of greed and power. Smedley Butler, by the way, that guy with the funny name you've never heard of, was the most decorated Marine in history who at the end of his life spoke out against the US military. Like a speeding freight train, Derek barrels through history at a breakneck head-spinning fast-talking pace that makes 60 minutes feel like 10. This show probably won't make you feel good about the world or about being an American, but like a good John Oliver piece, it'll make you glad you know about the Banana Wars. And you'll never look at a banana the same way again.

Read all of my Fringe mini-reviews here.