I haven’t finished all my Fringe-going yet; there are still four or five shows on my to-do list. But in the meantime, here’s my list of Best of the Fringe — and I may add to it later!
- Anne Frank Superstar & The Purpose of the Moon, Penguin Point Productions, Winter Park. Two playlets, in adaptations by James Brendlinger and performed by his former high-school students, that bring together pop-cultural heroes and heroines in ways that will blow your mind.
- The Big Smoke, Fringetastic!, Vancouver Island, Canada. Jeremy Banks in a heart-wrenching solo show about what a small-town boy learns, and doesn’t learn, when he moves to the big city.
- Bitches of the Kingdom!, the Oops Guys, New York, NY. An extravagantly cockeyed (and feminist) valentine to Disney’s celluloid princesses, with a nigh-unto-perfect all-star Orlando cast.
- Dog Powered Robot and the History of the Future, Miga Me, Orlando. A three-minute snippet of a show from the 2010 Fringe turns into a hilarious low-tech masterpiece, with a city of cardboard robots almost, but not quite, upstaging a tiny dog in a robot suit.
- Fear Factor: Canine Edition, John Grady, New York, NY. A lovely, mesmerizing tale, delicately told, about a man and his relationship with a 13-year-old Bernese mountain dog named Abby.
- The Holy Land Experience, Martin Dockery, Brooklyn, NY. An exhilarating journey across continents, from Orlando to Canada to the Holy Land, that takes the charismatic Dockery on a search for honesty, loyalty and faith.
- I Love You (We’re F*#ked), 55BC, Nashville, TN. Kevin J. Thornton’s buttoned-down persona quickly flies out the door in a raucous combination of stories, absurdities and bluesy Nashville-tinged music.
- My Monster, Clockwork Hobo, Orlando. A vainglorious screenwriter is given his comeuppance by a character he created in an uproarious comedy featuring the terrific Philip Nolen and Will Hagaman.
- Robby Pigott Tries Something New, Snoopyboy Productions, Orlando. An absolutely assured show by a first-time cabaret performer, in which Pigott’s great good humor and sunny outlook turn into an open-hearted embrace of the world.
- Suckers, a Freaky Little Musical, Zombie Productions, Orlando. Tod Kimbro’s witty and insightful 1998 comedy — about Goth kids trying, and failing, to be different — transformed winningly into a musical.
- Superman Drinks, Chase Padgett Productions, Orlando. Chase Padgett weaves his love of the guitar into a poignant, funny story that begins with superheroes but is really about his father, a talented man who saw his life fall apart.
- Wisdom: Part One, Jimmy Hogg, Plymouth, England. A veteran Fringer who is sharing his role as “arbiter of truth and purveyor of infinite wisdom” in a digression-filled solo comedy about religion, pit bulls and a whole lot more.