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Hollywood Fringe 2014 experience Day One (part three)

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You can find Part One here and Part Two here.

My final two shows for the day took me to opposite ends of the spectrum.

Bronies: the musical is a smash and has become the first show at this year's Fringe to be totally sold out for the entire run. Brought to you by the same people that presented last year's hit The Real Housekeepers of Studio City, Bronies tells the story of three unlikely friends who come together to stop the bullying at the fictional Martindale High School. These three are all outsiders - the nerdy Tyler, the bullying victim; the basketball star Austin, and the Principal's son, Jacob, a budding artist.

For those of you who don't know, a Bronie is a Bro that loves Ponies, aka, My Little Ponies cartoons to be exact. It is a phenomenon that is sweeping the country, with weekly Meet-ups at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

With a brilliant musical score written by Joe Greene and book and lyrics by Heidi Powers and Tom Moore, Bronies is a treat. Whether or not you are a fan of the cartoon or the movement, the play presents the timely issue of school bullying in a way that will make you want to be part of the solution.

The cast is amazing. I was particularly moved by the performances of Heather Lake as White Pony, Mark Gelsomini as Tyler, Matthew Herrmann as Austin and Sarah Watkins as Paige. Each of them truly inhabited these characters and brought them to life in a truly relatable way. Their acting, dancing and vocal abilities shine through as they exemplify the virtues of Ponies and Bronies alike.

If Bronies had a soundtrack album, I would rush out to purchase it - the songs truly make this event memorable, while the story drives home the point that judging or bullying others based on their appearance is wrong and deprives us from experiencing some of life's richest moments.

I strongly advise you to clear your schedule and get on the waiting list for this show. Remaining performance times are June 21 at 8 p.m., June 22 at 2 p.m., June 27 at 8 p.m. and June 28 at 10 p.m. at the Lounge 2. Sign up at www.broniesthemusical.com.

My final performance of the day was a major disappointment, the Theatricians Theater Group production of God of Abraham. I had high hopes for this show, as I became a major fan of Alex Knox last year with his brilliantly written and performed one-man shop, No Static at All. But even Knox's brilliance could not help this mess.

The show is a series of sketch comedy skits which seem to share a common theme - religion is not the answer to your problems. The show equally blasts Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Scientology in a "nothing is sacred" sort of way. From the recurrence of the Scientology skit (four times), it was painfully apparent that part of the creative team had a very bad experience there.

The best skit of the show is told through the use of puppets. It follows Abraham and Isaac and retells the story of Abraham's obedience and willingness to sacrifice his son to God. It is visually stimulating and well performed without the need for words of any kind.

Although you may leave the theater saying "WTF?" I would recommend this show if you have an open mind. If not, this show WILL offend you. The remaining performances are June 17 at 10 p.m., June 21 at 6 p.m., June 26 at 10 p.m. and June 29 at 4 p.m.

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