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Hollywood Fringe 2014 experience Day One (part two)

Linden Arden Stole the Highlights is a masterpiece of Fringe theater, used by permission

You can find part one here.

After busting a gut laughing at Chris Farah's insanely funny Fancy, I headed over to Taco Bell for some $1 treats at their daily Happier Hour. Feeling full and refreshed, I got back into the Fringe mood and made my way to Theatre Asylum for a pair of shows that, although told through entirely different mediums, delivered their message of wisdom.

First up was Katie Rubin's Why I Died, a Comedy! in the Elephant Space. Under the brilliant direction of Victor Bumbalo, Rubin took us on a spiritual journey through her quest for enlightenment and relief from her depression.

Rubin's 10 characters each bring a small slice of the equation to life. Her comedy is not the ROFL kind, although there are moments of intense mirth. Rather, her humor is the satirical, biting kind that makes you stop and think, allowing the message to sink into your psyche.

Rubin is a gifted storyteller with an ageless story to share Take the time to truly listen to her story - you'll leave the theater a better person than when you entered. You can catch this show June 20 at 10 p.m., June 27 at 7 p.m. and on the final day of the Fringe on June 29 at 6:30 p.m.

Next up was a rare treat for me. I have known Colin Mitchell for the past few years as a result of the Fringe. Colin is the Editor of Bitter Lemons, one of the best web sites for coverage of the LA Theater scene. I always knew he had a brilliant mind for dissecting theater, but never realized that he is also a brilliant actor.

Based on the song of the same name by Van Morrison, Linden Arden Stole the Highlights is an intense story of greed, choices and consequences. It tells the tale of Linden Arden, an American-born Scottish American forced to leave his beloved San Francisco and return to his homeland of Scotland to escape the consequences of his choices.

Under the amazing direction of Christian Levatino, Mitchell brings out every nuance of his troubled character, and brings him to life as a living, breathing, flawed man. Arden is the sort of man you want on your side in a fight. A lover of Glenlivet 12, he shares his scotch and his wisdom as he recounts his youth and the events that brought him to Scotland, and which lead him to a showdown with his past.

The show is staged in the tiny Elephant Studio, and the action almost overruns the venue. But it is this intimacy that lends itself to Mitchell's show and makes it all that more personal. You cannot help but be affected by Mitchell's story and performance. First performed back in 1996, and returned to the stage after 18 years, this show is one of the true gems of 2014.

You can catch the show June 16 at 8:30 p.m., June 22 at 7 p.m. and June 27 at 10 p.m. Don't miss this show.

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