Day 2 of the 2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival was awesome! I changed my schedule several times on the fly and managed to take in six more incredible shows that ran the gamut of subject material.
First up was an unplanned viewing of Greasy Grimey Gopher Guts, with a cast of teens. I went to the show because I met the playwright Chambers Stevens at the Lounge Theatre on Saturday and was intrigued by his description of his show, which seemed to be wildly popular with the audiences at the Lounge.
Generally, I stay away from kids shows because you never know what you'll get. I got burned last year by a kids show and was a little hesitant about taking a chance. I'm glad I took it, because Greasy Grimey Gopher Guts is awesome!
Although in concept it is a play, it's more like a group of teenagers taking over Saturday Night Live. The show is composed of a number of rapid fire sketch comedy routines that begins and ends with a song and dance number featuring one of our all time favorite summer camp songs which bears the same name as the play.
Stevens has assembled an awesome cast of some of the finest up and coming actors and actresses. Although they all did a superb job, I was most impressed with the work of Rachel Brett, who is also a singer/songwriter; the Dawson Twins, Hannah and Lucy; Lindsey Woods; Dusty Myklebust and my favorite, Danielle Janco.
If our kids are truly the future of our planet, then the future looks bright for Hollywood as this group of kids grows up and moves into the spotlight. Unfortunately, the performance I saw was the last show for this year's Fringe. However, if you get the chance to go to anything involving Chambers Stevens, you should definitely do it!
My next destination for this year's Fringe was a trip down memory lane to the venue where I caught the Fringe bug - the Theatre of NOTE. This is the place where so many of my fondest Fringe memories began as well as some of my best Fringeships. This is where I met the uber talented Kimleigh Smith (T-O-T-A-L-L-Y), Ezra Buzzington (Crossbones), and Kirsten Vangsness, Thomas Gibson, A.J. Cook, Matthew Gray Gubler and Paget Brewster (all of Criminal Minds), to name a few.
I attended the performance of I Can Hear You . . . But I'm Not Listening, featuring the incredibly talented Jennifer Jasper. Jasper should be the poster child for overcoming childhood speech impediments, and her story will inspire and encourage you.
The show takes you on an emotional rollercoaster as Jasper describes what it was like growing up as the 3rd of five girls - her struggles with her speech impediment and sibling rivalry, her obsession with Laura Ingalls Wilder, and coming out to her family.
Jasper is a powerful performer with almost perfect comedic timing. She can make you laugh and cringe at the same time as she recounts the struggles and triumphs of her story. I found myself mesmerized by her performance, and for the first time this Fringe I never looked at my watch and was shocked when the lights went down and the show was over.
Another thing I loved about Jasper is the fact that the show is not scripted in the traditional sense. It changes every time as Jasper tells her story from different perspectives and angles, led by the energy and focus of her audience. Unfortunately, this is also a drawback, as time expired just as she was starting on another story. This is the type of play you can see over and over and it will always be fresh.
Jasper's final performance is June 16 at 8 p.m. I highly recommend attendance at this incredible piece of American theater.