This week we’ve given PYT Advanced students the opportunity to develop their critical writing skills and share their personal opinions on our blog by reviewing Prague Fringe events. The festival runs from 26th May-3rd June.
Megan Meunier shares her views of the third day..
Day 3- Sunday 28th May
Early on Sunday afternoon, I went out to see the inspiring Fringe Sunday. The host, Odette, was wonderful and I can’t wait to see her on Tuesday. After the show, I went out to Divadlo Inspirace to see Tooth and Nail’s Hummingbird.
I missed Tooth and Nail at the Fringe last year and regretted it as soon as the reviews started pouring in. This year I learnt that I had every right to have that regret because Hummingbird was a mesmerizing piece of art. This play manages to visually express a radio story in a heart wrenching and, at times, sexy manner. Tracing the dark motivations of the real life Lonely Hearts killers of the 1950s. The set is gorgeous, with few colours except for a large red suitcase. There’s also a table that is used beautifully, at one point with one side held higher than the other to express power in an interrogation scene and being moved around to express the ambitions of a new couple moving in together. I can’t think of a single person that would not love this performance.
Star struck from that performance, I hurried to café club Misenska to see Pivo & Beer Comedy. This café is a new venue this year and I was very excited to see it for the first time. It’s a lovely place with a cute terrace and the stage is hidden next to an underground bar. The theatre is quite small but definitely larger than 3+1 or Golden Key. Because it was still quite early in the day, I wasn’t downing the beers I should have for the ‘Beer’ comedy show, instead I had a very cold blueberry lemonade. The show was lovely and quite funny. The comics were charismatic and the material seemed original, at least it did to me. I did get thrown off a little when moments arose where the comics lost their train of thought and veered off on strange tangents. I suppose that’s a part of the drunken charm that I would have appreciated more had I replaced the blueberry lemonade with a few beers. The hour was jolly and would be a nice way to start the evening but going sober immediately after Hummingbird was a poor decision on my behalf.
Eventually, after having my relationship questioned by Gary Graham Knightley, I walked to Malostranska Beseda to see Twelfth Night.
Twelfth Night Reimagined was a decent performance with lovely music. Other than the music though, the show wasn’t particularly impressive. Maybe my expectations were too high because I’m quite an avid Shakespeare fan, but I did not have as much fun watching this comedy as I felt I should have. I watched the performance with my boyfriend who didn’t know the plot of twelfth night and had to wake him up half way through because he couldn’t follow the story. My greatest complaint was how difficult it was for the audience to differentiate between Viola and Sebastian, who are both biological twin sisters. There’s no noticeable difference in face-paint or costume, which leaves the audience just as confused as the characters on stage. The choice of gender-bending the twins is difficult to defend as well. Perhaps if both twins had been reversed so that Viola was a man and Sebastian was girl it would be more interesting. It was confusing that Olivia would be fine with the man she loved being a girl. Of course she could be bisexual but part of the play’s premise is that she had a gender preference, which is why all this tension exists in the first place. If you’re going to the show for the music, then it is worth it, as the music is beautiful but the production itself is lacklustre and I wouldn’t recommend it.
Finally, I went to see Sajeela Kershi’s Immigrant Diaries. The main theme seemed to be how one defines an immigrant, which is something very close to my heart. The stories there are incredibly relatable whether you are an immigrant of first, second, third generation or even just a person of mixed national identities. I think my only complaint with the performance was that it was too late in the evening for me to give my full attention to the stories on stage. Apart from a surprise at the end, most of the performance consists of immigrants standing and telling stories. As the day nears midnight on the fourth show of the day, it can be hard to follow each narrative with the attention it deserves. If you’re well rested though, it’s a wonderfully positive show in the current climate surrounding immigration.
You can check out Prague Fringe’s full programme, here.