Our coverage of the Prague Fringe continues… here’s what Megan and Liam saw on Saturday the 26th of May!
The Saturday goes at a much easier pace than the first Friday. The shows are better spaced together and starting two hours later does leave me feeling relatively less crushed with exhaustion at the end of the day. I also think that starting with the incredible Old Bones set the day up to be quite lovely. Old Bones is a one-hander about the torturous experience of immortality. A man driven insane by the rapids of time strains to explain his life story and his awful inability to lose anything save the person he wants most. The performer has such incredible energy, I find myself incapable of looking away. Everything is performed with elegance and balance. The performance balances moments of lightness with intense emotional beats and an incredibly creative use of props. I found the use of a beating sheet behind him to create the effect of a storm quite powerful, as it not only created the vision of a red, pulsing sky but also the sound of rumbling thunder. I can’t give this performance enough praise for its power and intensity.
After this, I went to Quest(ion), another one hander. I have… questions about this show. I didn’t dislike it, Senorita has a lovely charm about her and she’s certainly very funny, but I do struggle with absurdist work. I think the show is supposed to visually represent a sort of mid life crisis, as she runs across the theatre asking if we speak Basque and later tries to get a date from the audience. She’s certainly good at what she does, even if I’m not quite sure what that is. She dances, shouting phrases in Basque and singing about how we don’t know what the world is. I left with more questions than answers, but I think that was the point.
Then, I left up the steps to Golden Key to see I Only Get Migraines When It Rains. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I watch so many shows that I often just look at the picture in the programme. I was not expecting a burlesque clown performance, but such is the fringe for you, and I did enjoy it. A burlesque clown is the perfect metaphor for what it feels like to be woman. Society expects women to be innocent, child-friendly and packaged but somehow still sexy underneath all the layers of performance. As Dotti slowly reveals throughout the piece, we are not what we show the world, and a lot of us have broken pieces. It’s a wonderful way of exploring the journey from innocence, not only in relationships but in performance as well, through the hard knocks of life to become an experienced lover and artist. I was touched by Dotti’s bravery and honesty as she bared all in every sense of the word.
The fourth show of the day was a short walk away in Divadlo Inspirace. I was wary of Nathan and Ida’s Hot Dog Stand as the picture on the poster led me to assume it was some silly clownish comedy about selling hot dogs. I think this was another example of a moment where I had not really read the programme properly. The story is a love story about two immigrants who came to New York and built a dream and a partnership with each other. I loved the representation of evil Cuban boss Mr Feltman as a puppet that seemed to speak in only hand gestures. The dramatically inflated flashback scenes tell a lot about the characters’ motivations and shows the audience just how they fit together. I have to admit I was worried my makeup wouldn’t stay in place as the show closed and tears were streaming down my cheeks. This show really pulls at your heartstrings, I would definitely recommend it for anyone who wants to feel a bit of cheesy romance.
I stayed in the venue for the next show, which was Scotland! The show clearly deserves its exclamation mark. It was an energetic romp full of acrobatics and hilarity. Audience members were pulled up (myself included) to help with the acrobatics and become characters in the story. The show plays to the stereotypes of the Scots yet joyously celebrates Scottish culture. It’s absurd, it’s hilarious and it’s impossible to tear your eyes away. It’s so important for these midnight shows to be energetic, especially for bingers such as myself who may already be several shows down and using toothpicks to keep their eyes open. I highly recommend this show for anyone who wants to be rolling out of their seats laughing at midnight.
I only got to squeeze in one show today, a quick little dip in to see The Little Fisherman. I’ll echo everything Megan said already; it’s a lean, fun, light-hearted little piece, and it’s impressive that they took an incredibly short little fable and managed to find and spin out some lovely, beautiful moments. I was grinning from the moment the performers came out into the courtyard of the Museum of Alchemists to invite us inside with a song. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing, especially when it’s executed this well! The atmosphere was lovely, relaxed, fun and welcoming.
The performance I went to had some kids in the audience, so I got to see the full interactive promise of the show, with the narrator it just before the climax of the tale let the magical, wish-granting Flounder at the centre of the tale grant wishes for them. Seeing how the magical Flounder brought a little kids wish to have a little brother to life was adorable, hilarious and beautiful. I wanted to see a little more; the ending felt just a teeny bit too abrupt. Then again, a longer ending might have made the message at the centre of the piece too overt and on the nose? In any case, at half an hour, it is only as long as it needs to be, and feels perfectly complete. Also, kudos to the team for managing to fit in some acrobatics in that tiny little theatre!