The Berkshire Fringe, Week One: “Malhalla,” “The Other Mozart” and “Dead Letter Office” [Berkshire on Stage]
Review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray
Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray have been following the BERKSHIRE FRINGE FESTIVAL for years, though Burns has managed to see far more of their work than Murray. Sara Katzoff, Timothy Ryan Olson and Peter Wise are the co-artistic directors who have been tenaciously cultivating the region’s younger audiences with quirky, peculiar theater that is alternately slapstick, serious, sad, silly and always surprising. Cross-disciplinary and dynamic, it is both theater that is on the cutting edge, and theater that matters.
The Fringe is back for its ninth season, and we ventured once again to the Daniel Arts Center, located at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, MA. Their audiences have been growing at a steady pace, and this year two of the three performances seen on a Friday were close to full. Gail particulary liked THE OTHER MOZART while Larry enjoyed MALHALLA. Both swooned over the droll DEAD LETTER OFFICE, which is full of surprises. Here is their capsule review of those three performances in the order that they were seen. (You can find additional comments from Gail on Facebook while Larry’s notes also appear in Broadway World.)
Larry: MAHALLA from the Anthropologists is hypnotic to watch, even if sometimes you don’t know what they are getting at.
Gail: This one frankly puzzled me, and as I continued to fail to make intellectual and emotional connection with either characters or plot, I lost interest. This is sad because I believe the ensemble has a real passion for the issues they are trying to address here, but they fail to convey it to the audience.