The Fringe is upon us again. We have lost our guiding light, Annette Lust, but the long-running series of one-act theater productions she created and nurtured through 31 seasons lives on, still suffused with her energy, and now her memory. Opening night April 19, with its mixture of low comedy, witty insight, and real-life drama, is a powerful testament to that memory.
The evening opens with “Mr. Wonderful” (long-time Fringer Harold Delinsky) and MC/writer/director George Dykstra exchanging vaudevillian one-line groaners between sets of 60s popular dance (think “the Swim”) by a trio of local high-school students. Danielle Littman has written a touching, insightful ode to the “Last Letter” that will ever be carried by our dwindling USPS, and actress Hilda Roe delivers. Maureen Coyne and Al Badger return to the Fringe with their trademark well-tuned performances, this as a married couple who never quite got what they wanted in Norma Anapol’s “Rose Levy Learns at Last.”
After the Intermission, the Romantic poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Molly McCarthy) comes to life, choosing “Not Death, but Love” (written and directed by Roberta Palumbo) and leaving the father who never quite knew her for the poet now taking her away to new and unknown adventures. “The Dead Celebrity Line” (by Gaetana Caldwell Smith) looks into the inner workings of a lingerie store, and the lives of the young ladies in retail. Amazing performances by Hilda Roe and Flora Lynn Isaacson reach deep into the real tragedy that war brings to those who have no part in it in David Hirzel’s “The Two Hundredth Day” (very well directed by Steve North). The evening comes to a well-tuned close with a witty take on the complicated ritual of birthday-gift choices in modern marriage.
As always, the Fringe of Marin continues to surprise and delight. Program Two opens tonight. See the Fringe website for performance times and dates for both programs.
All shows at Meadowlands Hall, Dominican University in San Rafael.
Five performances only of each program, weekends.
Last show May 5 matinee.
Box Office 415-673-3131
Fringe of Marin website and program
Review by David Hirzel (author of “The 200th Day”)