Non-Registered Critics: Erik Blair

Nov

Romeo and Juliet in Hell

Romeo and Juliet in Hell offers a delightfully dark comedic tale. It blasts from joke to joke with a bravery that becomes infectious and without any shame for its absurd premise. On one level, the show is simply interested in giving an audience an enjoyable hour of entertainment and it does that quite well.

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Sep

Fallen Saints: Salem

Fallen Saints: Salem tells a horrible tale in a very good way. The production is a great Halloween-themed event that will appeal to those who relish witches, fear or paranoia. Fallen Saints: Salem has some great moments of terror and theatrical frights that will raise goose bumps. Force of Nature has once again created an October tale of horror that will please those looking for a dark night out.

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Jun

Stranger Things 2: The Musical Tribute

With heavy synth and endlessly catchy melodies, the songs capture the nostalgia and emotional points in the show. I honestly wish they had a cast-recorded album available for purchase...

Stranger Things 2: The Musical Tribute is a phenomenal production put on by clear fans of the show. The actors never overdo the characters we’ve come to know and love; instead, they present their own, lived-in versions that we can also root for. The big narrative moments are hit on, in addition to some new, smaller and emotional moments that really add to the overall characters. Stranger Things 2doesn’t need to be a big-budget, special-effects driven show; it is a nuanced and sweet reminder of the series at large.

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Jun

Rock Band Murder Mystery

Rock Band Murder Mystery certainly has its fun moments. Getting to pretend to be a rock star in a great location with a bunch of other people has a certain charm that made the experience fun and goofy and amusing. I am glad that I chose to go. I simply wish that the mystery had been something we had to crack, and that we could win or lose when we tried to solve it. At least in our group, we all came to the same conclusion without any confusion, which ultimately made the entire experience a little underwhelming. That being said, I am glad to see LARPs continue to influence immersive entertainment in even more blended ways.

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Jun

Ascend: When Myths Fall, Heroes Rise

... it creates one of the most enjoyable family-friendly productions that I’ve seen so far in both Fringe and Los Angeles.

...I truly enjoyed Ascend. With aspects of both LARP and gaming included in its mix, Ascend shows how effectively you can blend multiple different styles of experience and still have a workable, exciting immersive event. I sincerely hope the creators re-work the few small issues and mount this production again in the future. I would be happy to step into the world once more and try my luck with a different god or goddess any time.

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Jun

Town Brawl

I found Town Brawl to be a very refreshing change of pace to most of the immersive productions that happen at Fringe and in Los Angeles in general. It was bright and cheery, smart and funny, and it was an enjoyable hour living through a satirized version of far worse hours that I’ve lived through in real life. It gives us darkly funny characters and bizarrely terrible situations that are sadly likely to have happened in real life somewhere in this country. It reminds us of both how stupid politics can be and how wonderful humans themselves are – even in the midst of their petty complaints and shortsighted thinking. I really hope that Town Brawl extends beyond Fringe as I can envision a version of this show that is even sharper and funnier – and I would gladly return to see it one more time if that happens.

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Jun

Vote for Murder!

Overall, I found Vote for Murder to be a great experience. The premise was familiar but fun. The acting was top-notch with a cast that handled the improvisational nature of the show solidly. I love the fact that it was an actual game and that the solution changes from performance to performance (just like the old board game). And I love the fact that you can return to experience the event again (although I wonder if the puzzles are different from night to night. I hope so; otherwise the return value would be far less worthwhile). What you don’t need to wonder about is whether this is a show worth seeing. It is 100% an enjoyable, exciting and fun night.

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Jun

Pit of Goblins

Generating appropriate horror in a theatrical setting can be very, very hard. For most of Pit of Goblins, that underlying sense of impending horrible things looms very large in just the right way. Combining that horror with some excellent characters and sharp comedy equates into a show that is enjoyable and dark, funny and ghoulish, all at the same time.

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Nov

In Another Room

E3WProductions' 2018 version of In Another Room grants audience members that beautiful moment when narrative, design and talent all combine into something transcendent. It is rare to have a production that captures all three elements to such precision. In Another Room is one such rare and shining example.

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Oct

Radiant Vermin

RADIANT VERMIN is a tale both dark and comic, both fantastic and intimate. It speaks to the idea of what someone will do for their family and what someone will do for their greed. This production illuminates those themes with style and grace and creates a stellar first production for a company that I hope to see more from very soon. Right now, you should go see this production as fast as you can because it's a great production of a truly terrible story and the equitably despicable characters within it.

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