‘Naked,’ ‘Curie’ wow at Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival

Plan your Fringe schedule with the Trib’s reviews.

Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune Performers give a short preview of their work during the opening party for the third annual Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival in Sugarhouse on Thursday, July 27, 2017.

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To attend Fringe, you’ll pay $5 for a temporary tattoo, with proceeds earmarked for operating costs. Each show costs $10 (cheaper deals with three and 10-ticket packages) with proceeds earmarked for performers. You’ll find the program at the venues, where you can buy tickets: Westminster College (1250 E. 1700 South, Salt Lake City) and the Fringe Factory (2234 Highland Drive). More info here.

“1222 Randall Ave.”

The TwoFifteen Project • The play catches Jack as she is moving out of the house she has lived in for four years. Flashbacks carry us back to times she shared with her friends and her visiting sister and chronicle the way their relationships evolved and dissolved over that time. Max Huftalin’s portrait of these millennials captures their rootlessness and inability to make meaningful commitments, but it never penetrates more than sitcom deep. The characters and their interactions aren’t developed, and at the end we don’t know much more about these people than we did at the beginning. (45 minutes.) Not recommended.

Shows: 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3; 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5; 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, at the Fringe Factory’s Second Floor, 2234 Highland Drive, Salt Lake City.

| Courtesy photos by Scott Pakudaitis, graphic design by Alexandra Kesman Sadie Bowman and Ricky Coates will perform in MATHEATRE's "Currie Me Away!" The "radioactive musical" will be presented at the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival.

“Curie Me Away”

Matheatre • Sadie Bowman and Ricky Coates’ charming musical portrait of the woman who discovered radium and developed the study of radioactivity along with her husband, Pierre, is a delight from start to finish. The play follows Marie Curie from her early days in Poland, when the Russian authorities refused to let women study, to her education in Paris, marriage to Pierre, and their groundbreaking scientific breakthroughs together, culminating in Marie becoming the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for physics in 1903. Bowman portrays Marie, and Coates plays all the alternately adversarial and supportive men she encounters along the way. One of three musical plays on science the couple tour to high schools and universities, “Curie Me Away” combines art and education in a completely unique and entertaining way. (One hour.) Highly recommended.

Shows: 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4; 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5; 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, at Westminster College’s Dumke Black Box, 1250 E. 1700 South, Salt Lake City.

“Do You Want to See Me Naked?”

Sackerson • “I am a fat person, … the nastiest woman in Provo. I have a body, and I want to show it to you,” croons Elizabeth Golden in Morag Shepherd’s ego-exposing monologue. Garbed like a Greek goddess and accompanied by violin music, Golden takes us through the range of sexually defining experiences of one overweight ex-Mormon woman who’s totally conflicted about whether she wants us to look at her. Shepherd’s writing is sharp and constantly compelling, and Golden is mesmerizing as she uses honesty and humor to grapple with the way she and others choose to look at her. Do we get to see her naked? You’ll have to come to the show to find out. (45 minutes.) Highly recommended.

Shows: 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4; 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, at the Fringe Factory’s Forge Theatre.


Utah Repertory Theatre • “We have mastered the absolute disconnect,” Faye says in “Exposure,” Natalia Noble and JayC Stoddard’s steamy and imaginative examination of virtual-reality dating and relationships. Faye and Miles have created two avatar personas, Lilly and Ethan, to navigate the treacherous terrain of online dating and protect themselves from being hurt. These incarnations of “everything the world wants me to be” also keep them from being honest with each other. What is the difference between fantasy and lying? Faye and Miles interact with their creations in shifting combinations as “Exposure” asks some penetrating questions about relationships in an age when people communicate mostly through phones and computers.  Noble and Stoddard give the play an interesting extra twist by portraying Faye and Miles. (45 minutes.) Recommended.   

Shows: 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3; 10:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4; 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, at Westminster College’s Courage Theatre. 

“Safe Sex”

An Other Theater Company • Harvey Fierstein’s trilogy of plays on coping with the reality of AIDS was written in 1987, and this part feels somewhat dated 30 years later. Mead and Ghee’s relationship would have been in trouble even without the added pressure of the AIDS crisis: One of them has been unfaithful, and the other uses his constant reminders about the restrictions imposed by safe sex to avoid intimacy with his partner. The characters are not deeply developed, and flat performances by the two actors don’t help individualize them. And the hanging clothes and ladders that director Taylor Jack Nelson has added are confusing and distracting. Are they supposed to allude to airing your dirty laundry in public? (30 minutes.) Playing in rep with “On Tidy Endings.” Not recommended.

Shows: 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, at Westminster College’s Courage Theatre.

| Courtesy photo by Trevor Newsome Provo's An Other Theater Company will present "On Tidy Endings," directed by artistic director Kacey Spadafora, with Brett Merritt as Arthur and Kynsie Kiggins as Marion, at the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival.

“On Tidy Endings”

An Other Theater Company • Who has the better right to grieve when a gay man dies: Marion, the woman who was married to him for 16 years, or Arthur, the lover who shared his life the past three years and wasn’t even mentioned in his obituary? This third part of Harvey Fierstein’s trilogy exploring the AIDS crisis focuses on the meeting between the two as they try to wrap things up in Colin’s apartment and share memories, bitter and sweet, of the man they both loved. Kynsie Kiggins and Brett Merritt give powerful and touching performances as they progress from adversaries to tentative understanding. Kacey Spadafora’s staging features another distracting clothesline, but at least it’s integrated into the action this time. Playing in repertory with ”Safe Sex.” (45 minutes.) Highly recommended.

Shows: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3; 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, at Westminster College’s Courage Theatre.


Utah Repertory Theatre • L. L. West’s comedy has an intriguing premise: Why not combine the annual Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, Pa., with the ever-encircling and endlessly futile cycle depicted in the film? Three characters spin a tale about Roxie (a fourth) simultaneously, moving around the performing space to repeat their versions of the story three times to the different sections of the audience. The stories sometimes intersect cleverly, and Roxie occasionally collaborates to tell them. In spite of the actors’ animated performances, the stories are too long and not focused, vivid or unique enough to sustain the gimmick and hold our attention. (One hour.) Recommended with reservations.

Shows: 10:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4; 3 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, at the Fringe Factory’s Second Floor.


Post Theatre Company • It’s her boyfriend, Olly’s, birthday party, but Daisy is having a panic attack and has barricaded herself in the bathroom, where her best friend, Pat, and Olly try frantically to calm her down and determine what’s wrong with her. McKenzie Steele Foster’s inventive and constantly surprising play puts us into Daisy’s head as she tries desperately to figure out what’s real and what isn’t, and soon we can’t tell the difference, either. An appearance by an unexpected guest only deepens the dilemma. Energized by insightful performances and a very innovative soundtrack, “Stalled” is alternately poignant and funny. (40 minutes.) Highly recommended.

Shows: 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4; 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5; 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, at the Fringe Factory’s Forge Theatre.

Family Fringe <br>Special shows at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday will be performed at Westminster College’s Jewett Center Atrium.<br>Updated schedule at http://greatsaltlakefringe.org.

Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune Performers give a short preview of their work during the opening party for the third annual Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival in Sugarhouse on Thursday, July 27, 2017.