The Conveyor Awards of Excellence

The Conveyor is proud to announce our awards of
excellence for the 2009 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. After seeing about as much
Fringe as is humanly possible, we wanted to give our opinion on the best. We have
created a series of categories and groupings and have come up with what we
believe represents the best of the festival.


Best Overall Fringe Production

Empire of Feathers


The Top Tier by Genre – The shows listed below in each grouping represent the best of the festival. Each genre, as defined by our reviewers, breaks the festival out into comparable categories. In each genre we have listed, in alphabetical order, the shows that stand out as elite.


Best Narrative

Empire of Feathers


The Success Show


Best Non-Narrative Theatrical

April Fools

Assholes and Aureoles


Best Movement/Dance/Interdisciplinary

7(x1) Samurai

It Might Be OK

The 4 Food Groups


Best Story Telling – Non-Theatrical

Sex, Dreams, and Self Control!

The Terrorism of Everyday Life


During Fringe there have been many elements of each production that deserve recognition. We’ve created
awards, as listed below, which point out individuals and elements of shows that stood out. They are ranked in order.


Best Individual Performers

David Gaines in 7(x1) Samurai

George Alexander in The Success Show

Karen Wissel in The Edge


Best Ensemble

It Might Be OK

April Fools


4 Food Groups

Guns and Chickens

Empire of Feathers


Funniest Show

The Success Show

April Fools

Sex, Dreams, and Self Control!

Assholes and Aureoles


Best Script

Michael Comstock for The Success Show

Sarah Underwood for Gravesongs


Best Musical Moments

Ed Hamell for Terrorism of Everyday Life

Ken Early and Liz Vosmeier in Jacques Brel Lonesome Losers of the Night

S.R. Woodward for the music in The 4 Food Groups

Kevin Thorton for Sex, Dreams, and Self Control

Brant Miller for the music in April Fools


Best Overall Moment

The umbrella sequence from It Might Be OK

The techno music’s emotional breakdown in April Fools

The four way spit-take in The 4 Food Groups

The brave audience member who took a bite from the onion in The Success Show, then took a second bite.


Most Fringey Show

Empire of Feathers

The 4 Food Groups

April Fools

Fringe Review: April Fools

When Thumping Techno-music plays an omniscient yet emotionally flawed character, what else could you want? Kazoos? You got it. Hats? There are some of those. Boxes? Lots of those. "April Fools" by Four Humors Theatre is a conceptual romp that explores comedy, poetry, music, and takes big chances. The payoff is in the unexpected. There is a loose narrative here that takes a back seat to expression. At times they go for a laugh, at other times the laughs just creep up on them for no apparent reason. This show is a classic Fringe show. It doesn't spoon feed the audience, but it does lead them to the well. If you aren't willing to let go of your preconceptions, then I don't know if you are going to like this show. If you want to jump into an empty box with four guys from Minnesota, play with markers, jam with a sweet techno beat, giggle like a kid, then go talk with the actors (Brant, Jason, Matt, and Nick) after the show about what the Hell just happen on stage, then you have two more chances (Friday and Saturday at the Know Theatre). I really liked this show and really want to get an mp3 of the music tracks. I think a techno "god" is something we all can use. That and a thermos. Long live Poetry Box.

Fringe Review: The Success Show

Writing drives "The Success Show" from Finite Number of Monkeys, and the script by Michael Comstock is force that puts the the You in You-niverse. The setting is a self help seminar and we are served up a satirical spoof worthy to be compared to early SNL or SCTV. The structure of the show puts the audience member inside the seminar right from start where you are greeted and asked to make a name tag. I was "Bob". I wanted to remain anonymous. My Fringe Media Pass had my name on it, but I wanted to keep everyone guessing. George Alexander and Randy Lee Bailey were fantastic as Denny Martin (self declared self-help guru) and his right hand man Arnie Laughlin. They captured the reality of the characters and then brought it over to satirical side without letting go of the actuality of these characters. The audience interaction is funny, fresh and unpredictable. The turns that the story takes come out of nowhere. Everything about this show works. My advice for you if you want to have a successful night is when a man asks you to take a bite of an onion, do it. Then take a second bite. The last performance is at 9:15PM at the Art Academy Friday night June 5th (tonight).

Fringe Review: Assholes and Aureoles

Post-Post Reconstructed Modern Feminism is the best way I can describe the tone of “Assholes And Aureoles” from InterAction Theater, Inc. It’s pronounced like the bird “orioles” in case you were wondering.

No, I just made up that form of feminism because I have no other way to describe a show with vignettes about rape, life in a women’s shelter, and pedophilia. If you can see the humor that be found in those topics, then this show is for you. It makes you laugh, but you feel a little bit bad for laughing. Then you feel stupid for feeling bad, etc.

Continue reading “Fringe Review: Assholes and Aureoles”

Day 7: Call Me

I had a realization while I was doing Call Me. (Note I said "doing" since Call Me is a participatory show.)

Until this show, I have never done a participatory show. Never seen Nick and Tina’s Italian Wedding or been to a participatory whodunnit, nothing.

So, I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.

If you’re worried that you might get embarrassed–there’s no chance of that. It’s a very easy show to do, takes about 40 minutes, and it’s better with 2-4 people rather than doing it alone. And the costumes were classic. Definitely worth doing.

Day 5/Day 7: Travel / Where Drunk Men Go

Travel and Where Drunk Men Go: A Poem with Music have very little in common, except one key thing…each had more audiences where over half the crowd had not yet seen a Fringe show. This makes sense, of course, as dance and poetry have their own following, so they would attract a less "fringe" audience.

Travel is an aerial dance show. I had never seen aerial dance before (other than Circe du Soleil performances on television, which are not totally dissimilar). Fringe is about seeing and doing things that you wouldn’t otherwise. Travel got me out of your comfort zone, and you should see it for the same reason.

Where Drunk Men Go: A Poem with Music is a long-from poem interspersed with bluegrass music. Griff and I were the youngest in attendance, which I think is a rather nice switch from the usual situation at Fringe. The crowd dug it, particularly the music, and the performance really took life when Richard Hague (the poet) went from memory instead of from his notes.

Day 6: The Success Show

A raucous satire of motivational speakers, The Success Show is simply one of the funniest shows of the festival.

It’s tought to review a comedy that you really liked–how do you demonstrate that it’s funny? By ruining the best jokes of the show by repeating them in your review?

I would do anything for the Conveyor, but I won’t do that.

I will say, however, that this Powerpoint-based show had the audience rolling up to the end–and it’s one of the can’t miss shows. It’s one of the best of the festival.

Day 5 Continued: Brother Bailey’s Pageant…

So, if you do a satire and your opening night crowd responds with "gales of laughter", is your show a success?

Not if you’re the reviewer from CityBeat.

This is called missing the point.

My audience laughed throughout. Apparently, every audience is laughing.

If you like dark comedy and aren’t offended by religious satire, you’ll laugh. Again, and again.

Fringe Review: Brother Bailey’s Pageant of Moral Superiority and Creation Science Island Jamboree

Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photo by Mikki Schaffner Hey Gang, are you ready for some fun? Dance you self over to the Art Academy and see a show full of satire, groovy beach wear, science, religion, murder, and enough sexual innuendo to make 100 teen age guys cream their trunks. “Brother Bailey’s Pageant of Moral Superiority and Creation Science Island Jamboree” from Ornamental Messiah Productions has all of that and more.

The script and cast have the satire down squarely and drive a few knives into Religious Extremism. Laughs are abundant and the jokes are very fresh. The staging could use some polishing and the transition between scenes was very choppy at times.

I can say I generally laughed my ass off and that is not an overstatement. I nearly busted a gut with the ending. I will not give it away, but writer Brad Cupples out did himself. Don’t miss this one if you want to go to heaven.