One Girl, Two Cities

Fringe Review: Fruit Flies Like A Banana: Alphabetical Disorder

fruit flies like a banana minnesota fringe festival

Music, theatre, and dance collide in this all-new, madcap variety hour. Each piece matches a letter of the alphabet, but YOU choose the show order! It’ll make you laugh, sing and wonder, “How’d the do that?”

I missed The Fourth Wall Ensemble at last year’s Fringe but had heard only amazing things, so I made sure to include them on my schedule this year. And I’m so glad I did.

Hilary Abigana, C Neil Parsons and Greg Jukes call themselves a hybrid arts ensemble, and once you see them perform, that makes total sense. Hilary plays the flute and piccolo, and she sings. Neil plays bass trombone, euphonium, toy piano and ukulele. Greg takes on percussion, accordion, toy piano and vibraphone (like a xylophone, but different).

The premise of this year’s Fruit Flies Like a Banana: Alphabetical Disorder show is that the letters of the alphabet are strung up on stage, and the audience calls out letters in random order. Each letter stands for something and leads to the trio performing a number of things.

For instance, U is for Upside-Down in which Greg plays Fur Elise on the toy piano… while upside down. Hilary also plays the flute while upside down and sideways and all kinds of ways that I found myself in awe of the level of skill and discipline.

During other letters, Hilary plays the flute while throat singing, and Neil performs multiphonics on the trombone in which he plays more than one note at a time. Amazing. Greg’s vibraphone work is especially fascinating to me, as he continues playing while walking in a complete circle around the vibraphone and also while avoiding being whacked in the head by the trombone, along with while they moved it across the stage (not necessarily all at the same time).

They are a well-oiled machine as they weave in and out and up and down and all over. How do they not run into each other?? Neil plays trombone for most of it, and the slide has quite the reach so it takes a great level of precision to pull off much of what they do.

This fun little team is so talented and captivating; they sweep the audience up into a ball of energy right from the start and you’ll find yourself smiling from start to finish at all the unexpected surprises that they nestle into the show.

Hilary, Neil and Greg are not only musicians and dancers, but they are educators, plugging in little nuggets of knowledge here and there throughout.

Alphabetical Disorder is whimsical and delightful, and I can see why everyone is raving about it.

The Minnesota Fringe Festival runs August 4-14, 2016 in Minneapolis. See The Last Red Shirt August 6, 7, 9, 12 and 14 at Rarig Thrust. Click here to purchase tickets.

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