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2014 Fringe Festival: Headliners 

Circus Orange

click to enlarge Photo courtesy the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival
  • Photo courtesy the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival

Circus Orange's "Tricycle" act is a true smorgasbord of a performance. Described as a "dramatic fusion of live music, clown, circus dance, aerial performance, mechanics, pyrotechnics and fire arts," the show seems like something out of a Tim Burton flick. The performers walk through the crowd — so if you are scared of clowns you will want to stay far away. If you can get over the coulrophobia though, you're in for a treat, as you can see an odd clown named Foo ride a ridiculously large tricycle, and a pyro wheel which I'll leave up to your imagination. No, someone didn't slip a hallucinogen, it's just the show being that good.

Circus Orange will perform "Tricycle" on Friday, September 19, at Martin Luther King Jr. Park at Manhattan Square, beginning at 7:30 p.m. The show is free for all ages.

Cirque Du Fringe

click to enlarge Photo courtesy the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival
  • Photo courtesy the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival

Last year's Cirque Du Fringe shows sold out, and with a new Mardi Gras performance, tickets will probably go quick this year. Taking place in the Spiegeltent — which is an experience in itself — the Vegas style, Circus themed act provides plenty of "did that really just happen?" moments, whether it be through feats of strength or high-flying acts. Adding to the circus vibes are the stunt clowns from 20 Penny Circus, who perform acts like playing Russian roulette with a nail gun (yikes!) and instantaneous teleportation (whoa!) among others. Much like Circus Orange, this is not a show for clown fearers but those with neutral clown feelings are in for a magical time. 20 Penny Circus will host Cirque du Fringe, and the Kenya Safari Acrobats will also perform.

Cirque Du Fringe has various show times each day of the Fringe Festival. For specifics, visit rochesterfringe.com. Performances are in the Spiegeltent. $36. Appropriate for ages 13 and older.

The Magic Crystal Spiegeltent

click to enlarge Photo courtesy the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival
  • Photo courtesy the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival

Back after a popular reception at last year's festival, the Spiegeltent is almost like a completely different world, sort of like walking through the magic wardrobe in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." It is made of wood and has mirrors and stained glass on the inside, and the inside is chock full of nostalgia. There are a number of shows going on in the tent, but a couple of discos are especially of note.

First, get a bit of the silent treatment through the Silent Disco, a dance party where you hear nothing until you slip on a pair of headphones which give you the option of hearing one of two live DJs. Then there's the Brown Bag Disco, which is the Silent Disco during the work day, except it includes a bagged lunch, and really, who doesn't love a free lunch? Silent Disco takes place Friday, September 19, 26, and 27, at 11 p.m. and is appropriate for ages 18 and older. Tickets are $9. Brown Bag Disco takes place Friday, September 26, at 12 p.m. and is for all ages. Entrance is $9 and includes a bagged lunch from Pelligrino's.

If you want more 20 Penny Circus, the troupe will perform its own solo shows in the Spiegeltent on Thursday, September 25, 26, and 27, at 9:30 p.m. $17 This show is for mature audiences.

Spoon River Rochester

click to enlarge Photo courtesy the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival
  • Photo courtesy the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival

There has been many moments throughout my reading career where I thought, "Wouldn't it be fun if I could live this story in real life?" This is what theatre group Method Machine's Spoon River Rochester aims to accomplish. Based on Edger Lee Masters' "Spoon River Anthology," — which narrates the lives of 212 deceased residents of the fictional town Spoon River through poetic epitaphs — approximately 300 Rochesterians will take up roles of the residents, simultaneously performing their associated poems. Show goers can stroll through the interactive performance and create their own unique show. The show only lasts for a half-hour, so be sure to take in the largest performance anywhere of Masters' work while you have the chance.

Spoon River Rochester takes place on Friday, September 26, and Saturday, September 27, 6:30 p.m. on Gibbs Street between Main and East. This performance is free and appropriate for all ages.

Jay Pharoah

See interview: "Impersonator-in-chief"

In This Guide...

    2014 Rochester Fringe Festival Preview

    Headliners, Jay Pharoah interview, Critics Picks
    This year, the Rochester Fringe Festival will feature more than 380 shows, taking place Thursday, September 18, through Saturday, September 27, across 28 venues in and around downtown Rochester.

    2014 Fringe Festival: Impersonator-in-chief

    Interview with Jay Pharoah
    Jay Pharoah Performing at the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival Saturday, September 20 Spiegeltent, 406 East Main Street 9:30 p.m. & 11:30 p.m. | $48 | Rochesterfringe.com; Jaypharoah.com

    2014 Fringe Festival: Critic Picks

    City's arts and entertainment writers sound off on their most-anticipated shows at Fringe 2014

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