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Adam reviews "140 Characters or Less" and 20 Penny Circus 

The second social media-centric comedy show of my Fringe Festival experience this year, "140 Characters or Less: A Twitter Comedy Show" delivered the #funny. Hosted by comedian Dario Josef with a rotating cast of local stand-ups, the show shares some DNA with Comedy Central's popular "@midnight" program -- mixing Twitter-based humor with traditional stand-up comedy. Things started off a bit wobbly, but thankfully got stronger as the show progressed.

In the first two games, the comedians shared previously written Tweets they'd directed at D-list celebrities and major businesses, respectively. The material was only sporadically amusing and, with each comic admitting that none of their targets ever responded, reflected a little too closely Twitter's tendency to occasionally feel like shouting into a void.

Things picked up considerably with the much ballyhooed "Tweet Off," in which the comics went head-to-head, pitting what they considered to be their best, wittiest Tweets against their competitors. It would have been nice to see what the comics could have done when forced to come up with material on the spot, but no matter: funny is funny. I should note that, somewhat mystifyingly, none of the performers gave out their Twitter handles -- the night's Tweet-Off winner (Kevin Harrington) made me laugh hard enough that I immediately attempted to follow him, but was spectacularly unsuccessful (sad trombone).

"140 Characters or Less: A Comedy Show" will be held again with all-new performers on Saturday, September 27, at RAPA's East End Theatre. 3 p.m. $10. This show is recommended for those 18 and older.



In their all-ages-appropriate appearances with Cirque du Fringe, the edgy clowns of 20 Penny Circus have played Russian roulette with nail guns and stapled tarot cards to their chests. With that kind of material, I was curious how much wilder a "mature audiences" solo show would get, and the answer is (give or take a few f-bombs ) not much -- but that doesn't make it any less entertaining. 20 Penny's Tyler Sutter and Carl Skenes give Fringe audiences a night of magic, stunts, comedy, and "entertainment for those with questionable taste."

I could recount the pair's individual acts one by one, but that would only spoil the fun. I'll only say that one in particular, featuring "ritualized mutilation" (I swear, it's not as graphic as it sounds), made several audience members in my vicinity recoil in horror. And while I admit to being a tiny bit disappointed to find that several of the night's acts were previously featured in last year's Cirque du Fringe performance, I can't fault the pair too much -- the feats are just as captivating as ever. So if you haven't seen their act yet, there's no reason not to grab a seat.

20 Penny Circus will perform again on Friday, September 26, and Saturday, September 27, in the Spiegeltent. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.



In This Guide...

    Adam reviews "Spoon River Rochester" and "Bushwacked"

    Combining aspects of a flash mob, performance art, and historical ghost walk, the wonderfully eerie "Spoon River Rochester" adapts the text of Edgar Lee Masters' "Spoon River Anthology" with a cast of over 150 actors (including Mayor Lovely Warren) delivering poems from the work, each one an epitaph of a single resident of the titular, fictional small town. Dressed all in white and shades of gray, faces painted pale, each holding a single candle, the performers are certainly striking to look at.

    David reviews "Chocolate Casi Amargo," "You Are Where," and "M.I.A."

    I only know a few words of Spanish, but I really enjoyed "Chocolate Casi Amargo," ("Chocolate, Almost Bitter"), a one-act written and directed by Candide Carrasco and presented Saturday afternoon on the TheaterRocs Stage at Xerox Auditorium. The play has no plot to speak of, it's just a late-night conversation between a long-married couple, Isabel (Elena Nápoles Goldfeder) and Francisco (Rubén Lorenzo Gómez).

    Frank reviews Teressa Wilcox Band, Violet Mary, the Heroic Enthusiasts, and The Campbell Brothers

    I've been going to see Teressa Wilcox since she was a teenage chick with a pick. And her voice's timbre has always taken a back seat to her gentle phrasing.

    Rebecca reviews "Moment of Impact"

    Created and performed by Bronwyn Sims of Strong Coffee Stage Company, "Moment of Impact" is a strange, multimedia, one-woman show that explores how trauma experienced and tragedy witnessed can change the trajectory of a life. Inspired by real events, the story is told through the creative use of a sparse set, theater, dance, and aerial acrobatics.

    Casey reviews "Garth Fagan Dance: Up Close & Personal"

    Experiencing Garth Fagan Dance perform is a little bit like coming home, especially when you live in Rochester where the cutting edge contemporary dance company (now in its 44th year) also resides and works. Familiar dancers, familiar pieces, familiar Fagan -- both wise and jocular in his comments and anecdotes.

    Casey reviews Biodance and "Diaghilesque"

    All of Rochester could have been lit by the energy Biodance exuded at GEVA's Nextstage last night. The show reminded me of a collection of excellent short stories.

    Rebecca reviews "Merged II"

    The final Fringe Festival performance of "Merged II" was presented on Wednesday night at Geva'sNextstage. This deeply moving and visually stunning series of performances was a fantastic celebration of the human body's capabilities to strive and express and explore and persevere.

    David reviews "The Cougar and the Cabana Boy"

    If you're not quite ready to say goodbye to summer, slip on your flip-flops and catch one of the remaining performances of "The Cougar and the Cabana Boy" at Xerox Auditorium. This original musical by Dresden Engle and J. Daniel Lauritzson features a very agreeable cast and a story as light and colorful as the beach balls that get thrown around in one of the big numbers.

    Photos from "TriviaCITY"

    CITY Newspaper's second annual trivia night at the Rochester Fringe Festival featured 17 teams competing at 5 rounds of questions about Rochester, the Fringe, and weird-knowledge trivia. Questions ranged from disco-song-origins, to fill-in-the-blank limericks on notable Rochesterians, a visual round of local logos, and a test of knowledge on the history of the Erie Canal.

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