Fringe: Carrie Potter and the Half-Blood Prom


Josh Speerstra as Plucky the ghost elf, Baughman as Jesus the narrator, Jen Tonon as Rhonda

What the hell, I’ve got the knives out and sharpened, let’s get yank this bandaid all the way off so I can start talking about things that didn’t suck. My second-worst Fringe experience this year was Carrie Potter and the Half-Blood Prom. I think what’s worth mentioning here is that dissapointing an audience who’s walked into what is obviously going to be a gag on Harry Potter and the movie Carrie takes some work. None of us walked in the door expecting genius-level writing, brilliant songs, or flawless staging. Instead what we got was the dream made reality for anyone who ever went to see a Cherry Red show and thought to themselves “this would be way better if the staging wasn’t so precise, the story so tight, the acting so regal, the costumes so elaborate, and the cast so awake.”

I honestly feel dirty comparing this show to anything Cherry Red ever offered up. While both groups set out to make something silly and fun, I never once was made to feel in a CR show that they flat out didn’t give a crap how well they did anything. The actors in Carrie Potter wander about, make flubs that stink of a lack of rehearsal, and just overall fail to entertain. Unlike Butter, where you kind of feel bad for the apparent lack of awareness of what’s not good and not working, this show just gave you the sense that they didn’t care.

There’s some funny stuff in here, though it’s over-used in a tedious way. “Transitional song” is probably the best example of this, a piece that Baughman and the band do several times in between scenes. It made me snicker the first time and then was pulled back out again with no improvement or elaboration. Before the show begins Geeky Kid, played by Ally Jenkins, comes out in character and demands all the audience members take a post-it and write a phrase on it that will be read at some point in the show. “Because,” we’re told, “the script isn’t very good.” Could have been funny, but again, done in a half-assed manner. Five minutes into the show Carrie Potter, played by Jennifer Berg, picks one up on the stage floor, where they’ve been scattered, and realizes they’d read that one already. Obviously nobody has considered what to do with the notes once they’re read or if there’s a dupe. Instead it just hits a flat note and we move on.

I came to this show expecting nothing more than goofs and laughs… and that the performers wanted to have fun with us and cared if we had fun. There wasn’t the slightest indication that they gave a rat’s ass, or at least not enough of one to make more than the most minimal of efforts. The next time you take my $15 I’d appreciate a little interest and energy.

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