Horror Movies and Puppets!

Day two of the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival down, one to go! Today’s schedule initially had me seeing The Heritage Players’ Old Time Family Radio at StorySwap but due to construction and traffic on Route 28 I unfortunately missed the show! My sincerest apologies to The Heritage Players for missing their first show this weekend but there is still one more chance to see it Sunday at 2:00pm at Max’s Allegheny Tavern upstairs.

On this very sunny day, I waited for my next show inside Fringe Central (Arnold’s Tea) and had myself a refreshing iced Peach Apple Cobbler Tea (which I highly recommend). I strolled back on over to Max’s Allegheny Tavern and went downstairs for my next show, Stand-Up Horror, written and performed by local playwright and producer, Michael McGovern. You can also check out our other writer, John’s thoughts on Stand-Up Horror here. The space was definitely the perfect place to have a show like this: a little dark, a little dingy, a little dank. McGovern started off his performance scooting on stage a la Igor in Frankenstein. From there he started rattling off all kinds of stories, jokes and puns all with the same themes: horror movies.

There were over 25 bits in this performance ranging from classic Dracula and Frankenstein references to circus freaks on dates, even stories of a girl that would give Buffy the Vampire Slayer a run for her money. Most of this act came off more like a television commercial or a PSA rather than stand-up comedy but that didn’t make it any less entertaining. Nearly all of these bits were written by McGovern himself, which I find incredibly impressive especially since you really have to pay attention. He references back to many of the stories, so in order to get the second joke obviously you had to have heard the first one! A few of my favorite stories were: The Toolbox Killer, Linda Blair Was My Prom Date, Pretty Woman Meets Hannibal Lector, and, of course, the musical interlude. Who knew Michael McGovern was such a great air guitarist?! Unfortunately, Saturday at 8:00pm was the last chance to see Stand-Up Horror so I guess you’ll have to take our word for it!

Once I was filled to the brim with horror movie puns I moseyed on over to Bistro to Go in time for Songs from a Lost Civilization & Other Stories. This show was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before; I almost felt like we should be in an artsy café with little cups of espresso and wearing sunglasses. Songs alternated reciting local poets’ poetry and original puppet shows. These puppets were also like nothing I’ve seen before; I’m all too used to the Jim Henson Muppet style puppets so these were a bit of a shock to my system. But in a good way of course.

Creator and Puppeteer Cheryl Capezzuti did a wonderful job of fashioning these unique looking puppets out of very literally everything. These were such magnificent and intricate creatures, they were works of art in and of themselves. In the middle of the show, during their scenery swap out, the audience got a chance at writing and presenting a poem about one of Capezzuti’s puppets. I got a little hung up on trying to make my poem rhyme but it was interesting to see what people can come up with when given an unconventional subject to write about. This was the first real amount of audience participation I got to experience so far in this Fringe Festival so be prepared for that if you end up seeing Songs from a Lost Civilizations & Other Stories if you end up seeing its last performance Sunday evening at 6:00pm.

There’s one more day of Fringe Festival fun left this weekend! Hopefully you get out to see some shows, why not take your mom to see something fun for Mother’s Day, eh? Stay tuned for more reviews and articles about the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival all weekend! Keep track of what we’re doing by following the #TPSdoesFringe tag on Twitter!