Last Saturday was the culmination of the SF Fringe Festival 2022 presented by the Exit Theatre. A team of artists including myself presented an hour long show for the festival with four show times. I will post a blog post later about the project itself, but here are the reviews for posterity.
This is a creative original and unique meaningful experimental show. It’s Recommended!
Read my full review: http://fringereview.co.uk/review/san-francisco-fringe/2022/potato-topos/ (I’ll include this review in full down below for posterity)
Listen to my interview with Fenner Merlick and Katarina Countiss, cast members of Potato Topos talking about how they devised their show: http://fringereview.co.uk/audio-interviews/general/2022/devising-a-show-about-potatoes-jo-tomalin-talks-with-fenner-merlick-and-katarina-countiss-about-their-show-potato-topos-at-the-san-francisco-fringe-and-how-the-cast-collaborated-when-devising-the-sho/
(I’ll include this audio file in full down below for posterity)
Seriously silly entertainment. Seeds of whimsy that burrow, deepen, and offer surprisingly insightful fruits. Let yourself be carried away by the potato river. I plan to see it a second time and you should catch it before it’s gone.
This is a work imagined and performed by four very different players working together. It has things to say about sharing the stage and judgement, hope and harvest, motion, and of course, potatoes.I laughed, smiled, and left thinking differently about theater than before.
I was enthralled throughout the performance. I like that it lets you use your own imagination about whats going on. Lots of physical activity to accompany the music and slides.
Some phenomena in art, as in nature, defy description, definition, analysis or categorization. They exist to be experienced. Potato Topos in such a phenomenon. If you associate Fringe Fests with the wierd, the wacky, the wild, and the wonderful, then Potato Topos is Fringe at its fringiest. Two performances remain. Come experience them.
This show is deliciously weird and funny and fascinating, which is what fringe is all about!!! Highly recommend!!
Jo Tomalin’s Full Review Below
San Francisco Fringe 2022
Genre: Absurd Theatre, Surrealism
Venue: EXIT Theatre, San Francisco
Festival: San Francisco Fringe
An hour long show divided into three locations with themes of nostalgia, fantasy, and expansion. Includes performance, light, sound, textiles, and language, from surrealism to formalism, and absurdism somewhere in between.
A gossamer landscape undulates to ethereal music against a backdrop of projections.
The landscape comes alive and four strangers emerge…and we meet them one by one. Are they from the same family or city? This may not be important because what is happening is that an atmosphere is created and we are along for the journey.
Then there is a grill that is moved across the stage and potatoes – the grill is the type you plug in to to cook and actual potatoes arrive. Potatoes are strewn about the stage. Dressed in a variety of abstract garments in a color palate of browns, beige and venerable russet, the cast of four have a mission and they go about it – even if we are not sure what it is!
One announces a song and plays it while playing a small guitar, or is it a large ukulele? Curiously the other three watch and a sort of competition develops, which is fascinating. This game is interspersed with a zany ritual set to a chimed tick tock sound, and we are engrossed. I notice audience members tapping with the tick tock beats each time, it’s mesmerising!
This show is what fringe is about. These characters take themselves seriously and all of a sudden, so do we! Abstract video projections and music are very imaginative and create a gentle weird world inhabited by strange but endearing beings. Spoken word, movement and dance convey the story together with the visual storytelling and their activities are well received.
It’s interesting to think about a humble potato and its life, hopes and dreams – its destiny, but this is where we’re at moment by moment and I would only want to share this contemplation under the knowing eyes and guidance of these four specialists!
Unusual and out of the box creative devising brings us a wonderful wry dance of the potato sacks and other deliciously playful and sometimes earthy pieces with rich visuals.
Contact improv transforms into elegant, lyrical, dreamlike atmosphere and then transform into bold movement with multidimensional and multi sensory scenes. After a while we understand that the working day of these characters is over and it is about to begin again.
This is a creative original and unique meaningful experimental show.
Published September 18, 2022 by Jo Tomalin