Monday, June 14, 2010
Level II Extravaganzarama - Friday, June 11, 2010
The Sidewalk Stage was jam packed with puppeteers, musicians, a magician, a comedian, and more for the Level II Extravaganza Friday. Although the ambitions for the performance overwhelmed the capabilities of the stage, it was an interesting step toward a variety show concept that may develop further in the future. Level II seems to be the overarching name for Ben Folstein's puppet performances and music. I was particularly impressed by his group's musicianship. They had a solid funk feel, which featured trombone, nice bass work, two strong gals on vocals and the impressive guitar work of Ben himself. The songs are from Level II's puppet musical Love is Like Mud. Magician Myron the Magnificent was the evening's M.C., performing tricks here and there between acts and also presenting two excerpts from his stage act featuring his lovely assistant Vera. Ben Croneberg performed some of his Steven Wright-influenced comedy, and although I thought he was doing ok, he was literally given the hook by the evening's impresario Ben F. A later skit depicted a guy in tights filling in for a missing stripper instructor. While the piece might have some comic possibilities, it seemed to go on for a few thrusts too long...Anyway, I may not be the most objective observer considering my affiliation with MTM, but I thought the evening was lots of fun and I hope there are more in the future.