Spoken Word at the Fringe: Part 2

Reviews by Cole and Wonder Dave

Anansi, Brer Rabbit and Other Wily Characters by the Black Storytellers Alliance

Imagine my chagrin when looking through the Fringe descriptions and came across an entire local spoken word organization I’d not yet heard of! Luckily, I can tell you a little bit about the Black Storytellers Alliance and add them to our big list of links.

Anansi, Brer Rabbit, and Other Wily Characters is a fantastic, family friendly show featuring traditional trickster characters from Black and African storytelling traditions, and sneaking in little cultural tropes, like the difference between hungry and hongry, and the definition of “signifying”. The storytellers are fantastic professionals, know their stories inside out, and perform them with familiarity and love. The storytellers take turns telling the stories, often sitting with the audience when the other storytellers were performing. This group is obviously dedicated to each others’ success, and the greater enjoyment of the audience.

Minnesotan audiences should be prepared to be more a part of this theater than most experiences, singing, clapping, and becoming a part of the stories they are listening to. The stories are lovely, the performances are polished but not rote, and I’d happily give them five kitties (in fact, I did over on the Fringe Festival website)


Two Bowls of Cereal and Some Bacon by Mahmoud Hakima

In Mahmoud Hakima’s first solo-fringe effort, he presents an honest telling of childhood trauma. The best thing about this show though is it does not seek to be a morality tale or to create pity for difficulties endured by the performer. Two Bowls of Cereal and Bacon does not rely on over the top hand-wringing theatrics. Mahmoud succeeds in presenting a simplistic and beautifully told story.

This show is not a heavily theatrical piece. The staging consists of one man and a folding chair. Despite this simplicity Mahmoud through movement and words fills the space. His past experience as an improvisational actor serves Mr. Hakima well. His gestures have weight- in short, he doesn’t need props, costumes, and sets he is apt at creating them and letting your imagination fill in the gaps.

I would give this show 4 out of 5 kitties on the Fringe Rating Scale. The show’s structure is well thought out and well delivered. There were a few stumbles opening night when I saw the performance but nothing that distracted from the overall impact of the piece. This is an excellent first effort from Mr. Hakima. The show contains enough comedy to prevent the audience from feeling brow beaten by the heavy nature of some of the material.

This Show is perfect for:
someone looking for something different this fringe (even among storytellers this piece stands out),
anyone who has dealt with childhood demons,
people who appreciate shows with emotional range.

Current Rating on Fringefestival.org 5 out 5 kitties.


About Cole

A thumb among fingers. A writer, a photographer, a lover of all things citrusy.
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One Response to Spoken Word at the Fringe: Part 2

  1. Wonder Dave says:

    I should have noted in my review that the video seen here is not up to the quality level of the rest of the show. I can see why Mahmoud chose this portion of the show to present as a preview; some of the other portions of the show would not have worked as well in a shorter format. Really I highly recommend that you see this show.

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