The 5 star IndyFringe shows

Holy Ficus main character Rod with his beloved Martha.

The Eulogy (Michael Burgos)

Aug 17, 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 21, 10:30 p.m.; Aug. 22, 6 p.m. You don't want a eulogy the likes of "The Eulogy" performed at your funeral, or anyone you know. But if you like wildly offbeat humor served with a side dish of obscenity, do not miss this one man show. The dude giving the eulogy is often channeling Antonio Banderas — and trying to seduce the widow of the deceased Thomas. The dude delivering the eulogy is Michael Burgos, a graduate of the internationally renowned École Philippe Gaulier. And it's not hyperbole to label him a comic genius: Not only is Burgos insanely funny, but he has a knack for switching from one character impression to another as adroitly as Mario Andretti switches gears during the Indy 500. Channeling George W. Bush, he comments on the inevitability of the deceased's death, saying "one plus one equals dead."And he's good enough to let us know how Thomas died. He eulogized, this time channeling prosperity gospel televangelist Creflo Dollar of all people. — Dan Grossman

Musician's Union Hall, 325 N. Delaware St.

New/Next/Now (Dance Kaleidoscope)

Many have questioned the placement of a dance troupe in the lineup. Dance Kaleidoscope has taken the opportunity to carry the ideas of Fringe into their show design. The set runs with seven dances, all choreographed by company dancers. Jillian Godwin's "Flashes of Life" and Justin Sears-Watson's "Speak Easy" stood out for technical innovation and sheer entertainment value. The choreography in the DK show was overall a perfect representation of what Fringe is all about, letting performers try something new. — Emily Taylor

Theatre on the Square Mainstage, 627 E. Mass Ave.

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Holy Ficus (Zach Rosing Productions)

Aug. 19, 9 p.m.; Aug. 20, 6 p.m.; Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 22, 4:30 p.m. Zack Neiditch's musical made sure the audience knew just how big a Fringe show can be. The story follows a young man named Rod, who falls madly in love with a ficus (yes, the tree). His house plant is hit by a car, causing him to travel through heaven and hell to find her. The show has some of the best one-liners in all of Fringe. "Satan invented Twitter," for example. The show uses catchy songs and musical narration throughout. The production wouldn't fill out a larger stage as it's written, but it makes the intimate Fringe stage have the big band feel of a Broadway musical. — Emily Taylor

Theatre on the Square Mainstage, 627 E. Mass Ave.

Whisper into My Good Ear (Vintage Players)

Aug. 22, 10:30 p.m.; Aug. 23, 6 p.m. This delightful two-hander featuring Pat O'Brien (not to be missed in Underneath the Lintel) and Larry Ripp takes place on a park bench in New York City in 1962 as the two discuss life, relationship, and belonging. The result is likely what we'd see if Harold Pinter had written a Laurel and Hardy sketch — a happy medium between Edward Albee's The Zoo Story and a scene or two from John Cariani's Almost, Maine. The chemistry between O'Brien and Ripp is as impeccable as their characterization, while the show's pacing hits every beat as the action unfolds toward a moving climax. Simple theater at its finest. — Laurence Brown

IndyFringe Basile Theatre, 719 E. St. Clair St.

Underneath The Lintel (Pat O'Brien)

Aug. 22, 9 p.m.; Aug. 23, 1:30 p.m. This one-man show opens with the show's sole character, the librarian, on stage revealing a suitcase containing what he refers to as his "scraps." One of these is an old travel guide anonymously returned to the library after being checked out 113 years ago — setting up an edge-of-your-seat story in which we slowly discover the deliverer's identity. The show, performed to near perfection by the wonderfully erudite Pat O'Brien, is the kind of Fringe show that unquestionably justifies its inevitable standing ovation. In a series of philosophical moments, the librarian repeats the phrase "I was here." I am honored to say, "so was I." — Laurence Brown

IndyFringe Basile Theatre, 719 E. St. Clair St.

'The Comedy Magic of Oscar Muñoz' (Oscar Muñoz)

Aug. 20, 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 22, 4:30 p.m.; Aug. 23, 3 p.m. This is everything you want in a Fringe show. Oscar Muñoz knows how to work an audience. He's big and bold and hilarious. And, oh yeah, he does magic. It's the standard fare of tricks with ropes, cards, rings, balls, birds, bunnies and balloon animals, but there is nothing pedestrian about the way they're delivered. This Texan is a natural comedian, completely in tune with his audience. I heard a breathy "Whaaat?" from a bewildered woman and watched children absolutely squeal with delight. Like, they were about to lose their minds, they were so mesmerized. That alone is worth the price of admission. Take the kids. Just take them already. — Shannon Samson

IndyFringe Indy Eleven Theater, 719 E. St. Clair St.

Festival: IndyFringe

When: Through Aug. 23

Where: Various Theaters around INDy



Arts Editor

Dan Grossman is NUVO's arts editor.

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