With over 500 performances of nearly 100 diverse shows in 11 days, the 12th Annual Seattle Fringe Festival has admirably increased its scope to host more out-of-town acts than ever (even Hungary's here!). But it's the homegrown artists whose gambles just may provide you with the most rewarding payoffs:
theater simple does more with less than any other company in town. They pull off the idea that a dazzling show looks spare because it's supposed to. The troupe has two good bets this year: Andrew Litzky performing his Dostoevsky adaptation Notes From Underground and Llysa Holland in her cerebral housewife contemplation Kali & Cookies (directed by Litzky).
Underground at Northwest Actors Studio, 1100 E. Pike. 6:15 p.m. Sat., Sept. 21; 8 p.m. Sun., Sept. 22; 10 p.m. Wed., Sept. 25; 7:30 p.m. Fri., Sept. 27; 11 a.m. Sat., Sept. 28.
Kali at Odd Duck Studio, 1214 10th. 9:15 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 19; 4:15 p.m. Sat., Sept. 21; 9:15 p.m. Tues., Sept. 24; 6 p.m. Sat., Sept. 28; 6:15 p.m. Sun., Sept. 29.
Maria Glanz (winner of two past Best in Fest awards, including last year's See Me Naked) hasn't produced my personal favorite solo shows, but she's a much- admired fringe actor with an undeniably adventurous intellect. Her latest work, Church of Pie—"an erotic fever dream of food, sex, and song"—has a cast of eight and very good advance buzz.
The Chamber Theatre, 915 E. Pine, fourth floor. 6 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 19; 7:45 p.m. Sun., Sept. 22; 7:30 p.m. Wed., Sept. 25; 9:15 p.m. Fri., Sept. 27; 2:30 p.m. Sat., Sept. 28; 5:30 p.m. Sun., Sept. 29.
Christopher Bange was one-half (with Ian Fraser) of last year's genial vaudevillian lark Is This Your Duck?, and The Red Nose, his adaptation of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, is likely to be similarly rewarding, lighthearted fun.
Chamber Theatre, 915 E. Pine, fourth floor. 6 p.m. Fri., Sept. 20; 5:15 p.m. Sat., Sept. 21; 9:30 p.m. Wed., Sept. 25; 6 p.m. Fri., Sept. 27; 11 p.m. Sat., Sept. 28; 2:15 p.m. Sun., Sept. 29.
Jonah Von Spreecken has been quietly honing an engaging sort of frustrated nebbish persona ever since he played the chicken-obsessed lost boy in Dan Savage's hysterical spoof Egguus. He should have ample opportunity to continue that comic course lost in the clutches of mad science in an H.P. Lovecraft adaptation, Herbert West: Re-Animator.
Union Garage No. 2, 1418 10th. 10:15 p.m. Fri., Sept. 20; 2:15 p.m. Sun., Sept. 22; 10:15 p.m. Tues., Sept. 24; 6 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 26; 8:15 p.m. Sat., Sept. 28.
Tommy Smith has a reputation as one of the funnymen in the popular local sketch comedy troupe The Habit and as the writer of last year's hit Fringe Fest satire Welcome to Flavor Country. His latest, Sunrise, is another comedy with acidic undertones.
Union Garage No. 2, 1418 10th, back theater. 9:30 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 19; 11 a.m. Sat., Sept. 21; 4 p.m. Sun., Sept. 22; 6 p.m. Wed., Sept. 25; 7:45 p.m., Thurs., Sept. 26.; 5:15 p.m. Sun., Sept. 29.