Special Sections » Rochester Fringe Festival

David reviews 'The Eulogy' and Polite Ink


"The Eulogy" has received a string of awards and rave reviews from Fringe Festivals all over, and it's about to receive another one. The word "monologue" is much too staid for Michael Burgos's take on the idea of the funeral eulogy: he tips it on its head, ties it into knots, and sets it spinning in an avalanche of weird verbal wit and a crazy explosion of physical comedy.

In 45 minutes or so of hurtling from character to character (including the dead guy being eulogized none too fondly) with breathtaking speed, Burgos evokes the spirits of some great comedians, from Charlie Chaplin and Jonathan Winters to Robin Williams. It's the kind of show you don't want to describe in too much detail, lest you spoil its surprises for others, and also the kind of show you want to see again immediately. I hope Burgos visits our Fringe again -- and I'm not just saying that because he gave me (and all the members of his audience) a chocolate cupcake on the way out.

"The Eulogy" will be performed again Friday, September 23, 7 p.m., and Saturday, September 24, 2 p.m., at Writers & Books. $15. Appropriate for ages 13 and older.

As a writer who relies on the opportunity to rewrite as much as I want to, I have the highest regard for people who have the smarts to be able to say something and make it come out right the first time -- and not just right, but funny. So I tip my hat to "Off the Cuff," a fast-moving show performed by four members of the well-established ensemble Polite Ink (Don Beechner, Corrie Spike Carter, Karen Craft, and Penny Sterling). The performers are skilled hands at taking such improv staples as audience suggestions and goofy props and turning them into a good time. (And the large audience for "Off the Cuff" was definitely having a good time.)

That was it for Polite Ink at the Fringe. But you can find more on the group at politeink.com.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to correct the name of Corrie Spike Carter.

In This Guide...