The Sideshow Fringe Festival

When: Aug. 2-5 2012

Nashville may be the only major U.S. city with two separate fringe festivals. The Nashville Fringe Festival, which concluded June 30, is now in its third year and staged at 11 venues over 10 nights, with dance, film, spoken word, fine art, magic and more. Yet that festival also has a strong musical component — rock, funk, blues, Americana, jazz, country, progressive — that, while logical given the Music City connection, puts it slightly at odds with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (aka “The Fringe”), the global progenitor of all such fests established in 1947 as a showcase for theater and comedy outside the mainstream. Which brings us to the second annual Sideshow Fringe Festival — subtitled “Nashville’s Progressive Performing Arts Event.” It’s a four-day smorgasbord that serves up some fare that overlaps with the other Nashville fest (including puppetry, performance art, circus and aerial arts) at multiple venues, but more closely adheres to the template of the Scottish original. Hence, among the more than 50 events here, you get presentations by well-established local theater folk such as Amanda Card-McCoy, who directs Hamlet (in 90 minutes or less); Jeffrey Ellis, staging Nora and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss, and What I Wore; and solo efforts from Shawn Knight (Irving Berlin: An American Creation) and Rachel Agee (Special Snowflake). On the comedy side there are sketch comedy groups like Blue Lotus, Music City Improv and stand-up acts like B.T.Y. Revue. Actors Bridge Ensemble is the hosting organization, committed to creating “opportunities for artists and organizations to self-produce something outside of the standard fare.” Go to sideshowfringe.com for info.

Martin Brady

Price: $10

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