REVIEW: WINDOWS 95 RELAUNCH

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WINDOWS 95 RELAUNCH – Kerry Anderson

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POSTED 6/16/2022

This is as Fringe as Fringe gets, and I mean that in the best possible way. Ambitious, creative, courageously weird, but with a clear point to make–engages the audience, funny and still slightly dangerous, high concept on an idea that honestly felt unlike anything I’d ever seen before. This piece is the reason PortFringe experiences are so singular, and I hope the creators take a lot of pride and satisfaction in knowing how well they understood the assignment.

There’s a lot to praise here–the gung ho performances from both leads, the great choice of video material, the sharp cultural commentary, the cake. (I didn’t get a piece after, entirely my fault.) This is the sort of thing that lives and dies on its actors, and both were committed and entirely present throughout; each had their own distinct energy, and they meshed well with one another. I also appreciated the way the video montage started slipping in increasingly uncomfortable information without any initial acknowledgement–this mostly went over as very funny, but there’s a definitely slowly rising unease thing going on that is extremely cool.

In some ways the piece still feels unformed; there were times when I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, and while that’s not always a problem, I think the unnerving strangeness would be more effective if it was contrasted against clarity. The “Jeffs on Bill” segment was a great idea, and there are a lot of good lines in it, but it was sometimes difficult to hear what was being said.

Basically, this feels like a good second draft that just needs a polish to really shine. Intent seems the biggest concern to me–there was a lot of laughter during that final segment, and after building up the creepiness (and Jeff Epstein connections) of Bill Gates, was laughter really the goal? Obviously the audience is going to react how they’re going to react, and if awkward humor is the point, more power to you. But there was some definite creepiness in the video editing/more rhythmic, abstract “dancing,” and I suspect it could be considerably more powerful if it was a bit shorter, and more directed.

Overall, though, this was great, and I look forward to seeing more from both performers involved.

submitted by: Zack Handlen
PortFringe Independent Review Team