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Live Active Cultures

Chase Padgett's theatrical triple feature is a promising sign of Fringe Festival's imminent flowering

Padgett probably didn't need single-night revivals of his popular past productions to build buzz for Nashville Hurricane, his 2012 Fringe offering. So I was more excited for the March 21 premiere of The Bro Show , a brand-new hour of sketch comedy and music that may never be seen again in Orlando (at least in its current form). Conceived with his real-life younger brother Ross, the evening was inspired by the summer they spent on the road together touring Chase's shows across the country. The show alternated surreal stream-of-consciousness skits (cheese-versus-banana racing; one-upping hobos in recall of Monty Python's “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch) with semi-improvised scenes of the brothers building the show between bong hits. Most of the humor comes from the supposed sibling rivalry between hyper-talented Chase and Ross, a clown college dropout and accomplished white-boy rapper who resembles the love child of Jason Mewes and Michael Richards.

I have it on good authority that a script existed at least a week pre-performance, although there was a definite we-wrote-this-five-minutes-ago vibe. Afterward, Chase admitted that this “weird-ass” experiment still needs some workshopping on its way to the Calgary Fringe in August. But it's a big improvement over their winter, when the brothers' home was repeatedly robbed. (Asked if a recent Orlando Sentinel report on their plight prompted donations, Chase scoffed, “Nah, quite the opposite.”)

I'm anticipating Padgett's May return, along with the rest of the Fringe. Until then, I'll explore the Fest's handsome new website (orlandofringe.org), using the TV Guide-style grid to plan my schedule. Between planned rail construction and school schedule shifts, 2012 may be the final spring Fringe; I plan on savoring it.

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