Village Idiom Productions does some entertaining Fringe-spoofing in Best Of Albuquerque Fringe 2025. Yes, Jacob Smith and Jim Blanchette’s parody does overstay its welcome by about half an hour, but there are numerous bright spots along the way.

Lauren Flans and co-writer Smith are our hosts for the celebration that brings AQ25 (“as the kids are calling it”) to a close with a collection of snippets and a few full-length recreations of Fringe highlights (highlights being a relative term here).

The snippets work best. The full-length bits less so.

Best Of Albuquerque Fringe 2025’s most successful sequences are performances from the festival’s five best (i.e. least horrible) musicals, including “Three Little Maids From Mississippi” (from The Help: The Musical), “So Long Farewell” from the Music Of Sound, and a scene from Slingin’: The Musical. (Three guesses as to which Billy Bob Thornton Oscar winner that one’s based on.)

Shorter works better in Best Of Albuquerque Fringe 2025, as in the brief solo performance bit of I’m Gay, Get Over It we get treated to, though I must confess to having enjoyed every minute of an extended segment that introduces New Mexico to Belgium’s very own version of Kabuki and Commedia Dell’Arte. (What, you haven’t heard of Temps Des Blagues, in which the performers beg for laughs and get thrown chocolates when they succeed?)

Less successful are a pair of overlong “full-length” one-acts, most especially Gary The Michaelmas Goose that had this reviewer alternating glances between stage and wristwatch. (Parodying bad theater risks being bad theater, which this segment is.)

Still, the cast is game—and talented, both comedically and vocally under Corey Lynn Howe’s lively direction—with standout work by the always stunning Liz Fenning and sexy newcomer Sam Tank, supported by Blanchette, Flans, Heather Lake, Smith, and Lisa K. Wyatt, the set design is colorful, costumes are terrific, there’s some fun fight choreography by Sean Fitzgerald, and musical accompaniment by Amanda Johnson and Jim Blackett is topnotch.

I enjoyed much of Best Of Albuquerque Fringe 2025.

Had it run fifty rather than eighty minutes, I might well have enjoyed all of it.

–Steven Stanley
June 24, 2105