Presented by Andrew Potter
At Artworks Theatre Studio A
review by Andrew Moore
There is something indelibly pure about busking. An artist takes to the public square and plies his or her trade. If people like it, they drop a few bills in the hat. It's "Pay What You Will" for reals, no psychological manipulation, no self-congratulatory "look how awesome we are" bullshit. At the end of the day you assess your take: Is the hat full? If yes, more of the same. If no, do something different. It hearkens back to commedia, to traveling minstrels, to the bardic tradition. The performers are present with the audience. Interactive. Aware of the audience's response and ready to turn on a dime if it means the difference between paying the bills or hitting the Jack in the Box value menu and begging off the DWP bill for one more week. There is honesty.
Andrew Potter taps into his experience as a busker and delivers up an honest and enjoyable hour of entertainment. Potter is a very personable guy telling a very personal story, but the evening never devolves into the kind of self-involved heaviness that runs rampant in one-person shows. We follow Potter from his days as a novice juggler practicing in a Rhode Island cemetery, to the heights of touring internationally. Along the way we learn about his unlikely living circumstances (living in an old beer tank) and the crazy sacrifices made in the name of entertainment (eating raw eggs -- believe me, you need to hear him tell it). It is tied together with a wonderful story arc involving his father that pays off nicely with a sweet, emotional denouement.
The multimedia aspect plays well. One piece in particular, where he is accompanied by a San Franciso-based multi-instrumentalist (via video) is very effective. Another section that pays homage to his brother and sister buskers is nothing short of jaw-dropping. Potter has a talent for framing these segments -- his original music combined with his ebullient yet easy-going personality enraptures.
That old saying, "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts" is true in the eclectic universe of street performing and just as true of The Road to High Street. This is a show that every artist at Fringe should see. Here is an entertainer who consumed raw eggs -- five or six a day -- for the delight of his audience. His schtick took him to Milan and Japan. Go see his show, and take the time to get to know the man. While you're at it, take him out for a drink after the show and learn everything you possibly can from this man. It's a wonderful opportunity to learn from someone who's been there and done that, wrapped up in a delightful, multimedia package.
The Road to High Street may be travelled at the following dates and times:
Friday June 15th @ 6:00pm
Saturday June 16th @ 8:00pm
Friday June 22nd @ 8:00pm
Saturday June 23rd @10:00pm
Tickets are $12 and may be purchase through the Hollywood Fringe Festival website.
is located at 6569 Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood. Street parking is available, but it's Fringe season. Get there early and expect to do laps before you find a coveted spot.