January 1, 2020, marks the start of a new decade. Looking back, I notice that I have been reviewing theatre in San Diego for more than ten years. It seems appropriate to consult what I’ve written and see, what has changed about San Diego theatre. So, instead of summarizing 2019, I’m returning to 2010 and working my way forward to the present.

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Eloquently moving bodies and impeccable imagery—”Echoes of Gallows Hill” by Astraeus Aerial Dance is such a complete, satisfying work of art that I had to create a new category for it, “Five-Star Fringe.” And Hip Hop Cabhooray is so fast-moving and fun, you probably won’t think about how ridiculously difficult it is to move twenty—20!—dancers around a small stage in a way that feels natural and easy; but Melissa Adao nails it.

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Fringe artists take the risk of getting political … and it doesn’t always work. In “Specific Gravity,” brilliant circus skills have to compete with a preachy message. In “Herstory,” the message is softer, and nothing can take away from the flat-out awesome dance.

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I saw Cirque du Soleil early on, before it got over-produced and Vegas-glitzy, and it was magical; it wasn’t just about gasp-worthy circus skills, there was a sense of tapping into the collective unconscious. Lighthouse Circus Theatre delivers that kind of thrill in “Incandescent,” my first San Diego Fringe “Find.”

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