Safety in Numbers

Nymphomaniacal roommates! Meta-Willy Lomans! Dancing Canadians! City Pages reports from the biggest, baddest Minnesota Fringe Festival to date

 

Around the World in a Bad Mood

René Foss

René Foss jokes that she began wondering where she went wrong when she found herself "curled up with Jack Daniel's at 'Bates Motel' in Flint." Happily the search for understanding led Foss to satirize her longtime job as a flight attendant. Foss's brassy, hilarious revue combines musical numbers, comedic sketches, and brief monologues. There's everything from Shakespearean combat over seat assignments to a song with a chorus of hellos that starts cheerfully before turning into an expression of suppressed rage. So why does she do it? As she snarls at one point, "I love people! And I love to travel! Goddamn it!" Fri 10:00 p.m., Sat 5:30 p.m., Sun 5:30 p.m. (Jim MacTavish)

 

Red Eye

15 West 14th St.

 

Alligator Girl A Go-Go!

Heidi Arneson

Heidi Arneson's fractured fairy tale revisits separated New Brighton siblings Hansel and Gretel in a yarn that is equal parts Hieronymus Bosch and Monty Python. Hansel, Gretel, and "the Bitch" who tried to make them a meal present soliloquies about incestuous longing, freak love, and a carnal bloodbath. Sound dark? It is, but Arneson keeps the macabre bubbles bursting with discordant references to pop culture and brand-name detritus inspiring much laughter. Emerging from Grimm's typical adolescent trauma, this strange love doesn't waver: As Hansel declares, "The new blemish on your buttock, I bow down to." Thu 7:00 p.m.; Sat 1:00 p.m.; Sun 8:30 p.m. (MacTavish)

 

Bodies in Motion

Bow Wow! Productions

Nancy (Sandra Struthers) and Eric (Jeff Myhre) are at odds. Should they have a baby? Should they push Nancy's feeble dad (Marcellus Carlin) out of the house and into a home? In therapy Nancy finds the root of her "issues" in the disharmonic convergence of people that is commonly called family. The voyage shows Dad to be a clueless dipsomaniac and Mom (Cheryl Ullyot) to be a princess whose fretting and nagging create two states in Nancy's family life: commotion and dilemma. Unfortunately the family foibles, drawn broadly and with an excess of amusing punch lines, leave the play's inhabitants looking more like caricatures than realized characters. Fri 7:00 p.m., Sat 5:30 p.m. (MacTavish)

 

The Day of the Lemming

Verona Productions

Exeunt cradle-to-grave security and the gold watch for lifetime achievement. Enter lemming Stanley Rush (Joe Kaiser), a cog in the corporate machine with the appearance of a young Jerry Lewis. When Rush is promoted, the show begins to unveil a modern corporate netherworld. Turns out there are sinister cabals of vampiric board members and dangerously seductive board presidents. And there are senior partners obsessed with battlefield rhetoric and sweaty with sexual double-entendres. And, of course, the doughnut-obsessed colleagues; the bored, smart-ass receptionists; and the rumor-filled lunches--these you already know about. Lemming's office mayhem may have you snickering slyly, but remember to be afraid. Wed 10:00 p.m., Thu 8:30 p.m., Sat 2:30 p.m. (MacTavish)

 

Barneezlebub: A Hillbilly Porn Opera

Jerungdu

Although Vice President Al Gore was in town for a campaign meet-and-greet on Friday, it's a good bet that he didn't go anywhere near the Fringe opening of Jerungdu's rock odyssey-cum-porn epic. For theatergoers clamoring for a better class of locally produced porn opera, however, Barneezlebub is a must-see. It is nearly impossible to describe either the plot (a malevolent purple hydra based loosely on a certain children's television icon lures an unwitting hick with a superfluous orifice into the exciting, fast-paced world of adult feature film) or the operatic score--except to say that Tipper would most definitely not approve. Sat 10:00 p.m. (Ritter)

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