By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
Years ago, while studying theater at the University of Minnesota, I performed in their summer theater programs at the Peppermint Tent and the Showboat. The Showboat offering was an old melodrama centering on Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Moriarty.
In one scene, Moriarty is having dinner in his apartment, planning to kill his unsuspecting dinner guest. The actor playing Moriarty gets up from the table and casually strolls over to a sideboard and opens a drawer. The prop gun usually sitting in the drawer is gone. Someone forgot to set it for that performance. Moriarty has to kill his guest before the scene ends, and it must be done quickly. What will he do?
Moriarty picks up the prop food from his plate, yells, "Poison Jell-O!" and mashes it into his victim's face. Luckily, the actor playing the victim knew a cue when he heard one. He immediately expired and slumped forward, lifeless, onto the table.
The Littlest Cast Member
We opened the Bryant-Lake Bowl. We were there for the first three months. Danny Schmidt thought it would be funny to open the show with a little girl--this little bouffanted Ethel Merman freak child with a huge-ass voice.
I thought this was too weird for the show. I mean, she would sing "Lipstick on Your Collar"--this really adult material. She would lap-dance on senior citizens. She'd always end with the "Star-Spangled Banner," and she'd have a little banter with the audience.
One night she came up to us and said, "I've got some new material," and she said that she wanted to introduce our show by saying, "If you like music from the Seventies, you'll love Martini and Olive. And if you don't love music from the Seventies, you'll still love Martini and Olive." And I thought, okay, at least she's plugging the show.
That night she was really nervous, her voice was quavering the whole time, and I thought, oh, this little robot child, it's the new material, it's making her nervous. So she gets to the point where she has to introduce us, and she says, "If you like music from the Seventies, you'll like Martini and Olive. And if you don't like music from the Seventies, you'll still like...COCK." And I'm sitting backstage thinking, did that little girl just say cock?
The sad thing is, her mother always took her to the show, and when I went backstage afterward she was spanking the little girl: "Don't ever say 'cock' onstage again!"
Martini and Olive
Before going to the Fringe shows with the sleazy names and the sexy handbills, first read our critical guide. (Then go to the shows with the sleazy names and the sexy handbills.)
Part medieval mystery play, part laid-back cabaret, Ben Kreilkamp's About Time touches on everything from the knotty intersection of past, present, and future to the scaly creatures lurking at our primal core. He and fellow traveler Joe Demuth sing, play the accordion, wrestle with their demons and with one another, and discourse on the artist Goya's increasingly phantasmagoric oeuvre. Meanwhile, a slick, talking-head producer (Tom Carlson on videotape) urges Kreilkamp to tighten up his meandering artistic process, while Kreilkamp's rich single-malt voice beckons us to go with the devious flow of his ruminations. A time trip well worth taking. Thu 5:30 p.m., Fri 1:00 p.m., Sat 7:00 p.m. Red Eye Collaboration. (Linda Shapiro)
Afflictions, Entanglements and Associations
Deborah Jinza Thayer must have been a spider in a past life. She loves to play with ropes and rubber tubing, weaving them through space, catching her performers in elaborate webs (both literal and choreographic). The evening begins with "A Tenuous Evolution," featuring a trio of dancers dangling from harnesses who alternate between contemplative, inside-a-womb-like moments, and breathtaking drops toward the floor. The title piece is an exceptional study in dynamism featuring dancers propelled through a field of tubes, at times creating fantastic optical illusions. Big Daddy, Jr. & the Spook's music completes what deserves to be a Fringe fave. Thu 10:00 p.m., Fri 4:00 p.m., Sat 1:00 p.m., Sun 7:00 p.m. Red Eye. (Caroline Palmer)
Another Femme Fatale Freak Show
After seeing this Dover, Massachusetts, quartet begin so promisingly and fall so precipitously in the space of 45 minutes, one has to wonder whether artists should have to apply for surrealism licenses. Seriously, this stuff can be dangerous in the wrong hands! Okay, so we have a flower-covered modern dancer, a feisty tap dancer in a Michelangelo's David mask, a very limber woman on stilts, and a beauty-school dropout with Frankenstein tendencies, all going about their business to a Combustible Edison soundtrack. Too much belly-gazing mayhem (literally) and not enough direction. Somewhere Dali is somersaulting in his glass-eye factory. Thu 7:00 p.m., Fri 10:00 p.m., Sun 5:30 p.m. Wesley United Methodist Church. (Palmer)
Attack of the Atomic Trash Monster's Bride
Mouth of Truth Productions
My nomination for hammiest performance of the Fringe goes to Kevin Vance as a mad scientist in this parody of science-fiction films from the Fifties. While every other cast member does an extraordinary job re-creating the stilted, awkward performances found in the cheapest of these films (particularly Tom Butler and Paul Economon playing two bumbling cops cribbed directly from Ed Wood's oeuvre), Vance must be under the impression that it is enough to just be weird and loud. He's wrong, but he is the only sour note in this otherwise lovingly crafted comedy, which includes everything from doctors who chain-smoke while examining their patient ("His brain waves are...waving properly," one declares) to a voice-over narrator who constantly gets lost in her own tangents. Fri 10:00 p.m., Sun 4:00 p.m. Loring Playhouse. (Max Sparber)