City of Sideshows

Amid all the carnival barking of the fringe, we tell you which tent shows deserve your ten bucks

 

LOVESICK ON A SUNNY AFTERNOON
C.Z. Lee Presents

Belle and Sebastian's fans are a melodramatic brood--the kind who secretly mouth their lyrics into hairbrushes in front of the bathroom mirror. But it still seems doubtful that anyone has ever performed an entire lip-synched musical based on the Scottish band's songs until now. Lovesick has all the essential archetypes of a B&S performance: a bisexual love triangle, naughty lesbian professors, and a few exciting dance numbers that makes Grease look like Waiting for Godot. Sadly, there's less camp than at a Girl Scout retreat. But watching the entire cast shimmy to "Judy and the Dream of Horses" will still make you want to jump up and do the pony yourself. Fri 10:00 p.m., Sun 7:00 p.m. Red Eye Collaboration. --Melissa Maerz

 

THE MEMORY TREE
The Puppet Project

Every day is Arbor Day in this strange and messy fantasy about a tree that keeps the memories of the dead. This Montreal-based puppetry collective seems to have built its show out of scraps of spare fabric, and the resulting designs are mostly grotesque, angular caricatures that might have been pulled from the inner sleeve of Pink Floyd's The Wall. These puppets behave terribly toward each other, wrestling for power in the shadow of the tree. Ultimately, they manipulate each other's desires as much as the puppeteers do their bodies. Maybe leave the kids at home. Wed 5:30 p.m., Fri 7:00 p.m., Sun 7:00 p.m. Minneapolis Theatre Garage. --Max Sparber

 

MORE! ALL NUDE IMPROV!
3 Months to Live Comedy Company

Improv comedy generally leaves me suicidal, so in this particular situation, I admit, I was there for the boobies. But no: In an actionable breach of truth in advertising, this show is about as "all nude" as a Promise Keepers convention. Nevertheless, I didn't leave--couldn't find the exit in the dark--and actually found myself enjoying the damn thing. Off-color Afghanistan jokes, sex-slave shenanigans, children onstage--it's all here, deftly handled by a talented troupe presided over by the hypnotically Richard Lewis-like Toni Halleen. This being improv, of course, it's only as interesting as the audience's off-the-cuff witticisms, so think of something clever before you come. Wed 8:30 p.m., Fri 2:30 p.m., Sat 4:00 p.m. Brave New Workshop Theater. --Nick Phillips

 

MR. GOD AND THE WALRUS TAINT
The Collective

Would God, in the guise of a teenager, don a Jim Morrison T-shirt? What is the sexual preference of Buddha? Local improv troupe the Collective tackles such burning questions in this kooky one-act, fifteen-scene comedy. The complicated plot centers on God and Jimmy Stewart's broken friendship, culminating in a good-versus-evil football game. Though the bestial gay sex demonstrations between Buddha and the walrus occasionally feel too vulgar (they warned us) and one wonders if points are being awarded for expletive use, the show is redeemed by Joel Gray's outstanding Stewart impersonation and Scott Zilka's turn as the Prince of Darkness. Wed 10:00 p.m., Fri 7:00 p.m. Brave New Workshop Theater. --Erin Adler

 

MUFFY VON MUNCHAUSEN AND THE FEMININE MISTAKE
Cara Ullrich

In her one-woman cabaret, Cara Ullrich juices oranges using rimmers attached to her bra; explores her attraction/aversion to the Barbie doll; invents a queer creation myth; and compels audience members to defile Barbie dolls using condoms, pudding, and rope. As a finale she offers a charming and bittersweet drag homage to the Travolta/Newton-John classic "You're the One That I Want." Ullrich's performance is informal, unpolished, and inviting: She may well be the most endearing butch dyke ever to blaspheme on the local stage while serving cookies and milk. Wed. 8:30 p.m., Fri. 4:00 p.m., Sun 7:00 p.m., Hey City Theater Downstairs. --Sarah Sawyer

 

NEIL GAIMAN'S SIGNAL TO NOISE
Council of Doom

The stage adaptation of fantasist Neil Gaiman's illustrated novel has been produced by the suitably named Council of Doom, who, we presume, are a collection of theatrical supervillains. But Gaiman's story, which tells of a screenwriter dying of cancer who parallels his own forthcoming end time with an apocalypse that never happened, never rises beyond its intriguing premise. The story is given a lackluster production here: The cast of three overacts every line, mistaking shouting for character development, and tearless sobbing for grief. Wed 7:00 p.m., Thu 7:00 p.m., Fri 4:00 p.m., Sun 7:00 p.m. Acadia Café. --Max Sparber

 

NO SMOKING, NO PETS, NO LOUD SEX
Rhino Productions

Cockroaches, killer pets, nosy neighbors, and violent abduction aren't supposed to be funny. The acting and staging at a fringe festival aren't "supposed" to be this professional. But there you have it: four solid performances in three excellent short plays, all taking place in a single apartment. The apartment's successive inhabitants include some challenging roles, including the elderly Pippa and Olaf (who've still got it going on in the bedroom), and three cockroaches. There should be a Best of Fringe nomination for Best Death Scene With Legs in the Air. Thu 10:00 p.m., Fri 7:00 p.m. Loring Playhouse. --Tricia Cornell

 

OH DAD, POOR DAD, MAMMA'S HUNG YOU IN THE CLOSET AND I'M FEELIN' SO SAD
Chaos Theories Theatre

This surly tale of a homicidal mother and her stammering, stamp-collecting son climaxes when the son chops his mother's creepy Venus flytraps to bits with an ax. One wishes the director had done the same thing to the script. The monologues are interminable; the physical comedy falls flat; and the message is so grim that none of the characters can conjure up sympathy--to say nothing of a laugh. And it's nearly 90 minutes long to boot. Skip the play and take up philately. Thu. 10:00 p.m., Sat.10:00 p.m. Hey City Theater Upstairs. --Sarah Sawyer

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