City of Sideshows

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

 

STRANGE NIGHT: SONGS OF KURT WEILL
Divine Entertainment Productions

This cabaret is exactly what you might expect it looked like when the now-closed Loring Cafe first opened, with bartenders and dolled-up party girls wandering in, clutching coffees, and singing "Alabama Song" ("Oh show me the way to the next whiskey bar"). The six singers gathered around a makeshift piano bar here have uniformly good voices. But the songs of Kurt Weill demand a degree of character in a voice, which is lacking, except in Molly Balcom. Her torch-song phrasing finds the thrill in the dissolute melodies of Weill's "Surabaya Johnny" and "Pirate Jenny." Wed. 5:30 p.m., Sat 5:30 p.m., Sun 4:00 p.m. Loring Playhouse. --Max Sparber

 

3 CAUTIONARY TALES OF BUFFOONERY, TOLD WITH AMAZING INSIGHT BY DAVE MONDY
Dave Mondy

Anyone versed in the ironic, let's-shine-a-spotlight-on-the-oh-so-interesting-and-quirky-things-that-happen-to-me genre of David Sedaris and This American Life, and Dave Eggers and his McSweeney's franchise, will get this one right away. The rest of the audience may shift in the seats for a bit until Dave Mondy tones down the self-aware asides--such as, "I walk down the street like I'm in the last few frames of a hip indy film"--and gets into fleshing out the characters of his tale. When he does, he paints a poignant picture of three women and the relationships they once had with a talented and well-meaning buffoon. Fri 11:00 p.m., Sat 2:00 p.m. Jungle Theater. --Michael Fallon

 

2 NOBLE KINSMYN
CalibanCo

In truth, Shakespeare should probably get second billing for this gloomy melodrama based on the story of Arcite and Palamon from Chaucer. His contribution was likely just a rewrite of John Fletcher's somewhat shapeless and schizo scenario--probably one of the reasons that the play is so rarely performed nowadays. No matter, though. Under director Jeremy Cottrell, CalibanCo's well-acted, noir-flavored production makes a decent case for this Elizabethan bodice-ripper on its own terms. Fri 8:00 p.m., Sat 2:00 p.m., Sun 4:00 p.m. Bryant-Lake Bowl. --Peter Ritter

 

TRAINSPOTTING
Theatre Pro Rata

Irvine Welsh may be content to spend his post-Britpop career sliding slowly into self-parody, but this stunning adaptation of the über-popular Trainspotting serves as a reminder of his literary worth. By compacting the sprawling novel to its bare essentials--four cast members, fewer props--this onstage version achieves a claustrophobic intensity, at turns harrowing and pitch-black hilarious. It also accommodates an active female voice that opens surprising avenues into an otherwise dauntingly sexist landscape. Joe Pepke offers a supremely nuanced take on the blithely nihilist junkhead Mark, and the rest of the cast isn't far behind him. Even the accents ring true. Could this be--gasp--better than the movie? Fri 4:00 p.m., Sat 10:00 p.m. Bryant-Lake Bowl. --Nick Phillips

 

WHEN POP STARS ATTACK
Frontier Theatre

Twenty-four hours later, I'm still singing those blasted songs. And they aren't even "real" pop songs. Eight hilariously catchy original pop tunes accompany When Pop Stars Attack ("You're my vision of gla-amor/Until you get too old"), which skewers pubescent divas and the surrounding hype. Aging rocker Stevie Nicks, I mean, um, Nicki Steeves, kidnaps the latest ingénue, Trinity, driving her fans to despair--for about a day and a half. Sure, Britney et al. are a target as broad as a barn door, but that doesn't make the satire any less fun. Now if they could only work out those pesky sound problems. Thu 10:00 p.m., Fri 2:30 p.m., Sat 8:30 p.m. Red Eye Collaboration. --Tricia Cornell

 

WORM-HOLE
Niki McCretton

McCretton hails from Somerset, England, but her aesthetic seems American--that is, if you still count ex-pat director Robert Wilson as a citizen. Her intricate show, which treads on Orwellian territory, alludes to Wilson's epic physical theater while injecting bits of Beckett-style chaos into the mix. McCretton portrays a bizarre nun who inhabits a room where she's manipulated by an unseen force. This delusional dynamic introduces surprises into her daily routine, as she communicates countless emotions with nary a word. Mind you, this one requires the patience of a saint sometimes, but McCretton's splendid sense of detail is worth the devotion. Thu 7:00 p.m., Fri 4:00 p.m., Sat 8:30 p.m. Old Arizona. -- Caroline Palmer

 

THE WORST SHOW IN THE FRINGE
Joseph Scrimshaw

Given that Joseph Scrimshaw's Fringe entry concerns an aggravated thespian who kidnaps a paraphasia-prone theater critic after the latter fulminates pleonastically about the former's fatuous Fringe entry, one might expect a reviewer to tread lightly. But fear not, friends: I hazard only hyperbole when I say that The Worst Show in the Fringe is the funniest play in the history of the theater. Scrimshaw--of the pantless Scrimshaw Brothers comedy duo--has a brilliant ear for pompous oratory, and David Mann and Craig Johnson, as thespian and critic, deliver his material with luminous brio. I love this show! (Please don't kidnap me.) Thu 7:00 p.m., Fri 4:00 .m., Sun 5:30 p.m. Brave New Workshop Theater. --Peter Ritter •

 

BEING

THERE
The days when one could amble from show to show seem to be a thing of the past, now that some 20 regular venues host events throughout the city of Minneapolis. A free trolley will be schlepping tired Fringers around the city on Saturday and Sunday (no word on whether nap mats will be available); the official Fringe Festival program has stop coordinates and schedules.
« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Loading...