Live Nude Theater Cheap Cheap Cheap!

(Okay, a few of the performers in the nation's biggest Fringe Festival aren't nude. but a lot of them are.)

 

Charlie Bethel's Gilgamesh
CHARLIE BETHEL
Rediscovered a little more than a century ago, the ancient epic of Gilgamesh alarmed and excited scholars with its pre-echoes of both Greek and Hebrew myth; here solo performer Charlie Bethel takes on the story himself, narrating and embodying the adventures of the titular god-king, his wild-man sidekick Enkidu, the Sumerian pantheon, and the citizens of Uruk. Bethel's storytelling tricks--repetition, varied and comic voices, deflating asides--are better at spotting the myth's ridiculousness than building its primal hugeness. What is missing is an impressive Gilgamesh himself. In Bethel's rendering, the hero is less specific and energetic than the gods, divine bulls, demons, and death-cheating sages he meets. The breezy pace favors action over Joseph Campbell-ish rumination, and there's plenty of sex and violence, but the second half's moments of death, loss, and futility are well-timed and fully felt. Wed. 8:30 p.m., Thu. 8:30 p.m., Sat. 4:00 p.m., Sun. 5:30 p.m. Illusion Theater. --Geoff Cannon

 

Colin Johnson

Chicks in Space
THEATRE UNBOUND
This space-opera spoof sees a crew of women hitting the cosmos at warp speed in search of a better world with clean air and water, an excess of insect life, happening bars for their robot associate, and a ban on performances of The Tempest. When members of the crew start disappearing one by one, it's up to Stacey Poirier as The Captain to put things right (in tearful fashion). Alas, many of the gags fall flat, in part because the ridiculousness of the source material--such as William Shatner's notorious emoting and penchant for Kirkian lechery--is left largely unmined. Fri. 2:30 p.m., Sun. 7:00 p.m. Intermedia Arts. --Quinton Skinner

 

Corleone
DAVID MANN AND THE ROGUES
Without sufficient humor and horseplay, a Shakespearean adaptation of The Godfather could be an insufferable gimmick. Luckily, Corleone, a memorable take on the Mob classic, is a treat for Shakespeare geeks and Puzo freaks alike. Those who don't know the Bard from Luca Brazzi might miss some of the fun (the re-imagined tollbooth shoot-out is a highlight), but writer David Mann's crackling wordplay transforms a theatrical in-joke into a feat of language anyone could admire. The performances, particularly Kate Eifrig as Waspy Kay, are as strong and witty as the material. Fri. 8:30 p.m., Sat. 2:30 p.m. Minneapolis Theatre Garage. --Diablo Cody

 

Dancing Dirty with Lee and Mr. Bo
JADED OPTIMIST PRODUCTIONS
In this affable and easygoing one-man show, Howard Lieberman intertwines his own life story with that of his father, a dancer who took his initial inspiration from Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. Lieberman traces his own trek from longhaired '60s slacker to '80s high-powered New York attorney with self-effacing humor and restraint, tossing in a few dance moves in the process. Ultimately the story turns out to be one of fathers and sons, with Lieberman expressing the anger and disappointment he felt for his dad with a reporter's distance and the acknowledgment that death voids all grudges. Fri. 1:00 p.m., Sat. 10:00 p.m. Acadia Café. --Quinton Skinner

 

Dead Wait
EMIGRANT THEATER
Carson Kreitzer's new play takes place in an afterlife populated by Jayne Mansfield and two waiters--one of whom is Ron Goldman, who was murdered along with Nicole Brown Simpson. Ryan Lindberg gives a solid take on a fictionalized Goldman as would-be Hollywood player, and Wade A. Vaughn is haunted and spectral as a man who has been dead a bit longer. Catherine E. Johnson as Mansfield is languorous and glamorous while seeming to play things through thick gauze. Nothing much happens, but as free-form theater it is diverting and much funnier than its ghoulish outlines might suggest. Fri. 8:30 p.m., Sun. 2:30 p.m. The Jungle Theater. --Quinton Skinner

 

Everyone's a Winner
ME AND BILL
This show from writer-director (and City Pages account executive) Mike Yanke was initially envisioned as a sitcom pilot (complete with a mediocre opening comedian), and it will serve to remind audiences why reality television still reigns supreme on TV. While the premise offers potential laughs--a college grad gains employment at a suicide-prevention hotline only to learn the "counselors" answering the phone are as dysfunctional as the callers themselves--the underdeveloped characters and scanty plotline will have you searching frantically for the remote (not provided with admission, alas). The show does effectively juxtapose live performance with projections of pre-taped scenes, which, unwisely, don't include a laugh track. Wed. 2:30 p.m., Fri. 7:00 p.m., Sat. 2:30 p.m. Red Eye Theatre. --Erin Adler

 

For the Rest of My Life
ESERA TUAOLO
This quirky offering from former Minnesota Viking Esera Tuaolo is a one-man memoir-style show (and cabaret), but naturally it concerns several other offstage figures, most prominently Mitchell, the love of Tuaolo's life. Years ago, Mitchell's grandmother prophesied that everything would be all right for her then-struggling grandson once he met "a Sarah," which seemed a touch far-fetched after Mitchell came out. But then Mitchell brought home Tuaolo, whose first name is indeed pronounced like the woman's name "Sarah" preceded by "uh" or "a." Mitchell's mom was overjoyed, even if, as Tuaolo jokes, "the Sarah turned out to be a 310-pound Samoan." That sweet, romantic story is the highlight of this likable if not fully formed show. Tuaolo covers his pained childhood and the bigotry and self-doubt he faced as a closeted professional athlete, and builds up to his meeting Mitchell, deciding to adopt children, and coming out and becoming an activist for LGBT equality. Tuaolo has a tendency to overact, and his unimaginatively structured script fails to make all of his memories come to life. He has charm and conviction to spare, though, plus a good voice in the Vandrossian mold, which he uses on a half-dozen or so gospel and R&B songs of varying familiarity and quality. Wed. 10:00 p.m., Sat. 8:30 p.m. Illusion Theater. --Dylan Hicks

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