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.)


Please Don't Blow Up Mr. Boban
Noah Bremer and Jon Ferguson teamed up with local genre blenders Live Action Set to create a work that should immediately be given an open-ended run. Inspired by a news article about a Baghdad café, this collaboration features Bremer as the charming and innocent owner of an unfortunate eatery located within a war zone. The multitalented cast juggles roles as besieged townspeople, sound-bite-wielding politicians, a conflicted soldier, a rebel, and a grieving mother. Funny, moving, and sometimes even terrifying, Mr. Boban provides an intelligent and provocative response to the violence of our times. Wed. 8:00 p.m., Thu. 8:00 p.m., Fri. 8:00 p.m., Sat. 2:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Soap Factory. --Caroline Palmer


Colin Johnson

The President, Once Removed
Ari Hoptman's play takes as its source the history of James Garfield's rise to the presidency, his shooting, and the two months it took him to die. Things are played straight, and the all-male cast attains and retains a solid ensemble energy. The show is essentially a string of vignettes, alternately depicting the backroom machinations that brought Garfield and onetime rival Chester "Chet" Arthur to power, then retreating into haunting voice-overs dramatizing Garfield's descent. While it isn't uniformly riveting, it's done with a good deal of intelligence and a generally ace cast. And you'll walk out finally knowing who Chester Arthur was. Sun. 5:30 p.m. Minneapolis Theatre Garage. --Quinton Skinner


The Princeton Seventh
This cerebral story from writer-director James Vculek takes place in a hotel bar in Toledo, Ohio, where a group of bookish misfits has gathered to mark the passing of an obscure poet. Alex Cole plays a crime novelist, James Cada is a writer lauded by the highbrow world, and Ari Hoptman's character changes his personal story with alarming frequency. (Catherine E. Johnson, in one of three Fringe appearances this summer, is a scene stealer as a young strumpet and, later, a kvetching old wife.) What transpires is a somewhat off-putting take on literary celebrity--until Vculek pulls the rug out from under your expectations in Act 2. Thu. 8:00 p.m., Fri. 2:00 p.m. Bryant-Lake Bowl. --Quinton Skinner


Quarter Life Crisis
Aaron Christopher's short comedy gives us twentysomething couple Daniel (Nate Hessburg) and Danielle (Emily Blanchard): he a passive nice guy, she psychopathically indecisive. They go out for dinner together and pretty much everything unravels, to the point at which Daniel is prepared to renounce heterosexuality and Danielle wants to get it on with the world at large. It's quite funny in spots, though the characters' histrionics frequently waltz back and forth across the line that separates the amusing from the grating. Recurrent appearances by Christopher himself as a delusional waiter help things along. Fri. 5:30 p.m., Sat. 7:00 p.m. Brave New Workshop. --Quinton Skinner


Sorry, Wrong # Blondie
Perhaps inspired by the great Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz conspiracy, a group of teens connect the dots between Blondie's Parallel Lines and Lucille Fletcher's radio drama about a woman who overhears a phone call detailing a murder. In this hybrid, a Greek chorus of suits in skinny ties à la Blondie's male members antagonizes the hysterical woman in between choreographed lip-synched numbers. Despite a few somewhat appropriate tunes ("Hanging on the Telephone" and "One Way or Another" work well), the production lacks hard evidence of an intentional homage, which is probably the point and which doesn't dampen the outlandish charm of the whole endeavor. Still, the eerily calm "Fade Away and Radiate" following the call is particularly Lynchian. Wed. 2:30 p.m., Fri. 4:00 p.m., Sat. 4:00 p.m. MCTC Whitney Mainstage. --Lindsey Thomas


Spare Parts
Two friends convene at a lousy greasy spoon for a bite to eat after the cremation of their best friend. From there, this comedy noir keeps the audience guessing with ample doses of offstage vomit, death, and titanium body implants. Mic Weinblatt directs his own witty script with a deceptively offhand rhythm, getting fine performances all around. Julie Barnes's waitress seems to answer what Flo from Alice would be like with a loaded gun in her hand, while Bud Prescott's underwear-clad dirty old man lends things a filth factor. A spirited and consistently funny production. Thu. 5:30 p.m., Sun. 7:00 p.m. Loring Playhouse. --Quinton Skinner


Together Apart
Three multimedia playlets march steadily forward, from May Mahala's flatly paced Orchid to Molly Balcom's cleverly episodic Preparing for War, in which mashed potatoes and a mouse that roared play significant roles. Last and best is Andreas Levi's Seventeen Witnesses. When a shaky pilot collides with a flock of geese, we hear about it from 17 POVs, including an elegiac Cessna 152, a flock of mock-heroic geese, even some dancing clouds. Levi's inspired script references everything from the mythic pretentiousness of Revenge of the Sith to Aristophanes' trenchant wit, aided and abetted by Liz Wawrzonek's tongue-in-cheek choreography and Adam Sekuler's lyrical video. Sun. 4:00 p.m. Intermedia Arts. --Linda Shapiro


Treading Lightly
Birds are big this summer. Penguins rule the multiplex and now cranes are in the Fringe--or at least people imitating cranes in love. And then there's "Balloon Don't Touch the Ground," in which three dancers wearing bonnets festooned with lamb ears and lion manes scamper about. A duet, "Upon the Cattle Chute, " appears to have been inspired by Temple Grandin's livestock confinement studies. Occasionally Brown considers humans--"The Appetites" depicts corporate types who want to devour the world, but her other works about bipeds are pretty but insubstantial. Brown is at her best when she walks and talks like the animals. Fri. 7:00 p.m., Sat. 10:00 p.m. Intermedia Arts. --Caroline Palmer

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