A Guide to the 2008 Fringe Festival

Underpants, Shakespeare, and Giant Squirrels

Monica Rodero & Daniel Schuchart

Monica Rodero and Daniel Schuchart play out (or rather dance out) relationship issues of the my-space-your-space-our-space variety through lithe moves interspersed with idiosyncratic gestures. They make clever use of rolls of masking tape and paper towels. While the two are supple and endearing performers, nothing is at stake here but the ingenious manipulation of props and one another: How many ways can they: 1) bind themselves with tape? 2) entangle their arms? 3) lift and carry one another? Ultimately Gone, Gone, Gone sends out a flurry of compositional ideas adding up to—at most—a pleasant kinetic rapport. Thurs 10:00 p.m, Fri 5:30 p.m., Sat 1:00 p.m. Southern Theater. —Linda Shapiro

An Inconvenient Squirrel

Joseph Scrimshaw Productions

The ladies of Lili's Burlesque
Nick Vlcek
The ladies of Lili's Burlesque

The confused but heroic squirrel at the center of Joseph Scrimshaw's delightful new fairytale has a problem: He doesn't want to be defined by a simple name. Scrimshaw fractures fairytale motifs in a fun way and presents a number of memorable characters, such as Evil Genius Squirrel and Thinks He's a Pirate Squirrel. By the end, there's a moral that's really not all that simple. That aside, there's also plenty of good physical humor, some deft parody and, above all, four guys dressed up as squirrels. What's not to like? Thu 5:30 p.m., Fri 5:30 p.m., Sat 2:30 p.m., Sun 4 p.m. U of M Rarig Center Thrust. —Ed Huyck

An Intimate Evening with Fotis: Part Two Mike Fotis

Sit-down comic Mike Fotis (literally, he sits in a chair at a table and reads from a notebook, albeit disarmingly) hit his stride about five minutes into his series of comic monologues on opening night, and combined a storyteller's cadence with sharp, self-deprecating observational humor. With Jen Scott providing groovy backup on stand-up bass (at least she stands), Fotis tackles many of the pressing issues of the day: his intense self-loathing while playing video games, his teenage musk of "death and sexual desperation," his first (entirely unjustified) fight, his galaxies-wide fandom for Tom Petty, and his multiple run-ins with bats (squeakers, not sluggers). He also achieves a very high laughs-per-minute ratio. Sat 2:30 p.m. Minneapolis Theater Garage. —Quinton Skinner

Musical the Musical

Urban Samurai Productions

Doug Neithercott and Hannah Kuhlmann have written a musical for people who hate musicals by thoroughly knocking some sense into the typical small-town-girl-moves-to-the-big-city story. That means seriously funny, inappropriate jokes, vivid sex talk, and an almost postmodern deconstruction of the musical form. When roommate Rasheda, played by Krystyn Spratt, has had enough of the overly cheerful opening song (called "The Opening Song"), she speaks for all of us when she stomps her platform shoe-clad foot and yells "Shut the fuck up!" She misbehaves quite a bit and, in the process, practically steals the show, along with a drag queen friend whose language is even more colorful than her clownlike makeup. Thu 10:00 p.m., Sat 8:30 p.m. U of M Rarig Center Proscenium. —Coco Mault

No Stranger Than Home

Katherine Glover

Katherine Glover weaves a warm, easygoing monologue based primarily on her experiences in other lands: hearing tales of guerrillas and Communist incursions in El Salvador, being pressed by a teacher to outline her nonexistent "culture shock" in Berlin, dealing with a boyfriend in Nicaragua who fears she will sell his organs on the black market, and trying to decipher sexual signals from another woman in Ethiopia. She connects the audience, and her tales, to her theme of alienation back on the home front, but this feels a draft or two away from where it needs to be. Tying together her theme with stronger twine would help, and so would the addition of more telling detail. Still, it's a capable, heartfelt hour. Wed 10:00 p.m., Sun 1:00 p.m. Intermedia Arts. —Quinton Skinner

We Live Like This

Bombastic Productions

This breezy dance show offers an appealing mix of bittersweet angst and youthful cheek. Much of the stage time is split between dancer-choreographers Kaleena Miller and Ned Sturgis. Miller spends most of the evening in tap shoes, notably in a cool, virtuosic number set to Cat Power singing "New York, New York." Sturgis's work is more poetic and searching, reaching a high point in the two-person "Well Versed," performed with Luke Melsha, depicting the push-pull of romance and breakup. Matters are padded with a bit of hoofer's jamming at the end, but however brief, this show delivers a pleasing wash of emotion. Thu 8:30 p.m., Fri 7:00 p.m. Theatre de la Jeune Lune. —Quinton Skinner

American Sexy

The New Theatre Group

Trista Baldwin's new play plops four college-age hormone factories on the edge of the Grand Canyon midway through a road trip to Las Vegas. Mood-altering substances are duly consumed, and all manner of uncomfortable weirdness emerges amid a torrent of deceptively vapid youth-speak. Sex is, of course, beneath the surface of the conversation, when it isn't the primary topic. But that isn't why this work has such capacity to disturb—it's a jaundiced, heart-heavy depiction of post-romance sexuality, when a declaration of love is regarded as an antiquated inconvenience. This is a work that drops grenades without cleaning up afterward, a raw look at a culture unacquainted (or perhaps overly acquainted) with its own desires. Wed 8:30 p.m., Fri 7:00 p.m., Sat 10:00 p.m. U of M Rarig Center Arena Stage. —Quinton Skinner

Boys Don't Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses

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