Fringe Festival 2010 hits and misses

The Damn Audition, Kill Will, and others

Connor Molloy

Jess Dunne and Connor Molloy offer this window into a keg party in which a few stories weave amid one another, but one is the primary focus: that of Donny (Jeff Spoo), who has been in a car accident and lost all of his memories dating back to the fourth grade. The charismatic Erica (Victoria Nightingale) hovers about him, while a parade of partiers enact any number of mini-dramas. We never get enough of a sense of Donny's predicament, though Spoo and Nightingale find a sweet rapport, and this cast of nine delivers some laughs and a series of able character sketches. Thu 10 p.m., Sat 7 p.m., Sun 2:30 p.m. Minneapolis Theatre Garage.

The Tiki War

John Ervin

A role to die for: Randy Reyes and Joseph Scrimshaw in The Damn Audition
courtesy of the MN Fringe Festival
A role to die for: Randy Reyes and Joseph Scrimshaw in The Damn Audition

Ervin's script tackles Chicago in the back room of a sleazy nightclub in 1961, complete with heroin, guns, booze, and Cuban intrigue. It's a case of good ideas and scattershot execution. Ray (Ervin) is a thorough bastard manipulating his milquetoast partner Stan (Jeremy Sutheim) in a vague competition with club owner Ruby (Sarah Switanowski). We've got the prerequisite dead body and simulated shooting up, but the plot twists fail to slither with enough torque, and when the characters drink vintage rum straight up, one's throat fails to burn in sympathy. Toss in a what-the-hell ending, and the deal remains unsealed. Thu 7:00 p.m., Sat 10 p.m. Jungle Theater.

Kathy Jensen is Pretty

KJ Productions

Kathy Jensen wears a number of hats: Los Angeles actress, amateur pianist, Minnesota transplant. She generally opts not to wear a hat, or anything else for that matter, when she pursues another activity: nude modeling for art classes. In this predominantly one-woman show (kicked off by an ensemble dance number), Jensen plumbs the mystery of why the artists who render her find her so magnetic and beautiful. The problem is, she doesn't really dig into this mystery with any penetrating insight or distinctive humor. Jensen is indeed pretty, and has a germ of a compelling idea, but she doesn't help her cause with thin writing in this tepid and snail-paced work. Thu 7 p.m., Sat 2:30 p.m. Ritz Theater Proscenium.

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