By Jesse Marx
By Chris Parker
By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
A preview of the festival's best bets
Not sure where to begin? The Minnesota Fringe Festival offers 168 shows at 18 venues scattered across the Twin Cities. There's no way to predict the unexpected hits that make each festival a delight, but here is a sampling of shows—built on past reputation, pre-festival buzz, or just really cool titles—that offer a jumping-off point.
Definite "show title of the year" winner for 2011. Three bungling Iraqi insurgents kidnap an American television correspondent, which may have been a big mistake.
Aug. 5, 5:30 p.m.; Aug. 7, 10 p.m. Aug. 8, 8:30 p.m.; Aug. 11, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 13, 4 p.m.
Hitmaker Joseph Scrimshaw (last year's The Damn Audition and many others) returns with the tale of a wizard who takes over the world just by the power of thought. The cast also includes Mo Perry, David Mann, and Randy Reyes.
Aug. 5, 7 p.m.; Aug. 6, 4 p.m. Aug. 8, 5:30 p.m.; Aug. 10, 7 p.m. Aug. 13, 4 p.m.
Mike Fotis and the Danger Committee explore what happens when three jugglers attempt to help a storyteller spice up his show. Someone's probably going to get hurt.
Aug. 4, 5:30 p.m.; Aug. 6, 10 p.m. Aug. 9, 8:30 p.m.; Aug. 13, 5:30 p.m. Aug. 14, 1 p.m.
What would Batman be without Robin? Captain America without Bucky? Superman without, er, Krypto? Find out from insider Gentleman Li and his trusty sidekick, Barrel Man.
Aug. 4, 5:30 p.m.; Aug 7, 2:30 p.m. Aug. 9, 10 p.m.; Aug 12, 5:30 p.m. Aug. 14, 7 p.m.
Mill City Museum
The Live Action Set present an adaptation of Edward Gorey's book about a cat and doll who, as the title suggests, must save a circus from ruin.
Aug. 5, 7 p.m.; Aug. 6, 4 p.m. Aug. 6, 7 p.m.; Aug. 7, 2:30 & 5:30 p.m. Aug. 12, 7 p.m.; Aug. 13, 4 p.m. & 7 p.m. Aug. 14, 2:30 & 5:30 p.m.
Theatre in the Round
Finally, a Fringe show about knitting. Aviva made a choice 19 years ago, and has not made one since. Her life is a mess, apart from a weekly knitting group. Except that this week she's in line for a show, or is she? Metaphysical crafting hijinks ensue.
Aug. 6, 1 p.m.; Aug. 8, 7 p.m. Aug. 9, 8:30 p.m.; Aug. 12, 5:30 p.m. Aug. 13, 4 p.m.
Brandon has had some setbacks. His job. His ex. His father's dementia. And now, his eyesight. Today, however, somewhere over the Atlantic, on a flight where the time is always 2:41 p.m., an unlikely hero will rise. Created by Christopher Kehoe (St. Christopher of Financial Aid).
Aug. 4, 8:30 p.m.; Aug. 6, 4 p.m. Aug. 7, 10 p.m.; Aug. 9, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 12, 10 p.m.
Can mecha Lincoln and crazed John Wilkes Booth team up to save the world from a greater threat? Find out in this steampunky musical.
Aug. 5, 8:30 p.m.; Aug. 7, 1 p.m. Aug. 8, 8:30 p.m.; Aug. 9, 5:30 p.m. Aug. 13, 8:30 p.m.
Joshua English Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen (The Harty Boys in the Case of the Limping Platypus) return with a series of re-imagined Grimm fairy tales, told in the style of classic 20th-century comedians.
Aug. 5, 5:30 p.m.; Aug. 7, 5:30 p.m.; Aug. 8, 7 p.m.; Aug. 12, 4 p.m.; Aug. 14, 2:30 p.m.
This pair of short plays delves deep into the dark heart of the Twin Cities, exploring themes of possessing love and letting it go.
Aug. 5, 5:30 p.m.; Aug. 7, 7 p.m. Aug. 10, 10 p.m.; Aug. 11, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 14, 2:30 p.m.
A sequel to Shakespeare's Tempest by way of James Cameron's Aliens, from the creators of the 2009 Fringe hit Bard Fiction, expands on the story of Miranda, Ariel, and Caliban, showing that not every happy ending lasts forever
Aug. 4, 7 p.m.; Aug. 6, 2:30 p.m. Aug. 9, 10 p.m.; Aug. 11, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 13, 10 p.m.
The title says it all for Lee, who puts his Ph.D. to good use with the science-based standup routines that made him a YouTube star.
Aug. 7, 4 p.m.; Aug. 10, 10 p.m. Aug 12, 5:30 p.m.; Aug. 12, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 13, 10 p.m.
Minneapolis Theatre Garage
Revisit the television of yesterday, when audiences waited for actual jokes to laugh and every program had a theme song. From the creators of Flops! and DreamBoys.
Aug. 6, 8:30 p.m.; Aug. 7, 4 p.m. Aug. 8, 8:30 p.m.; Aug. 12, 4 p.m. Aug. 14, 4 p.m.
Four Humors gives us a piece about danger, intrigue, double crossing, and super secret agents—with puppets to boot! The show has already earned kudos for its run at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival.
Aug. 4, 8:30 p.m.; Aug. 7, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 10, 5:30 p.m.; Aug. 11, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 13, 5:30 p.m.
For its 18th edition, the Minnesota Fringe Festival will feature 168 productions on 18 stages in Minneapolis and St. Paul between August 4 and 14. Each show lasts no longer than 60 minutes, with full programs running through the evening on weekdays and throughout the day on weekends.