Fringe Festival 2011: A preview of your best bets

Theater fans can pick from 168 shows

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.

Angelina Jolie Is a Zionist Whore! or, Plan 9 from Baghdad

Intermedia Arts

Executive director Robin Gillette gears up for two weeks of Fringe frenzy
Jayme Halbritter
Executive director Robin Gillette gears up for two weeks of Fringe frenzy


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.

Brain Fighters

Rarig Thrust

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.

Comedy = Tragedy + Something Else

Rarig Thrust

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.

The Duties and Responsibilities of Being a Sidekick

Gremlin Theater

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.

Fletcher & Zenobia Save the Circus (by Edward Gorey)

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.

Knit One, Purl the Other

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.


Rarig Proscenium

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.

Robot Lincoln: The Revengeance

Rarig Thrust

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.

Smothers Brothers Grimm

Rarig Thrust

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.

Tales From the Twisted Cities

Rarig Arena

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.


Rarig Thrust

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.

Tim Lee—Scientist Turned Comedian

Intermedia Arts

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.

Those Were the Days

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.

You Only Live Forever Once

Bryant-Lake Bowl

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.

General Information

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.

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Carol-Ann Wodehouse
Carol-Ann Wodehouse

This year 2011 the Fringe in Edmonton, Alberta was ver disappointing, I am a walker/runner and the route I take touches upon the Fringe so I was there around three times. zi hsve been fringing for at least 20 years, I was not impressed with this year at all. The "kid's midway" that idea sucked whom ever thoght of that should be shot. The no dogs policy,, why???? It didn;t go over well as I saw dogs inside the grounds more than less, dogs are a constant in and around Whyte Ave another idea bites the dust, You didn;t have to worry about crowds because there weren't any, I hope the fringe comes back like they were, fun not boring. Too bad for the Fringe organizer, one idea for nexr year; ditch the midway very lame. I could go om forever bit won't, The 2011 Fringe sucked big time

Nellie DeBruyn
Nellie DeBruyn

Saw preview of Disney Dethroned at Sample Night Live a couple days ago. Can't wait to see the whole show.

Matt Saxe
Matt Saxe

I really enjoyed this article, but I have to ask, did both of Scrimshaws shows have to be mentioned in the Best Bets list? I'm not knocking Scrimshaw. He's a Fringe mainstay and his shows are always hits, so couldn't a different show, by either a local co. or an out-of-town visitor have been mentioned instead of one or the other of his shows? Just saying. Fringe, to me, has become one of the highlights of my entire year. The only bad thing about it is, if you're in it, you miss so many good shows! Oh well, its about as close to perfect as an event that the Cities has. If you've never been to a Fringe show, make it a priority to do it this year. Its something everyone should do at least once.

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