Fringe Festival 2012: Critic's Picks

Candide

Rarig Thrust

Can our intrepid hero find "the best of all possible worlds" in a scant 60 minutes? Four Humors (multiple past Fringe shows, including last year's You Only Live Forever Once) digs into the classics again for 2012, condensing Voltaire's wicked satire into an hour's entertainment. The play has been adapted by Nick Ryan and features Christian Bardin, Anna Hickey, Ryan Lear, Brant Miller, and Matt Spring. (Friday at 5:30 p.m., Saturday at 5:30 p.m., Monday at 10 p.m., August 10 at 7 p.m., August 11 at 5:30 p.m.)

Fear and Trembling

Candide at Rarig Thrust
Candide at Rarig Thrust
The Gentlemen's Pratfall Club at Southern Theater
The Gentlemen's Pratfall Club at Southern Theater

Details

HUGE Improv Theatre

Veteran storyteller and performer Phillip Low crafts his latest work from the detritus and debris of the city he calls home. In Fear and Trembling, the writer explores the underside of Minneapolis in a series of twisted tales certain to bring fear to even the most jaded Uptown resident. (Saturday at 2:30 p.m., Sunday at 10 p.m., August 9 at 10 p.m., August 10 at 7 p.m., August 12 at 7 p.m.)

Font of Knowledge

Mixed Blood Theatre

New York's Shelby Company returns for the fourth time to the Fringe Festival with a new piece by Jonathan A. Goldberg, who wrote last year's sleeper hit Sousepaw: A Baseball Story. This time out, Goldberg mashes up '50s spy adventures with typesetter porn, as American agents battle the communists to protect the most dangerous of all fonts: Helvetica. (Thursday at 10 p.m., Saturday at 10 p.m., Monday at 8:30 p.m., August 10 at 8:30 p.m., August 11 at 5:30 p.m.)

The Gay Banditos

Rarig Thrust

The Mechanical Division (responsible for the likes of Cat, The Return of LICK!, and Cannibal!:The Musical) tear their latest opus from today's headlines, as a family is terrorized by a roving mob made up of Friends of Dorothy, ready to paint all of America a delightful and tasteful tone of pink. The Gay Banditos features the talents of Sarah Bizek, Bobby Gardner, Christine Karki, Tom Karki, Patrick Kozicky, and Ben Thietje. The company members are putting money where their mouths are: All proceeds will be donated to Minnesotans United for All Families. (Thursday at 5:30 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m., August 9 at 7 p.m., August 11 at 1 p.m., August 12 at 7 p.m.)

The Gentlemen's Pratfall Club

Southern Theater

Levi Weinhagen and Joshua English Scrimshaw didn't get into the Fringe until the end of June, but the Comedy Suitcase tandem are ready with their latest bit of madness. Following on the successes of The  Smothers Brothers Grimm and  The Harty Boys in the Case of the Limping Platypus, the pair presents a battle between a struggling actor and a cruel French clown (is there any other kind?) for the coveted role of Captain Clumsy. (Thursday at 5:30 p.m., Sunday at 8:30 p.m., August 9 at 10 p.m., August 10 at 7 p.m., August 12 at 2:30 p.m.)

Joe Dowling's William Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" on the Moon, featuring Kate Mulgrew as Lady Capulet

Theatre in the Round

Christopher Kehoe (2010's  St. Christopher of Financial Aid  and 2011's  Reykjavík) brings a title as epic as that of the latest Fiona Apple album and a show with a tasty double concept. There is the particular production referenced in the show, and then there are five more characters who play members of the audience watching the proceedings, from a theater critic to an understudy for Tybalt. (Saturday at 4 p.m., Sunday at 10 p.m., Tuesday at 8:30 p.m., August 11 at 1 p.m., August 12 at 7 p.m.)

Nightmare Without Pants

Rarig Thrust

It wouldn't feel like Fringe without a Joseph Scrimshaw show, with his latest following in the footsteps of the 2010 (The Damn Audition) and 2011 (Brain Fighters) top-selling shows of the festival. This time around, we follow Tracy, who, after an innocent mistake on her taxes, discovers she has 45 minutes to fall in love and marry. Chaos promises to ensue. The company includes Shanan Custer, John Riedlinger, Anna Sundberg, Scrimshaw, and John Middleton as the Silent-Hill-by-way-of-NASCAR-sounding Beer-Can-Mouth-Man. (Friday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m., August 8 at 5:30 p.m., August 10 at 10 p.m., August 11 at 8:30 p.m.)

Not Dead Yet! The Return of Mr. Elk and Mr. Seal

Mixed Blood Theatre

Dean Seal, the former Fringe Festival director, and Rob Elk, veteran of stage and screen and nine years of Triple Espresso, go for the comic throat with their a cappella songs. (Thursday at 8:30 p.m., Friday at 10 p.m., Saturday at 8:30 p.m., Sunday at 8:30 p.m., August 11 at 10 p.m.)

Rip

Minneapolis Theater Garage

Dovetail Theatre and David Darrow and Kara Davidson present a new, musical take on the story of Rip Van Winkle. This time, our sleepy hero starts his nap in the 1950s, eager to escape his dull town, wife, and life. During his decades-long dreaming, he has an epic adventure with a rock 'n' roll star. The production features Darrow, Davidson, Foster Johns, Anna Suttheim, Ben Yela, Jonas Yela, and William Balmer. (Saturday at 8:30 p.m., Sunday at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., August 9 at 5:30 p.m., August 12 at 1 p.m.)

thank u 4 a funky time

Bryant-Lake Bowl

A man has a problem at the beginning of Scot West's one-man show from Chicago. He's broken up with his love of eight years and is now trying to process the changes in his life, all in the less than 44 minutes it takes to listen to Prince's Purple Rain. Will he find an answer before that sort-of-odd coda at the end of the title track fades away? Bring your audio device (loaded with the appropriate album, and headphones) and find out. (Saturday at 1 p.m., Sunday at 5:30 p.m., August 9 at 5:30 p.m., August 10 at 5:30 p.m., August 12 at 4 p.m.)

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