Amy Salloway's "Entwined" at the Fringe: Insightful, discomfiting, riveting

Something very funny is happening off-camera: Amy Salloway in "Entwined"
Something very funny is happening off-camera: Amy Salloway in "Entwined"
Tonight is one of three more chances to catch Amy Salloway's new original show Entwined at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Revelatory, insightful, sometimes discomfiting: it is a worthy addition to Salloway's confessional storytelling work.

The plot concerns a romance between Amy (conveniently played by Salloway) and a man named Bean (Jim Schweitzer), a relationship that comes to a symbolic head during a trip to see the world's largest ball of twine. Bean, a vegan Unitarian, states that his heart is mostly pledged to another; Amy perseveres for a time, apparently in the hopes that her minority stake in his heart can be increased.

This is the first time I've seen Salloway incorporate another performer into one of her shows, and her script affords Schweitzer room for a droll, distant delivery (the two stand side-by-side, reading from music stands). Salloway's delivery is a mix of brashness and vulnerability, her ample writing and storytelling chops harmonizing with an abundant willingness not to paint her proxy character with a hint of self-aggrandizement.

In the program niotes, Salloway refers to Entwined as a "work-in-progress," which is certainly her prerogative, but there's little sense that we're watching something that isn't ready for the stage. Salloway can rivet an audience's attention, and take them on rising and falling  digressions, in a very distinctive fashion. The emotional terrain of her latest show can be stark and movingly endearing from one moment to the next; in tackling the messy private world of a love affair, she comes up with something fascinating.

Entwined plays at the Rarig Center Arena stage tonight at 10 p.m., Thursday at 5:30 p.m., and Saturday at 4:00 p.m.

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