'Fargo' comes to the stage with rough edges, intriguing moments

Somehow, it was appropriate that heavy snows filled the streets Monday, making the journey to the Bryant-Lake Bowl rather treacherous to see Sandbox Theatre's new interpretation of the Coen Brothers' Fargo. (Oh, and for the people who helped get my car unstuck while I searched for a parking space--thank you very, very much.)

Once inside, the audience was treated to a piece far more like a Fringe show in development than a fully realized work. Instead of tackling the story in a linear fashion--which really could have been a waste, as there's a perfectly fine film version we can all see whenever we want--different members of the company riffed on scenes, situations, and even just suggestions from the original work.

Some of it was funny, some of it was odd, and some of it touched the dark heart that lies at the center of the film.

The best moments came when the creators worked to move the story beyond the original film. In a video, the orphaned "son" from the film is interviewed as an adult as he discusses events, and the movie that has defined his life. In another, the story of Takako Konishi was detailed by a mixture of onstage acting and video. She was a Japenese woman whose death in a snowy Minnesota field was originally (and falsely) attributed to her futile search for the ransom money from the film.

Other moments played with the story's setting, including Fargo as Masterpiece Theatre, a Spanish-language soap opera, and commercials featuring famous situations, locations, or characters. It's a breezy evening--under an hour--that feels like it's still in development, and if you approach it as such, the intriguing moments can outweigh the rough edges.

Fargo runs Mondays through March 14.

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