Monday, June 3, 2013 at 10:30 a.m.
Photo by V. Paul Virtucio
Husband and wife team Brian Sostek and Megan McClellan of Sossy Mechanics are hoping to raise money for the Southern Theater by offering six free shows of "Trick Boxing" at the space. Audiences are asked to donate what they think the performance is worth afterward. Shows started up this weekend, and are scheduled throughout the week through Saturday.
"Trick Boxing" premiered at the Minnesota Fringe Festival in 2002. Since then, there has been successful tours all over North America and Great Britain, as well as a longer version at the Guthrie Theater this past fall. The work tells the story of a wide-eyed immigrant street con who gets recruited by a fast talking hustler to become a boxer. For publicity purposes he is renamed Dancing Danny David.
Danny is about to be played the fool by the swindler, who has a nefarious plan for him. Fortunately, quick-thinking expert dancer Bella teaches him to use dancing techniques in his boxing game.
The two-person work offers lots of opportunities for Sostek to show off his acting prowess by playing many different characters, each with a distinct voice and physicality. McClellan is engaging, too, as the sassy and beautiful Bella.
But the real treat is watching the couple dance, as after years performing together they have an electrifying synchronicity. There's lots crowd-pleasing swing dancing, soft-shoe numbers, and goofy boxing jams that keep the show apace.
It's a treat to see Jeff Bartlett's lighting design, complete with cityscape gobos and specials that help illuminate the different scenes. Katherine Horowitz's old timey sound design aids both the storytelling and the marvelous dancing.
It's a heartwarming, enjoyable production, and is worth seeing to support the Southern Theater, as the space has gone through quite a bit of turmoil. Since 2011, the organization has operated with a barebones staff, having lost funding support from the McKnight due to mismanagement of funds. It almost seems a miracle that the theater still stands as a place to go and see great performing arts. While it's a shame that the Southern only operates as a rental house and not as a curated venue that co-presents productions, it still attracts artists and audiences due to the magical beauty of its theater.
IF YOU GO:
7:30 p.m. Monday, June 3, plus Thursday through Saturday
The Southern Theater
Free; donations encouraged