Lithe women tied up in rubber tubing. Bumbling actors whose performances are so hammy that any responsible Halakic authority would bar them from kosher homes. More punishing puns than the late Big Pun himself. Yes indeed: The Minnesota Fringe Festival has come into its own. There were years when it seemed unlikely that this two-week bonanza of low-rent theater would return for another go-round. (Friday-afternoon shows of yore were notorious for drawing crowds that could be counted on one finger.) Last year close to 28,000 theatergoers lined up for sold-out shows by Kevin Kling, Heidi Arneson, Bill Corbett, and Jeffrey Hatcher. While these folks have built solid reputations on mainstream stages, Minnesota's Fringe remains unjuried--that is, open to any quack who will hand over $375 and fill out an application. It's wacky, it's woolly, it's radically and frighteningly democratic. On the subject of politics, the departure of Dean Seal from the festival director's chair remains a mystery to local scene-watchers. Under his four-year tenure, the event grew into the largest of its kind in the U.S. Where the event goes from here should be an interesting drama.

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528 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis MN 55403


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