MPLS.TV’s coverage of the 2011 Minnesota Fringe Festival continues with reviews of a Shakespearean/Sci Fi/Horror show, an Improv/Scripted/Choose Your Own Adventure show and a Comedy/Storytelling/Danger show. Basically, last night was an evening filled with hybrids. But don’t worry, we’re not getting smug driving around in a Prius – we just want you to see more Fringe!
presented by Tedious Brief Productions
The classic line from Aliens, ‘Get away from her, you bitch!’ is transformed into ‘Back away from her, you Harlot!’ at the climax of the Shakespeare/James Cameron mash-up Tempests. It’s a clever combination, and the hokey nature of Cameron’s script surprisingly never detracts from the mystical wonder found in the story of The Tempest. Katie Willer plays Miranda, or Ripley, with a focused drive. She also looks A LOT like Sigourney Weaver on stage, which helps, as superficial as that may be. In fact, every character is immediately recognizable with their Aliens counterpart: Vasquez has the classic female gruffness, the stranded child Newt is renamed Salamander, and Hudson is as anxious and…Bill Paxton-y…as ever. This is definitely the largest of all Fringe shows I’ve seen so far, and the most ambitious. That said, you’ve really got to be a fan of Aliens & Tempest to know what is going on – the script almost assumes that everyone in the audience is a fan of both.
Remaining performances at U of M Rarig Center:
Thursday 8/11 – 8:30 PM
Saturday 8/13 – 10:00 PM
Deadline: A Choose Your Own Adventure Story
presented by Interplanetary Appeal
James Rone & Jake Scott play the writers of the classic 1980s & 1990s children’s book series ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ in Deadline. The story is told in a half scripted, half improv format, where Rone & Scott occasionally step out of the scene and address the audience with the line ‘You have a choice to make.’ If you’re a kid who grew up in the 80s & 90s, there’s no way you could’ve missed these books, and their format lends itself nicely to improv, keeping the audience engaged with every crossroads of the tale. You can tell that through the characters and story, the actors are having a blast on stage. That’s important for an improv show, it makes the audience feel at ease & invites them to experience the adventure together. As far as how silly things get, the show I saw involved a hospital where a Doctor used sharks to operate, so, set your silly meter to high.
Remaining performances at Bryant-Lake Bowl
Thursday 8/11 – 7:00 PM
Saturday 8/13 – 10:00 PM
Comedy = Tragedy + Someone Else
presented by The Importance of Being Fotis
Mike Fotis and the Danger Committee star in Comedy = Tragedy + Someone Else, a storytelling & comedic romp with juggling, dangerous situations and actual physical pain inflicted on the human body. Fotis enters the stage as Mike Fotis the storyteller, and proceeds to share the tale of his childhood obsession with swimming. Gradually, the three members of the Danger Committee eventually come on stage and start to do their routine. It turns out that since there are so many shows at the Fringe this year, the two acts were double booked. That funny premise is stretched further by the Generation Y Everyman Fotis and the dashing, daring, Ricky Ricardo-esque Caleb McEwen as head juggler Reynaldo. The combination works, and while the attention shifts drastically from Fotis to Reynaldo and back again, the arc of the show is strong. And although the show is philosophical in nature, it should be appreciated by lovers of all levels of comedy, right up to the ELECTRIFYING finale.
Remaining performances at U of M Rarig Center
Saturday 8/13 – 5:30 PM
Sunday 8/14 – 1:00 PM