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Minnesota Fringe Festival: Scarborough Fair, The Gay Banditos, Carol and Cotton, Class of 1998
I simply can’t start my days with two Diet Cokes and several mini-cupcakes and expect to not end the night in tears. What am I thinking? That Diet Coke and cupcakes are tasty, probably. I’m taking the entire Fringe off from work, so you’d think that would give me enough time attend to proper care and feeding. I thought I’d spend all this free time watching the Olympics while reading Fringe reviews and being thankful that Shark Week starts the week AFTER Fringe. That’s not happening, either. I’m watching a squirrel walk around my back yard. For some reason squirrels walking around like a dog or a cat freak me out. I prefer bounding squirrels.
Now that we’ve covered that: the highlight of my evening was Scarborough Fair at Theatre in the Round. Again, I admit to being a bit of a Simon and Garfunkel freak, likely because I listened to them in utero and throughout the years when I had coke-bottle bottom glasses, no friends and was a bookworm and teacher’s pet. Not that I was bothered by any of this, but let’s just say that contact lenses changed my life. That didn’t happen until eighth grade, so I had plenty of time to absorb my parents’ vinyl collection. There are really two big selling points for this show. One, Frazier and Brendan are charming and goofy, and while that schtick is not new (think A Mighty Wind), they do a good job of it. The other piece is that Frazier and Brendan have exquisitely beautiful voices. Perfect, in fact. I might very well see this show again, just because it made me so incredibly happy. My sister Molly says this is her favorite Fringe show EVER. (Okay, well, she’s only seen three Fringe shows so far, but they were all good.) See them Saturday at 5:30.
I liked The Gay Banditos by the Mechanical Division at Rarig Thrust. It was exactly what I expect from the Mechanical Division – clever writing, jokes that cross lines (but I’m all about crossing lines), solid performances. Sure, it’s ridiculous and over the top, but so is the stupid fucking marriage amendment we’re voting on in November (all proceeds of this show will be donated to help defeat it). Vote no on the amendment, but vote YES for the Gay Banditos! Next chance Saturday at 4.
I was also impressed by great performances by Catherine Johnson Justice and Steve Sweere in Carol and Cotton, Minnesota’s Crime of the Century in the Rarig Arena. Taking cues from a real-life crime committed in St. Paul in 1963, this is a very compelling and well-executed crime drama. See them today (Friday) or tomorrow at 5:30.
If I had any complaint about the madcap Class of 1998, it would be that I missed some of the very funny lines, due to the theater in the round (meaning the actors weren’t always projecting in my direction) and the fast paced action. Time travel, high school, lots of popular culture references (I am admittedly slightly too old to get all of them), the highly talented Josh Carson and Andy Kraft, supported by a great cast including some wonderful teens. Can’t miss. Next chance Saturday at 7.