Matthew A. Everett's blog

Fringe Review - Yama and Kalindi: A Transdimensional Love Story - TRP - 4 stars

Alternate universes and romantic comedies have been crossbred before (not to mention time travel and doppelgangers), and it often makes for interesting viewing (The Double Life of Veronique, Sliding Doors, countless sci fi TV shows, etc.). It’s all based on the big “what if” - what if I’d turned right instead of left, what if I hadn’t been late for the bus, what if the alarm clock never rang, what if I’d never met that person, or never let them go? The latest entry in this sub-genre is Hey Rube’s Fringe 2014 production of Marcus Anthony’s new script Yama and Kalindi: A Transdimensional Love Story.

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Fringe Review - Marie-Jeanne Valet Who Defeated La Bete du Gevaudan - Southern Theater - 5 stars

Sandbox Theatre has grown so adept at doing so much with very little that it’s easy to take something as accomplished as Marie-Jeanne Valet Who Defeated La Bete du Gevaudan for granted. That would be a mistake. Thankfully, the audiences of the Twin Cities don’t look likely to take the skillful storytelling of Sandbox for granted any time soon. It’s probably because, all theater trappings aside, audiences enjoy a good adventure story, or a good monster yarn, well told. Few tell them as well as Sandbox.

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Fringe Review - After Life - Rarig Thrust - 4 stars

Theatre Cosmic’s After Life almost gives an atheist a decent platform on which to make his arguments. Of course, it also undercuts that with the fact that it’s ostensibly taking place in an afterlife in which the atheist doesn’t believe, under the control of a deity in which the atheist doesn’t believe, attended by some form of spirit in which the atheist doesn’t believe. Joke’s on you, silly atheist.

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Fringe Review - Uptown Bank Heist - New Century Theatre - 3 stars

One doesn’t want to say too much about Uptown Bank Heist because then you give some of the fun surprises away. But it’s called Uptown Bank Heist so this much a person can safely say: There’s a bank. There will be robbers. It’s a comedy, so things will go hilariously wrong rather than tragically wrong.

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Fringe Review - A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant - New Century Theatre - 4 stars

I’m genuinely torn over how I feel about A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant. It’s comes to us with an established pedigree. It’s not a musical that’s original to the Minnesota Fringe Festival, it’s over ten years old. It’s an Obie Award-winner from off-Broadway in New York, it won awards for its Los Angeles production and gets done all over the country. We used to have a big Scientology storefront for many years on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis though it’s long gone now. That thought makes me feel like we’re kicking a religion when it’s down.

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Fringe Review - Tourist Trap - Theatre In The Round - 4 stars

Though Tourist Trap is a wonderfully quick and creepy show (clocking in at under 40 minutes), Ghoulish Delights’ leader Tim Uren (who wrote, directed and has a supporting acting role in this Fringe production), may be a victim of his own success at freaking me out in the past. With his entry in last year’s Twin Cities Horror Festival, Trust and Obey, Uren raised the bar almost impossibly high for me as an audience member. That show was such a complex, multi-layered psychological terror machine that now I expect nothing less.

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Fringe Review - An Honest Magic Show - Mixed Blood - 5 stars

In its own quiet, unassuming way, Nick Lande’s Fringe offering, An Honest Magic Show, is just as much a 5 star show as other larger more visually dazzling productions this year. This is mostly because at its core, it’s just a good solid magic show. A mix of sleight of hand, misdirection, psychology, and a handful of things for which I have no logical explanation make for a very fun hour. Lande is an engaging and friendly presence onstage. Even when he’s tricking someone while standing right next to them, he’s never condescending, smug or unkind. He’s committed to keeping things as random as possible and never uses the same audience volunteer twice. There were about two dozen of us in the house on his opening night (“It sounds like there are more than five of you out there so I’m very happy”), and I’d say about half of us ended up onstage before the night was over (myself included).

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Fringe Review - The Tiger In The Room - Illusion Theater - 3 stars

Mom and I both agreed that the charming and commanding presence of Natalie Rae Wass at the center of The Tiger In The Room is the thing that makes it work. Any way you look at it, she’s the production’s main selling point. In fact, Natalie was so effective for Mom that it caused her to give the rest of the elements in the production a pass. Sadly, the rest of the production around Natalie bugged me too much to entirely overlook the things that left me scratching me head.

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Fringe Review - Jumpin' Jack Kerouac - Rarig Proscenium - 4-1/2 stars

You know how when we put kids on stage, often, our critical faculties go right out the window? Because you see them up there, and they’re adorable, and honestly, who cares how perfect or imperfect it is? They’re up there, on stage, doing something they almost never do, so you’re brimming with pride and appreciation, and you’re just amazed and happy it’s happening at all? Oh, and if someone is actually, objectively, really good? Well, damn, that’s a miracle. That’s kind of what watching Jumpin’ Jack Kerouac feels like.

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Fringe Review - Our American Assassin, or You Can’t Handle The Booth - Theatre In The Round

I almost don’t know what to say about Josh Carson anymore. Should you see Mainly Me’s latest comic freight train Our American Assassin, or You Can’t Handle The Booth? Only if you want to laugh your ass off for a solid hour. Sound good? Then get your ticket because they’re packing the house full right from the first performance.

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