Matthew A. Everett's blog

Fringe Review - Native Man The Musical - Rarig Xperimental - 4-1/2 stars

It’s a little strange to review something like Native Man The Musical, because it’s largely composed of the personal narratives of real people, in almost every case presented by the people themselves. So it seems weird to assign a rating to someone else’s personal story. It’s the reason I waffled between just giving Native Man The Musical a straight-up 5 star rating versus a 4.5. Just the fact that something like Native Man The Musical exists is compelling enough a reason to go. How often do we get actual stories of the Native American community, performed by Native actors? Sadly, almost never. New Native Theater is trying to change that. And the Fringe is the perfect place to start pulling those narratives into shape, working them in front of an audience. But this review isn’t saying “Go because you should.” I can honestly say go because it’s compelling and entertaining theater.

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Fringe Review - The Adventures of Tapman - Illusion Theater - 4-1/2 stars

It’s one thing for a guy to be an amazing tap dancer, and that Tristan Bruns most definitely is. It’s another thing for him to be able to dance so well with a partner like Kate O’Hanlon, who is equally adept on her feet. The thing that kind of blew my mind about The Adventures of Tapman was that there were several times where Bruns as Tapman was dancing with an invisible partner. It’s the main reason of many you should go see The Adventures of Tapman.

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Fringe Review - The Genealogy of Happenstance - Rarig Center Arena

There are going to be a lot of superlatives thrown around about Allegra Lingo’s latest Fringe show, The Genealogy of Happenstance, produced with The Peanut Butter Factory. Her opening night crowd rose to their feet to give her a standing ovation. All this praise is well-earned. Saying things like “This is Allegra Lingo’s best Fringe show yet” sound like hyperbole. And, well, an artist always hopes that the latest thing they’ve done is an improvement over the things that came before. One would hope you could always say that. That you learn from your successes and mistakes and push to improve yourself, make yourself the best artist you can be, never to settle for less than that. But The Genealogy of Happenstance is another huge step forward for Allegra Lingo, as a writer and as a performer. She is operating on another level now, and I think that has to do in large part with her subject matter.

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Fringe Review - Real Dead Ghosts - Mixed Blood

The theater company and director and writer who brought the Minnesota Fringe Festival Sousepaw in 2011 are all teaming up again for a very different two person play this year, Real Dead Ghosts. Playwright Johnathan A. Goldberg (who also brought us 2012’s screwball noir comedy Font of Knowledge) has set this latest Fringe offering not in the past but the present (or at least an ever-shifting version of time grounded in the 21st century).

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Fringe Review - 1st Things Last: The Beginning of the End of Sketch Comedy - Rarig Xperimental

This was awkward. That’s really the best word to describe 1st Things Last: The Beginning of the End of Sketch Comedy. Everyone involved in the Yeah No Sketch Players (Kevin Albertson, Jennifer Bahe, John Gebretatose, Krystal Kohler, Tristan Miller, and Carly Renee Porter) is full of energy and good will towards the audience. But the material, created by director Greg Hernandez with additional writing by Bahe, Gebretatose, Trevor Rychly, and the Players collectively, lacks precision. Because the writing’s not sharp, and the performances follow the writing, a lot of the comedy doesn’t really land the way it’s probably meant to.

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Fringe Review - Indefinite Articles: A Libertarian Rage - Rarig Center Arena

I’ve seen a version of Indefinite Articles: A Libertarian Rage before, but Mom had not. Though a repeat of phillip andrew benett low might not have the same sense of surprise about it, that doesn’t mean it isn’t thoroughly enjoyable. Mom enjoyed it for the first time, and I enjoyed the return trip.

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Fringe Review - Into The Unreal City - Rarig Center

“What the heck is that?” someone asked when I told them I was going to see Into The Unreal City. Because it was one of the site specific shows, and one that would involve the audience traveling along with the show, a lot of people had heard about it. But no one really knew what it was. Now I can answer it a bit better. Partly because I needed to make a full report back to Mom afterward, who we lost in the first block of the traveling audience, musical romantic comedy.

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Fringe Review - Kyle and Sean Are Lovers - U of M Rarig Center Arena

Honestly, this was a relief. The box office staff warned us that the show was going to be slightly different than the content described on the Fringe website, which was my first “Uh oh” moment. Because we’d seen their preview in the touring artists showcase the night before - and that was VERY different than the show promised on the website. There was also a “warning” that the show would be short, only 40 minutes long. But if it had been 40 minutes of what we sampled in the preview, I’m not sure I could have handled that. Both for better and for worse, Kyle and Sean Are Lovers was not what I feared.

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Fringe Top 10 - #1 - One Arm - Perestroika Theater Project

One Arm is a stage adaptation of an unproduced Tennessee Williams’ screenplay about a military boxer who loses an arm in a car accident and ends up using the body he has left for prostitution, pornography, and murder. So, not a comedy. But for a change, the homosexuals are front and center in this story, not unseen supporting players who end up eaten by cannibals or blowing their brains out. So, progress.

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Fringe Top 10 - #2 - Native Man, The Musical - New Native Theatre

First, the insertion of Native American faces into a black and white rendering of members of The Avengers is brilliant and cheeky marketing - Native American Iron Man, Native American Hulk, and Captain Native American. Playwright Rhiana Yazzie has been a willing volunteer when I wrangle together writers for Theatre Unbound’s 24 Hour Xtreme Theater Smackdown. It takes a hardy soul to be willing to take on sleep deprivation and instant collaboration with another writer, using element unknown until the night of the writing to create a short play, much less a good one. Her willingness to pitch in this way is only the beginning of why I like her and want to support her work. There’s also the whole controversy surrounding a recent local production of the musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

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