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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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Believe in "A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant is what so many shows claim to be: Fun for the entire family! I was a little leary of going into a show that advertised a "jubilant cast of children," but The Catalysts, comprised of Michael Gruber (composer), Jason Hansen (musical director), Nikki Swoboda (director and choreographer), and Max Wojtanowicz (playwright and lyricist), find that sweet spot where both children and adults can actually enjoy the same thing, even if it is probably for different reasons.

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The Adventures of Tapman at the 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival

The Adventures of Tapman, by Chicago-based Tap Man Productions LLC, is a show for all ages, including younger children and their families. Tap Man (Tristan Bruns) fights an evil invisible guy and tries to impress the spunky Modern Marvel (Kate O'Hanlon) through dance. At first it was a lot of work to follow the details of the dialogue-heavy story. There are three characters in the show, but one of them is invisible. This makes it hard to follow the plot. The acoustics of the Illusion made it almost impossible to understand Tapman when he was speaking and tapping at the same time. Hopefully, the cast will make some adjustments for the remainder of the run.

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Kyle and Sean Are Lovers at the Minnesota Fringe Festival

Saying I loved Kyle and Sean Are Lovers feels sort of like saying the Holocaust was a neat idea and efficient means to an end. There’s so much “What the fuck??!!” happening in the world today. It’s brutal out there, with morals and ideologies and misguided beliefs and grounded beliefs and no agreement on which is which, and then we grapple with (or watch with horror on the news) the actions we take as a result. Kyle and Sean Are Lovers is disturbing, true. Definitely a thought-provoking piece that could have stood to be padded out beyond its 30-minute run time (though time doesn’t exactly fly by in watching). I was a bit distracted by the couple in front of me who thought the show was HILARIOUS and also thought that running commentary throughout the show was acceptable theater behavior. How I dream of a magic audience member eraser wand. I can’t say much more about the show without spoilers. If what I’ve said so far is intriguing to you, it’s worth checking this show out, and quickly, as they’re front-loaded the first five days of the festival and then gone, gone, gone. Some will say good riddance, but I’ll miss them. They’re on to something. Proceed with caution. Rarig Arena.

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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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July 31st Minnesota Fringe Festival Shows: Kyle And Sean Are Lovers: By T Or D Or S, U of M Rarig Arena

Kyle and Sean are Lovers

By T or D or S

Summary: Kyle and Sean are Lovers' tells the story of two straight-identified men trying to gain acceptance into a Nazi-esque group by confessing their real life homosexual experiences in public.

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July 31st Minnesota Fringe Festival Shows: 11:11: By SaMi Productions, U of M Arena

11:11

By SaMi Productions

Summary: One morning, a 2 ton car gets hit by a 10 ton truck, launching a woman's full-scale battle with the concept of time. Told through a series of connected vignettes, 11:11 explores this complicated relationship.

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July 31st Minnesota Fringe Festival Shows: The Jungle Book: By Top Hat Theater, U of M Rarig Proscenium

The Jungle Book

By Top Hat Theater

Summary: Stomp on down to the Seeonee Hills Jungle for a magical, musical, energy packed adventure! Join Mowgli, Baloo and friends as together they discover the true meaning of family and the cherished value of love.

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