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"The Frat Party: A Comic Opera in One Act" is just that at the 2014 Fringe Festival

The Frat Party: A Comic Opera in One Act from The Really Spicy Opera Company is exactly that: a bunch of opera-singing frat kids musing about their life problems in a series of arias. The frat boys of Beta Epsilon Epsilon Rho (BEER) overcome three obstacles in order to throw their rager: permission from their RA (all they had to do was invite her), finding someone to do their homework (get their friend to do it), and scrounge up money for booze (parent's credit card, duh).

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Duetted and Entre Nosotros (Between Us) at the Minnesota Fringe Festival

I caught Duetted and Entre Nosotros (Between Us) back to back at the Southern, which allowed for a bit of compare and contrast between these two really incredible dance shows, both featuring couples.

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August 1st Fringe Festival Shows: The Boy Boy Friend: Swearingen & Orf Productions, Theater in the Round

The Boy Boyfriend

By: Swearingen & Orf Productions

Summary: A gay romp of a musical telling that age old tale of a white, privileged, upper-class English boy and his quest to find a boyfriend, so long as he is white, privileged and upper-class too.

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August 1st Fringe Festival Shows: #Relationship status: By someday, wine productions

#Relationship status

By: someday, wine productions

Summary: Love is officially Law in Minnesota...so, now what? #RelationshipStatus peeks into the lives and complicated relationships of real Minnesotans after the ink dried on the Marriage Equality bill.

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August 1st Fringe Fesival Shows: (In)Humanity: A study through movement, Southern Theatre

(In)Humanity: A study through movement

By: Dance and other behaviors

Summary: What separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom? Join our documentary crew on a contemporary dance performance at the borders of humanity to see where, visually and kinetically, human and animal converge.

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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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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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