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THEATER REVIEW | "Evita The Musical" returns, this time to the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

(Photo credit: Richard Termine) Juan Peron (Sean MacLaughlin) and Eva/Evita Peron (Caroline Bowman) in the Evita national tour.

Local theatregoers can be forgiven a sense of déja vu. Just six and a half months after the new Evita tour played at the Orpheum in Minneapolis, this same production has come to roost in St. Paul at the Ordway. Those who caught the first visit will find the Pig’s Eye stop cut from the same cloth, from the set and the cast to the giant heads of Eva and Juan Péron that greet the audience are the same. So what’s different?

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"What You Will" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

What You Will works if you are an aficionado of Shakespearian humor with a hint of raunchiness. If you do not like this sort of thing then you may have wanted to see one of the other 168 shows available at this year’s Fringe Festival. The plot was hard to follow and the acting was just a bit overdone. My largest dissatisfaction with the show was that there were quite a few characters who seemingly had superfluous roles. When you try compacting a Shakespearian inspired piece chocked full of modern innuendos with a wide-range of characters in less than an hour, the result often is a turgid mess that only a certain target audience will receive with enthusiasm.

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"Hi! Hello! Namaste?" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

Now I may not be a connoisseur of Bollywood dance styles, but I do know a good dance production when I see one. Hi! Hello! Namaste? is a truly unique experience at this year’s Fringe Festival. It offers an alternative to the festival’s slate which is comprised mainly of comedic productions. The show was full of amazing outfits and even better dancing. The very large cast worked well, offering a magnificent sight to the audience. While I’ll admit that the plot was a little vapid and cliché, this show is intended to highlight the unique style of dance that you can only find in this Bollywood inspired show.

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Music in Mears, Irish Fair and Lowertown Guitar Fest: St. Paul picks up momentum with concerts and festivals

I will stand by St Paul in good times and bad–but I have to admit it’s easier and more fun to stand by her with a beer in hand and music blaring and that’s what I did all weekend. I didn’t leave the city once and I was able to walk and/or take the train to most of the festivities, which started Thursday night.

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"The Four Humors Does Every Show In The Fringe" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

The Four Humors Does Every Show In The Fringe was a comedic improv show that got it’s laughs by making fun of other Fringe shows, which is a great idea and I wish I’d thought of it. This was the very first improv show I’ve ever been to and I loved it. This time they tried to perform Blue Moon Theatre Company’s production Fish Stories. The actors recovered from bouts of laughter seamlessly. I especially liked the guest performer, Tim Hellendrung. His audience reviews were absolutely hysterical. The whole cast impressed me with their ability to adapt to whatever was thrown at them. This was a great show.

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"Habibi" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

Negative Negative Production’s Habibi was a sad story of love and loss, and like some other beautiful stories, it did not have a happy ending. I’ve never understood why some people insist that all stories have happy endings. Life itself doesn’t have a happy ending, so why should every story? The three actors in this show were all extremely talented and they made their characters feel like living breathing people. I thought that the set was a bit over the top for a Fringe play. It made the already small space seem tiny. Other than the overly extravagant set, it was a very good show.

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"Edgar Allen" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

The Coldhart’s production Edgar Allan was bone tinglingly creepy and it gave me goosebumps within the first f

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"Rewind-A-Buddy" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

Freshwater Theatre’s Rewind-A-Buddy was nothing like I expected it to be. It was both hysterically funny and heart wrenchingly sad all at the same time. Buddy, played by J. Merrill Motz, was relatable and everything that happened seemed to escalate naturally, nothing ever seemed forced. Motz had great facial expressions that really tied the show together. It was very interesting to watch Buddy getting more and more frustrated and upset as the show went on. The actor who played Buddy seemed very emotional at the end of his performance, which made the things he said about loneliness feel much more personal. This was a very well done show and their use of repetition was exquisite.

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"Couples Therapy" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

This is a show that every type of audience can relate to. Young or old, male or female, married or single, anyone can find something to enjoy in the witty and modern take on relationships that is Couples Therapy. The two person cast works stupendously. Kellian Kary and Nick Wolf have a clear chemistry that is essential to such an intimate show. The quick wardrobe changes and dialogues heard backstage add comedic value and display the writing and acting talent of this dynamic duo.

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"Shakespeare Apocalypse: A New Musical" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

There is a continuous battle fought by actors and high schoolers alike—understanding Shakespeare. Except for the mighty few who are either geniuses or lying, it is quite hard for most of the population to comprehend the 400 year old words of Shakespeare’s literature. Shakespeare Apocalypse, performing at Theatre In The Round, exposes many of the issues modern generations have with Shakespeare’s writing and provides a glimpse of what would happen if we decided to stop reading Shakespeare – an apocalypse, obviously. The story begins with Peter, a starving young actor (naturally), and Amy performing Hamlet when Peter forgets his next line. He then begins improvising. Then improvising turns into a big rant against Shakespeare. This is all filmed by teen vlogger Tracy, who puts it on the internet and the video goes viral. Soon people all over the world are burning Shakespeare’s work and proclaiming #downwiththebard! In a turn of Freudian proportions, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Ernest Hemingway come back, having sold their souls to the devil for literary immortality, to destroy the world. Peter and Amy must save the world. With twists and turns at every corner, Shakespeare Apocalypse does not follow the normal path of apocalypse stories at all, making it truly original and innovative.

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