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Fringe Review - From Here To Maternity - Illusion Theater - 5 stars

It would be easy to take comedy offerings from either Joshua Scrimshaw or Shanan Custer for granted. After all, in this Fringe alone, each of them is in multiple shows, and they are reliably hilarious is all of them (Our American Assassin, Kafka Nuts and Amateur Hour, to name the ones I can remember off the top of my head). From Here To Maternity has also been mounted and remounted before (I can’t believe I just used the word “mount” in reference to this show. Apologies). But as anyone who has sat through unfunny Fringe shows in the past can tell you (and believe me, Mom and I have seen our share), an actually funny Fringe comedy is worth its weight in gold. Scrimshaw and Custer, together or individually, are a comedy treasure, and we should all happily glut ourselves on that fact.

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Fringe Review - Fiddlestick Conundrum - New Century Theater - 5 stars

I may actually have run out of new words to use to explain why I enjoy Ben San Del’s comedy so much. I’ve seen and reviewed all his Fringe shows, and given the competition that any Fringe show has to get on my radar, much less my schedule, that is saying something. I’d have to sit and think about it but I could probably count the number of Fringe artists I can say that about on one hand and still have fingers left over.

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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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"Happy Vagina Puppet Show" is for (mostly) everyone at the 2014 Fringe Festival

Hopefully this isn't a spoiler, but there aren't any vagina puppets in Happy Vagina Puppet Show by Dangerous Productions. The closest thing that comes to a puppet, and what happens to also be the star of the show, is a silver, inchworm-like tube, which you'll really just have to see to believe. 

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Stairway to Kevin at the Minnesota Fringe Festival

Another artist hailing from parts other than Minnesota is Kevin Thornton, bringing us Stairway to Kevin, my favorite in a pretty stellar lineup yesterday (Failure: A Love Story, Green T's 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Amateur Hour, all at the Illusion).

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"Bottoms Up" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

Young Artists Council of Youth Performance Company’s Bottoms Up was a fun pop culture filled parody of Titanic, and although I have never seen the movie, I still really enjoyed the show. The cast didn’t seem to take themselves seriously, which was part of the charm. The pop culture references were cleverly sprinkled throughout the show. I loved the many dance sequences that accompanied some of the longer songs. The cast knew what they were doing and they were all incredibly talented. At times, the constant barrage of references got a bit old, but those times were few and far between. This was an amazing and hilarious production with a cast that wasn’t afraid to make fun of themselves.

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"Austen-tatious" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

Mendota Theater Company’s Austen-tatious was an incredibly funny show where characters randomly burst into song all the time. The relationships were believable and Emma and George had great chemistry together. Camille Isadora Smith, who played Emma Woodhouse, had a lovely singing voice. Phillip Schramm, who played multiple characters, was wonderful at bringing each character to life. The show was very funny and although I’ve never read the book, I left with a very good idea of the plot. My only complaint is that the musical transitions in between scenes lasted a little too long. This is a very good show and definitely worth your time.

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"Twelfth Night" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

Rough Magic Performance Company’s production of Twelfth Night was an interesting version of Shakespeare's beloved comedy about love, mistaken identity, and dressing like a man. It’s never easy to rewrite a classic Shakespeare play and still have it make sense. You have to figure out what scenes and subplots to cut so that the finished product won’t confound your audience. Rough Magic Performance Company managed to rewrite Twelfth Night in a way that made sense and still told the main story in an interesting way. The cast was composed of talented actors who seemed to understand the language, which is extremely important in a Shakespearean show. I enjoyed the use of the ukulele and the bead drum in between the scenes. The music tied the performance together. I also liked the actors use of the area behind the set to tell some of the subplots that would have otherwise been forgotten. The set went well with the costumes and matched the tone of the play. The one part of the set that I did not care for was the blue led lights that were strung along the edges of the stage. They were distracting and they drew my eyes away from the action. Other than that it was a very interesting and well performed production. 

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The Tourist Trap at the 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival

Tonight the role of Wendy Gennaula will be performed by Chris Gennaula.  Last night our "Good to Momma" Blogger took the night off from the Fringe to actually blog a bit.  So, tonight while she is back at her 'Fringe Beat' I will guest blog about a show I saw last night.

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Minnesota Fringe Festival: Rich Pieces and Other Dances at the Southern Theater

SHOW TITLE: Rich Pieces and Other Dances
PRODUCER: Shelter Repertory Dance Theatre
HAILING FROM: Wisconsin
SHOW DESCRIPTION: "Raw emotion momentarily captured" describes the spellbinding work of these exquisite dancers. Inspired by the poetry of Adrienne Rich, these dances encapsulate haunting images that entrance audience members.

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