Family Fringe at the 2012 Minnesota Fringe Festival


As the Fringe gears up for a huge closing weekend, here are some suggestions for choosing family shows.  The official website has audience reviews that can be very helpful while choosing for kids.  These reviews have become part of the Minnesota Fringe culture; they give everyone a chance to participate.  Once you wade through reviews by clearly written by relatives, you can get a feel for what to expect. 

I am not a fan of ranking fringe shows with stars or kitties or thumbs up, although I am occasionally guilty of using the term  “must-see”.  The fringe needs to remain a place where artists can take big risks.  It’s a conundrum for me as a blogger.  I’ll tell you if I don’t like something-and I’ll tell you why. I have definite turn-offs (theater as therapy comes to mind as well as singers who don’t even try to sing in tune.)  But the fringe needs to remain a place where artists can take big risks.  It subverts the spirit of the Fringe when a major newspaper divides shows into the categories of “worth considering”, “could be worse” and “avoid like the plague”.

But I digress.  I haven’t seen any shows this year that are appropriate for tots.  Please leave a comment below if you have seen one.  The Gentlemen’s Pratfall Club comes close-but only if your child grasps the concept of DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.  It is a great year for teen shows, with Analyzing the Bully, Class of ’98 and Rip being my (wait for it…..) “must-sees”.

So here are some suggestions:

Ages 5 and up:
Hans the Obscure I loved this sweet, subversive little show.  I hope to get a blog post up tomorrow.
The Gentleman’s Pratfall Club (with reservations, see above)


Ages 10 and up:
 Portrait of the Artist as a Yo-yo Man
Mime Without A Mask (We haven’t seen this one yet.  But we never miss a Kirsten Stephens and Dean Hatton show.)

Ages 13 and up:
Analyzing the Bully
Class of ’98 A witty twist on Back to the Future with some skilled teen actors.  Funny from beginning to end. 
Pop-up Musical Great for the young musical theater fan. 
Rip A new twist on Rip Van Winkle story with a rock/ bluegrass score.
The Hungry Games: Mocking the Mockingjay Tom Reed gives the Hunger Games a comic twist.  FYI-there’s quite a bit of profanity

These are my picks for young people.  But you never know what might strike a chord.  My 14 year old son thoroughly enjoyed Ivory Tower Burning, which was a dialogue about sociology. No time travel, aliens, or swordfighting.