Fringe Day 4 – Down and Dirty

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by Matthew A. Everett • August 4, 2008 •


Best Thing We Saw Yesterday


Single White Fringe Geek (and Mom) is the blog of Matthew A. Everett, one of five bloggers covering the Minnesota Fringe Festival for the Daily Planet.

 


Conundrum Rehabbed – Joseph Bingham – Ritz


5 Stars – Very Highly Recommended


“I could easily sit through another whole hour of that,” said Mom, the second it was over. A hour stuffed from one end to the other with dance, dance and more dance. Dance with a hearty sense of humor about itself and not a whiff of pretentiousness. Some beautiful “normal” dance, too. Random elements and supporting characters popping up in all the corners of the audience’s field of vision – somehow managing that tricky balance of adding texture rather than being distracting. A very rich, widely varied world of dance that’s a lot of fun to visit.


Show page here, video clip here and write-up here


Another one both Mom and I would gladly see again.


Next Performance – Tonight, Monday, August 4th, 5:30pm


A Damn Close Second


Sun Tzu’s The Art of War – No Refunds Theater – Rarig Proscenium


5 Stars – Very Highly Recommended


Oh, those wacky ninjas. How I’ve missed them. The whole crew from No Refunds’ spectacular first run at the Bryant Lake Bowl is back for the remount at the Fringe. John Middleton as our narrator is just as urbane and dryly amusing as ever. The ninjas (Christopher J. Howie, Mike Postle and Kiseung Rhee) are just as full of boundless energy and invention as before. The adaptation by Charlie Bethel and director Matt Dawson is lean and sharp. And of course, there is a mambo.


Show page here, write-up here


Next Performance – Tuesday, August 5th, 8:30pm


One Man Comedy That Sidles Up To You For A Chat


Strawberry Fields Temporarily – Leaky Pen, Ink (aka Ben Sandell) – Interact Center


5 Stars – Very Highly Recommended


Hanging out with Ben Sandell, you really feel you get to know him. Tales of boyhood larceny of grabbing golf bars or raiding his older brother’s porn stash. The definition of what it means to be the “weird uncle.” Using the threat of an imaginary assassin to force himself into performing stand-up comedy the first time. Entries from a most unusual work journal during his days writing for a newspaper out in Crookston. Ben’s unique way of looking at the world makes everything a cause for laughter. He misses none of the absurd details, but also realizes he doesn’t have to exaggerate. Real life is weird enough.


Show page here, video clip here and write-up here


Next Performance – Wednesday, August 6th, 10pm


One Man Comedy That Barrels At You Like A Freight Train


An Intimate Evening With Fotis, part 2 – Mike Fotis – Minneapolis Theater Garage


5 Stars – Very Highly Recommended


Backed by Jenn Scott on upright bass, Mike Fotis motors through another quartet of stories about fights both real and fictional, reluctantly sharing his home with bats, embarrassments musical and social mixed together, and of course, the awesome power of blogs. The packed house was laughing in waves pretty much non-stop. What can I say? Fotis delivers the goods. You’re exhausted from laughing so much, but it’s a good kind of tired.


Show page here


Next Performance – Tonight, Monday, August 4th, 10pm


One Man Comedy That Doesn’t Say A Word


Silent Poetry – Dean Hatton – Mixed Blood


5 Stars – Very Highly Recommended


It struck me, watching Dean Hatton perform, that all the things I admire about clowning and physical theater? They come from this. From mime. Fear not, there is no white face. No French black and white striped outfit. It is not completely silent. There is music as well. A man in a pitched battle with his own hands. A soldier and a seemingly indestructible butterfly in a war zone. A man who drifts off during the sermon at church and ends up in science fiction adventures. A street mime who can only get people to give him money if he pretends to kill himself in ever more gruesome ways. A beautiful kite flying sequence, and more. Kids and adults alike in the audience were entranced and amused.


Show page here, write-up here


Next Performance – Tuesday, August 5th, 7pm


One Woman Comedy To Cheer Up That Stupid Face of Yours


Stupid Face – Courtney Roche – Rarig Xperimental


5 Stars – Very Highly Recommended


A teenage girl on the verge of high school graduation and heading off to college wakes up one morning to find half her face is paralyzed. Instead of being depressing, or an uplifting disease-of-the-week TV-movie, Courtney Roche has fashioned something hilarious. Some people know how to fashion a piece of their life into a coherent story with meaning for others, some people don’t. Lucky for us, Roche is one of the ones who knows how. ]


Show page here, video clip here and write-up here


Next Performance – Wednesday, August 6th, 5:30pm


“Virginity, Virginity, Where Did You Go Without Me?”


The Virginity of Astronauts – Electric Telescope – Intermedia Arts


2 Stars – Not Bad, Needs Some Work


That quote is one of the lyrics from the songs. Don’t ask me what it means. I saw the whole show and I have no idea. Much of the show, sadly, makes no logical sense whatsoever. Like “Quantum Odyssey” and “The Cold Dark Matter At Hand” before it, “The Virginity of Astronauts” is another Electric Telescope production that has a lot of intriguing, and even sometimes well-executed elements, but they don’t cohere into any kind of unified whole. It’s as if the different plot strands of the story, and the music, and the visuals were all hatched independent of one another, and then just slammed together at tech rehearsal. There’s a difference between being inscrutable and nonsensical. The line between the two is something “Virginity” crosses, repeatedly, in the wrong direction. I thought this wobbly spaceship might right itself at some point, but the course correction never took hold.


Show page here, video clip here and write-up here


Next Performance – Tonight, Monday August 4th, 7pm


Full reviews of all to follow. Just wanted to help get the word out…


Mom’s Ultra Pass to the Fringe paid for itself halfway through the first show on Sunday. She’s now up to 22 performances of 21 shows (she saw mine – “The Bronze Bitch Flies At Noon” and “Dog Tag” twice, of course, as did I)


Entering his sixth year of blogging about the Minnesota Fringe Festival (and bringing Mom along for the ride as a guest reviewer), Matthew A. Everett is also a local playwright and three-time recipient of grant support from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Information on Matthew and his plays can be found at matthewaeverett.com.

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