Fringe top 10—#2: No Refunds Theatre Co.


by Matthew A. Everett • July 18, 2008 • I’m coming late to this party. After all, No Refunds Theatre already had quite a following for its Fringe hit “Kung Fu Hamlet.” And they amused the hell out of me at last year’s Fringe fundraiser, Five Fifths of The Wizard of Oz. But after seeing two really great No Refunds productions in less than six months (Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, and What’s Done In The Dark), I am a convert. A late arrival to the party to doesn’t want to leave. The great thing about the new No Refunds Fringe show? It’s a remounting of the show that won me over in the first place, and one I’m very excited to share with Mom…

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War

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.

Yes, that is the menacing visage of Charlie Bethel in the publicity photo. He may have moved to Philly, but his spirit still hangs out at the Fringe with us, in that he adapted the classic military text for the stage with director Matt Dawson.

“The 3,000 year old manual on War’s practice and philosophy. Used throughout history by generals and businessmen with ruthlessly effective results, ignored by countless administrations with ruthlessly not-so-effective results. Now on stage! And Funny! There will also be a mambo.”

Just like their first painfully hilarious outing in October at the Bryant Lake Bowl, this Fringe show will be working on two levels

low brow slapstick

high brow political satire

Perfect for kicking back and enjoying the inanity

Perfect for political convention season

You can choose how you want to enjoy it, but enjoy it you will.

A narrator wryly intones the text while a chorus of three ninjas perform interpretative sketches illustrating the strategic points being made.

The only thing I missed in my previous 5-star review was the mambo.

Oh, the mambo.

Interpretive dance was never so delightful before.

Everything I loved about the show before, I will doubtless love again. I can’t wait to revisit it, and share it with Mom. How can I be so sure? After seeing these guys in action, I know they don’t do anything halfway. This is gonna be one helluva good time – smart comedy, expertly executed.

I count recount again all the reasons I love it, and why I’m really excited to get to see it again, but I’ve already gotten that out of my system – you can read my effusive praise here. The cast may or may not have changed a bit, but the high points will all hold true. Trust me.

As the No Refunds website says, “For more information on Sun Tzu or the Art of War, visit your local library, or ask your mom.”

You can learn more about them and follow their antics year round on their website

Very Highly Recommended

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War

U of M Rarig Center Proscenium
330 – 21st Avenue South Minneapolis

Sunday, August 3, 10pm
Tuesday, August 5, 8:30pm
Thursday, August 7, 7pm
Friday, August 8, 8:30pm
Saturday, August 9, 10pm

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