by Kate Hoff • July 30, 2008 • 1. The Cody Rivers Show Presents: Stick to Glue presented by the Cody Rivers Show from Bellingham, WA playing at the U of M Rarig Thrust. Andrew and Mike were in town last year, and I saw their show three times. If I said “love, love, love” as many times as I’d like, I’d sound like the crazy person I sat next to on the bus this morning. These guys are brilliant physical sketch comedians, and notice that they have NO warnings for language, violence or sexual content (and yet I still love them). Very sharp, extremely funny, and I caught something new with every viewing. This is easily my most anticipated show of 2008.
2. This is a gut feeling: Stupid Face presented by Courtney Roche at U of M Rarig Xperimental. Courtney rocked her Fringe-for-All preview – she is deeply funny, if not deeply moving. I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s paralysis involved (and that’s a laugh riot in itself).
3. Okay, so if I were to tell you that one half of the Cody Rivers team also has a solo show this year, would you be the happiest person in the whole world, and want to express your joy by doing gazelle leaps across your living room even though it’s ten thousand degrees? Start jumping. Boom presented by IL Productions from Bellingham, WA, showing at the U of M Rarig Arena.
4. Oens presented by Wilson Loria at Interact Center. Wilson, originally from Brazil, currently of Florida, brought his show To the Winners to the Minnesota Fringe in 2006, and it ranks among my favorite Fringe shows, ever. Wilson is an amazing creature, with an otherworldliness that allows him to be extremely successful staging a concept that could be a train wreck in the wrong hands. This show won’t be for everyone. I refused to take my then-boyfriend, now husband Bob to Wilson’s show in 2006, for fear that Bob wouldn’t like it and then I’d have to break up with him.
5. An Intimate Evening with Fotis: Part Two presented by Mike Fotis at Minneapolis Theatre Garage. Maybe you noticed Mike was conspicuously absent from yesterday’s list of people I know, aka Here’s the List of Members of Rockstar Storytellers Who Also Have Other Fringe Shows This Year. I saved the best for last. Mike debuted his solo show in the late-night slot last year (there is no late-night slot this year, thank god), and it was really fucking funny. A seasoned improv actor, I think Mike is even funnier when he’s had a chance to think about what he’s saying. This show is excellent for straight dudes who like to see a funny straight dude talk about stuff (sure to include sports), 20-something chicks who like to see a cute straight guy talk about stuff (sure to include sports), and anyone who likes to laugh.
6. Great American Horror Movie Musical presented by LSD Productions at the Lab Theater. Big gay musical! I actually don’t know about the gay part, but I loved the preview at Fringe-for-All. My deep, thoughtful notes: “Loved it. 80s music? Totally there.”
7. Mortem Capiendum presented by Four Humors Theater at the U of M Rarig Thrust. Dedicated readers are, I’m sure, bored with how I keep bringing up “that one time, when the sweet Jason Ballweber of Four Humors gave us his big table at Bryant-Lake Bowl”, which was like three years ago and demonstrates just how easily ingratiate-able I am. It doesn’t hurt that they consistently turn out interesting, smart, funny shows, year after year. If you think of theater as “going to see a play,” you’ll be very comfortable here. Be prepared: it’s going to be better than most plays you’ve seen.
8. For the kids: Snip, Snap, Snute presented by Alrighty, Then at U of M Rarig Proscenium. I have very little actual theatrical background. My road to alternative theater reviewer was circuitous, and I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my short acting career at Fergus Falls Community College, under the direction of Janet Preus, accomplished writer of this show! I’m trying to work through the crisis of realizing that was more or less exactly TWENTY years ago. Maybe if I would have been more focused over the last two decades, I could have produced a child to take to this show…a kid who would have loved the music and thought the trolls were cool.
9. I have two dance shows tied for number nine. Modern Muses presented by DRP Dance at the Southern Theater and small aïda presented by fellow Fringe board member Penelope Freeh at Jeune Lune. If you don’t know how you feel about dance and you want to see examples of some of the very best, these shows are it. Willowy Sara Stevenson Scrimshaw (no stranger to the Fringe) is one of the quartet of modern muses; petite Penny will be dancing as more of a duet. Not to be missed.
10. Depth of a Moment by Lisa Fay and Jeff Glassman out of Urbana, Illinois, showing at the Lab Theater. I was looking for a little divine inspiration on my final pick…when, like a message from God, but actually a message from the the Nonsense Company (who I adore, and although not in the Fringe this year, will be here soon for a special performance in honor of the RNC), came this endorsement: We don’t even know what to call what they do. Jeff is trained as a mime, Lisa as a dancer and choreographer. But it’s not a mime-meets-dance show; in fact, it hardly resembles either one. It’s more like Charlie Chaplin and Jacques Tati in a blender set on “avant-garde.” Jaw-dropping and seemingly impossible coordinations, illusions that couldn’t possibly work (but do), hilarious and lyrical moments coming from unexpected places… the whole spectrum of human behavior dissected, separated out, recomposed into a unique art form by this pair of veteran virtuosi. There you go. Note that they’re only in town for the first part of the Festival; their last performance is Tuesday!
Kate Hoff is a fundraiser, printmaker, and alternative-theater denizen. Her prints were included in the Visible Fringe show in 2004—also the year she began blogging about the festival. A few years, countless blog entries, and a hundred-some Fringe shows later, Kate joined the Fringe board in early 2008. The views expressed here are hers alone and do not represent the official position of the Fringe (unless noted).