Minnesota Fringe Festival: School of Rhythm at the Rarig Proscenium

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SHOW TITLE: School of Rhythm

PRODUCER: Elephant Games Productions

HAILING FROM: Minneapolis

SHOW DESCRIPTION: A few ground rules: don’t be late, keep your pencil sharp, most importantly, don’t lose the beat! Experience food fights, secret handshakes, and other topics not covered on the exam in School of Rhythm!

Reviewing youth shows is always a perilous endeavor: as someone with extensive background in youth theater, I’m a great believer in holding it to a critical standard. There are many who are inclined to shower any youth production with praise, and view criticism of it as being in poor taste, and I’m one of those inclined to view this attitude as one the Things That Are Destroying America and Art (TM).

Which is why a youth show like this one is such a relief, because it’s both effortlessly impressive and enjoyable. It’s good enough that I get to sidestep the whole debate.

It posits itself as a kind of next-gen Breakfast Club, taking place during a school day with only the barest trappings of a plot. Games of pat-a-cake and dodgeball, the study of iambic pentameter – these all become jumping-off points for rhythmic and physical business. Frankly, it’s impossible not to be impressed by the sheer amount of youth, athleticism, and vitality that leaps, rolls, and flips across the stage.

Not really directly relevant to this show, but something it caused me to think about: while I’ve long been aware of the mainstreaming of both hip-hop and geek culture, I was not cognizant of the degree to which they were blending – but if this show is any kind of fair representation, the next generation makes no real distinction, and hip-hop is something that lives easily and unironically alongside Monty Python and Star Wars references.

It’s pretty fun, is what I’m saying.

Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!

 

phillip andrew bennett low is a Chinese-American playwright and poet, storyteller and mime, theatre critic and libertarian activist. His performances have won acclaim from Minneapolis to Chicago, DC to LA — even as far as Melbourne, Australia. He is the co-founder of the Rockstar Storytellers and was founder and producer of the touring theatre troupe Maximum Verbosity. He has published a book of political humor, Indecision Now! A Libertarian Rage, and will be presenting his own show in the 2015 Minnesota Fringe Festival, The Secret Book of Jesus.

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