“Once Upon a Time in the Suburbs”: The wild Midwest at the Minnesota Fringe Festival

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In my Vita.mn Fringe preview, I called Ferrari McSpeedy’s Once Upon a Time in the Suburbs “serious satiric stuff,” having been under the impression that the show was based on some actual story and engaged serious issues of gender discrimination. Nah. It’s just fun—and a hell of a lot of fun, at that.

The show tells the very fictional story of the very fictional would-be-incorporated town of Womansburg, Illinois in the 1890s. The all-female population (that is, five) task themselves with defending the town from a trio of male marauders led by Gary Indiana, while winning the governor’s blessing for official incorporation.

The tight script skips along from one entertaining episode to the next, but it’s the cast’s characterizations that really make this show a standout. Though Saturday’s performance was marred by a couple of apparent stumbles with dialogue, the actors have enormous fun with their absurdly one-note characters. The show’s inventive use of simple props earns a lot of laughs, and the show never sags. This is comedy in the best Fringe tradition. Give yourself a treat and check it out.