In my three years covering the Fringe, I’ve seen my share of Minnesota-related shows that end up being just another cliche. I started to suspect that RT + MPLS: The Legend of RT Rybak was going to be a more interesting experience than the corny show I was expecting when (the real) RT Rybak walked into the New Century Theatre with his mom and his bike wearing a rainbow-colored Minnesota belt. I was pleasantly surprised with just how well done the show is.
The 50-minute show is a personification of RT Rybak’s “love affair” with Minneapolis, who he adores from the “Stonearches of her heels to the Spoon and Cherries in her eyes”. With the help of her brother, St. Paul, RT gets the idea to run for mayor to win her love. Through his 12 years of pampering, he finally win’s Minneapolis’ heart.
The personification of St. Paul, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Duluth I thought would run the risk of being annoying in the way stereotypes are, but Heather Meyer as Minnesota and Duluth and Michael Krefting as St. Paul and also the puppet of “proxy” RT are phenomenal. RT + MPLS is just jam-packed with puns. But being a lover of puns, I couldn’t get enough. The writing is so well crafted that I found myself entertained through and through. The story is predictable in the way that RT has become predictable in his way of creating his image (crowdsurfing, tweeting Duluth, etc), but that’s why we love him.
The production is a testament to Rybak and his impact on the city of Minneapolis. It’s better than your average “make fun of Minnesota” show, and even more, all proceeds are going to AchieveMPLS Step-Up.