Ten Reasons, The Problem (with) Your Mother’s Butt, Sousepaw, and Nightmare in Bakersfield at the Minnesota Fringe Festival


I was lukewarm on Ten Reasons Why I’d be a Bad Porn Star by May Lee-Yang at Intermedia Arts. Parts of the show worked really well. I love the Hmong culture bits that she does, but also realize that May shouldn’t be relegated to writing and performing about Hmong culture (and specifically the funny parts) exclusively. Check it out for yourself – some explicit sexual content. Saturday at 2:30 and Sunday at 7.

The Problem (with) Your Mother’s Butt is two one-act plays that are perfectly nice. The Problem is the winner; I found Your Mother’s Butt to be a bit too uncomfortably shrieky. But both are solid pieces with great acting. I was distracted by the blow up and beanbag chairs. Did they go out and buy them for the set, or did someone have them sitting around the house? And if so, why? I am plagued with questions and running commentary. It’s like living with Sybil. See the show (but not the one in my head) at HUGE Friday at 4, Saturday at 10, and Sunday at 4.

Hmm. I just realized that the Fringe elves have added a feature to the fringefestival.org website: readers can now indicate whether they found a review helpful. It will be interesting to see how this works out…

Sousepaw: A Baseball Story by the Shelby Company is easily one of the top dramas in the festival this year. The hype is warranted; this is a truly excellent show portraying a brief interaction between two desperate and used-up people. The character Rube Waddell is based on an actual person. (I made the effort to read the Wikipedia entry on Waddell prior to seeing the show; it wasn’t entirely necessary, as the playwright seemed to rely heavily on that material in creating the character.) Absolutely top notch acting. It is true that much of the interaction takes place on the floor of the stage, which is nearly impossible to see beyond the first couple rows.  They were front loaded: only one show left: Sunday at 2:30. Make reservations, or keep your fingers crossed for the HUGE Encore slot…

I ended the night with Les Kurkendaal’s show Nightmare in Bakersfield at HUGE. Les comes in from LA every year, and honestly, it just wouldn’t be Fringe without Les. Les has a particular style of comedic storytelling that is really sweet, though I recognize that it may not be appealing to everyone. Casual, chatty, intimate, charming – don’t expect a fancy polished show; grab a beer and pretend that Les is sitting next to you, rather than standing on a stage. In this story, Les talks about a trip to his boyfriend’s class reunion in Bakersfield, California – where no one knows he’s gay.  Oh oh. Wednesday at 7, Friday at 10 and Sunday at 1.