Theater note: You’re No Fun


Do you want Twin Cities firebrand Bedlam Theatre at its best? Talk such triumphs as Terminus. To Shining Sea. And Savannah Reich’s You’re No Fun, the killer musical running at the Minnesota Fringe Festival only until Aug. 9th. Second time around for this hit. Take the hint. Get a ticket.

Bedlam’s trademark is theatre of the absurd like nobody’s business and You’re No Fun follows perfect suit. It ran in spring on home ground at Bedlam Theatre to cataracts of applause and rave reviews. And is at this year’s Fringe and, little as critics are to be trusted, they got this one right. Go to the restroom before you sit down to watch You’re No Fun or you’re liable to have an accident.

Ace playwright Savannah Reich’s strong blend of wit, grit and scathing comment spare no sacred cows. It’s got a simple premise — a somewhat Bob Dylanish hobo comes back in off the road to find that an ex has done the unthinkable and a written a musical about his life. What the mind of Reich does with this is hilarity to nth degree as she lampoons the very idea of doing a musical. And does it, of course, with a musical (fine score by Phil Bratnober).

Why do we do theatre? Don’t we have anything better to do with our time? Who are we trying to impress with all this, anyways? Be ready when the answers to these questions send you into hysterics — as they have you laughing at ways in which we all put on airs.

Here’s a sample of some of the hero Will’s dialogue. “I like eating the hell out of a really good sandwich. One time in Philly, we dumpstered all this turkey bacon and ate BLT’s on the roof of this squat and watched the sunrise. It was awesome. And that’s the thing – if I told Annabel that story, she’d be all like, ‘That is so interesting. You are so interesting.’ And I’m like, ‘Get over it, you pretentious artiste – I had a sandwich.'”

It’s all masterfully directed in typical freewheeling Bedlam by Samantha Johns, who has a strong grasp of the material and a skilled hand with a top-notch cast. Bedlam artistic director tells me Savannah Reich and Samantha Johns are the wave of Bedlam Theatre’s future. If that’s the case, its legacy of zany social and political truth-telling is in excellent hands. At the University of Minnesota’s Rarig Theater, Thrust Stage Friday, August 8 @ 10:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 9 @ 1:00 p.m.