Tommy’s picks Minnesota Fringe Festival 2011 Part 1


Tommy has started his annual wrap up of the Fringe. Here is part one:

Hi, everyone! This is Tommy Gennaula here, giving you my picks for the ten best shows at the Fringe this year. Please note that, unlike previous years, I will not be ranking them from 10, 9, 8 all the way down to 1. Instead, I’m just going to select 10 of the best shows I saw at the Fringe this year and give you my pick for the best one(s). Also note that, since I am a teen now, I was able to see some shows that were rather adult and not suitable for children. So without further ado, my picks for this year’s festival!

The Duties and Responsibilities of Being a Sidekick – This show is about a sidekick named Barrel Man, sidekick to Gentleman Li, a famous superhero who likes to use his fame to attract the women. Barrel Man is a great crime fighter, possibly even better than Gentleman Li himself, but he’s kind of awkward when it comes to women. Like, really awkward. The show is very funny, the actors are great, and the action scenes are awesome, but I can’t help but feel that the story is kind of predictable – they give one too many clues about a major plot twist, and it isn’t anything that you haven’t seen before. Still, it’s charms far outweigh it’s faults.

Damn You Auto Caress! – This is a show about (fictional) teenagers’ lives being affected by Auto-Correct, that annoying pain-in-the-butt feature that seems to be on every cellphone these days (hence the auto-corrected title). The show’s main focus is on a focus group talking to each other about how their lives have been ruined by Auto-Correct (to quote the preachy counselor, “I am powerless against the Auto-Correct”). The teens’ stories feel bitter (the good kind, but still not my type), but the little bits that are in-between stories and a sequence involving an Auto-Corrected narrator are genius. Overall, it’s worth seeing, even if you aren’t a big fan of the bitter humor of the show.

The Smothers Brothers Grimm – From Joshua Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen, creators of the Fringe hit ‘The Harty Boys’ comes this wonderful comedic gem. On the eve of his grandfather’s funeral, Milton’s parents come to tell him some fairy tales, but he ends up telling the stories himself – Grandpa’s way, which is old-school comedy such as Bob Newhart, Laurel and Hardy, and Buster Keaton. Even if I’ve never seen – only heard of – an episode of ‘I Love Lucy’, it was still immensely enjoyable. The ‘Hansel and Gretel’ sequence, the ‘Bob Newhart being a 911 operator to the 3 little bears’ scene and the lovable drunk uncle (just wait until you see the smart-ass alarm) are absolute genius. Overall, it’s another great show from Scrimshaw and Weinhagen – just as good as ‘The Harty Boys’, if not more.

Brain Fighters – This show is the story of 3 people from a world that is similar to ours, except for the bad words in their world that are perfectly okay in ours (e.g. gelato, diorama, and the worst one of all, pants) and the fact that their citizens can use ‘brain magic’ – the ability to become something by imagining it. When the actors turn into something, the really become the object in question – whenever it’s a T-rex, a rubber duck, and one of those inflatable balloon people that randomly blow around in the wind. All and all, it’s a downright hilarious and very imaginative show that is absolutely worthy of your attention.