Wallabies, misfit toys, and a houseplant


by Wendy Gennaula | 8/8/09 • Whew! Only two days remaining. I’m exhilarated from seeing so many shows but sad that I can’t see everything. There is no possible way I will collect an entire set of “Rockstar Storyteller” trading cards. I will miss about five musicals that I really wanted to see. We never made it to the Ritz! Oh well. Chris and Tommy are going to see Jurassic Dork this afternoon while I catch up on my blog backlog. (Tony is devoting his afternoon to video games.) Tonight-Crescendo, Slow Jobs, and maybe Rumspringa the Musical!

Friday night we began with Alliteral Selection: Tales of a Wayward Wallaby. Tommy found the subject interesting. He was glad he saw it. But I found myself watching the clock cruelly placed on the wall just to my left. I could hear the voice of the old Wednesday night Roundtable at the Playwrights’ Center : “Don’t tell us, show us!” 75% of the play is a woman at a desk reading newspaper articles. The true story of Wally and Wanda the Wallaby and their adventure in Zumbrota has the potential to be many things-a great tale for a one person storytelling show, a folksy Prairie Home Companion style multi-character play, or a family musical . Of course, now I’m breaking the PWC’s other rule: “Give comments-not rewrites”.

good to momma is the blog of wendy gennaula, one of seven bloggers covering the minnesota fringe festival for the daily planet.

Next up was Horace Greeley the Lesser: On the Isle of Misfit Toys. This dark and twisty picaresque adventure back to the isle of Rudolph fame is one of my fringe favorites this year. There is only show remaining this afternoon at 4:00 PM. It is one of those shows that the adults will enjoy just as much as the children. Packed with literary and movie references from the likes of the Wizard of Oz, Clockwork Orange, Winnie the Pooh and Gulliver’s Travels to mention a few. The original songs could stand alone but also keep the story moving forward. The opening song which states “I am and I am not what I thought” is a laundry list of contradictions :”I’m a meat-eating vegetarian” , “I’m an expired infinity”.

J. Roth who also wrote the show, played Horace and the army of characters that inhabit the story. He also played many instruments along with the indispensable Paul Cameron and Ryan Murphy. Percussion instruments, tin sheets, trumpets, washtub bass. But basically, Horace is a one man storytelling show with music. Sometimes sweet, sometimes silly, always sharp, Roth takes the audience on a great ride.

After two shows at Augsburg we hiked across the street to the Rarig for Untitled Duet with a Houseplant by Noah Bremer. Tommy chose this show after seeing Bremer play the hilarious gym teacher in Sideways Stories from the Wayside School. Tommy loved every moment of Houseplant. Bremer inhabits the body of the world’s tallest eleven year old. Plus, he handed out free snacks. What’s not to love?
Bremer told the audience he didn’t have time to finish his fringe show. I believed him-the first half of the show meandered. Although charming and playful, the games were beginning to wilt when he got to the meat of the show, the promised “duet with a houseplant”. This is when the shenanigans began to germinate into a full-fledged show. We left the Rarig with a smile.

Wendy Gennaula is a singer and actress in the Twin Cities. She is the mother of two extraordinary Fringelings.

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