Fringe Report: July 31, 2008

fringe2008.pngI had ambitious plans for the first night of the Minnesota Fringe Festival. I had four shows to see, one in each time slot. I picked four shows all playing in/around Cedar-Riverside. I thought about driving over with my bike, getting parked in one spot, and riding around the rest of the night. Despite the fact that there was nary a cloud in the sky, I let four separate weather reports of isolated thunderstorms scare me out of biking. That and I haven’t checked my lights in a while and was in a hurry to get out of the door.

But anyway, you want to know how I liked the shows I saw.

Reincarnation: Another Chance at Failure by Rampleseed
Don’t let that picture scare you, there’s no actual nudity (or if you like that sort of thing, don’t let it disappoint you). I liked this one better than I thought I would. Their Fringe-for-All preview was the very first scene of their show and while it was entertaining, it doesn’t do the show justice, but there’s no way you could know that because you have to see the whole thing for it to make sense. It didn’t fully hit me until after it was over how the title really was reflective of the content. So anyway, the first few scenes are kind of “enh?” but as the show builds on itself and the same themes and scenes are revisited, it becomes more and more entertaining. So don’t be late to this one. Recommended!

59 Minutes ‘Til the End by Steve Anderson
My girlfriend, in trying to explain Fringe to a friend of hers, said that sometimes there’s bad content with great acting and sometimes there’s great content with bad acting. This was an example with the latter. I really wanted to like this show. It’s a decent concept: guy realizes he’s at his own funeral and then goes through a whole series of “how did I get here?” and “am I okay with this?” questions. There were some pretty good one-liners (“This is not Como Zoo!”). I actually found Steve himself to be distracting. I’d probably be really freaked if I somehow found myself consciously attending my own funeral, but there’s gotta be a better way to convey that than by panting, slapping yourself in the forehead, and constant shuffling. For 49 minutes. I wanted to yell at him to please stand still for a minute. This show was so close, but not quite there for me. A for effort, though. See it if you’ve got a time slot to kill.

Stimulate This! by Mad Munchkin Productions
This one edged out Reincarnation as my favorite show of the night. Clever, good acting, lots of props, and anything that starts with a puppet impersonation of George W. Bush is right up my alley. It’s a series of sketches about how people spend their stimulus checks. Some are hilarious. Some are embarrassingly accurate. Some are really sad. I was surprised by the serious nature of some of it; in retrospect it made it a much better show. Recommended!

I popped into Fringe Central at the Bedlam Theater. You wouldn’t exactly know it’s Fringe Central, as that implies some level of busyness. The bathrooms are a dead giveaway, though. The Bedlam does have Fringe shows playing, so there’s the usual box office table and I believe the theater is upstairs. It was pretty quiet in the middle of the evening, probably because people were out seeing shows. I’m guessing it might have perked up a bit after the last show of the night. I mosied up to the bar and ordered some sweet potatoes fries to go (they were decent). Everyone’s friendly enough, though, so just ask if you’re looking for something.

Also, for whatever reason, I’m really fond of the Rarig Center. It looks like a dorm inside, but I enjoy that there are several different types of theaters in there and they’re named accordingly and so now I actually know what the difference is between a thrust and a proscenium (mostly). I also realize that this is no different from, say, the Guthrie, but going into the Rarig Center for Fringe makes it seem so much more accessible.

3 Comments so far

  1. Fringe in the news for August 1 « Minnesota Fringe staff blog (pingback) on August 1st, 2008 @ 11:27 am

    […] Metblog: Fringe report: July 31: Erica’s roundup o’ […]

  2. Daily Fringe #2 « Minnesota Fringe staff blog (pingback) on August 1st, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

    […] Metblog: Fringe report: July 31: Erica’s roundup o’ […]

  3. pfhyper on August 1st, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

    Thanks for the reviews, Erica. Very helpful. I hope we can catch Stimulate This! Like I tweeted, quit your job and review them all for us.

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