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2018 Audience Reviews

Member Reviews

The following reviews were submitted by Fringe Member: Ariel López

Company: The Minnesota SkyVault Theatre Company
Show: Night Sets Her Foot In Morocco
Venue: Rarig Center Arena

The Future of the Fringe

I don't normally see theater done by the young'uns, but after an certain show involving Denmark and poultry was sold out, I had a slot to fill... And what a delightful, absurdist, entertaining romp. They did an impressive job with a tricky script, and weren't intimidated by dealing with surly adults and dragging us up on stage; some of the best moments were the performers improving with the audience. I had a few issues here and there, but overall it was a ton of fun... Utterly bonkers and nonsensical, but fun. I really hope to see this group in the future.


Company: Concrete Drops
Show: Inescapable
Venue: Augsburg Mainstage

If Sorkin Wrote a Twilight Zone Episode...

...it might be something like Inescapable. I want to gush about way this script works, but I also don't want to give away too much. It's paced perfectly which I think is tricky with the concept. Both actors are fantastic, and give a performance that balances comedic energy with a distinct sense of unease. Pretty please go see Inescapable.


Company: Erin Sheppard Presents
Show: Book of Shadows
Venue: Theatre in the Round

Bewitching (seewhatIdidthere?)

I don't know much about dance, so can't comment on the choreography or technique... but what I can say is that I love the way Erin Sheppard builds these little dark narratives through dance (to some inspired musical choices), and I loved the staging in the round. The pieces each had intelligible stories, and they really connected with Ruler's monologues/spells. I do wish Ruler had been off book, which marred an otherwise engaging performance.


Company: Sidecar Theatre
Show: Summers in Prague
Venue: Rarig Center Arena

Bizarrely sweet

I had to be talked into this show, because from the postcard and preview I thought it would be more about just titillating the audience... How wrong I was. Summers in Prague is an oddly beautiful story about human connection and vulnerability, with lovely acting and great use of the arena space. Small house, so worth reserving a ticket for this one.


Company: Deacon Gamzee Productions
Show: ILLINOIS BOY BLUES
Venue: Augsburg Studio

Compelling Performance...

... But the script and direction needed some work. Muhammad has amazing physical presence and strong voice (speaking or singing) - if that's enough to sell you, go see this show. The script is rather meandering and unfocused, and the seemingly arbitrary blocking and technical cues don't really help the audience follow along.


Company: Tom Reed
Show: Gunplay!
Venue: Mixed Blood Theatre

Funny but not Challenging Satire

I've been struggling for how to frame this review fairly - I enjoyed the show, I really did... Reed, Anderson, and especially Phelps gave stellar performances, and the ensemble hits all the musical, emotional and comedic notes. But I felt that although the NRA stand-in is deservedly taken to task, they're a bit of an easy target (no pun intended), and having the protagonist a conflicted member of the group works for the story, but not as much for the social commentary. It's a very well-written, clever script, but it wasn't as clever satire.


Company: Literally Entertainment
Show: The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist or, Ocean's 'Eh'T?: A Musical
Venue: Mixed Blood Theatre

Silly Fringy Fun

Catchy tunes, crisp lyrics, and stirring vocal harmonies make me want to move to Canada. The caper plot takes a bit of a back seat to the comedic antics, but that's just fine since the talented cast does a great job with the material. There were some directing issues including poor use of the thrust stage, but still just a fun show.


Company: Hit the Lights! Theater Co.
Show: WHALES
Venue: Ritz Theater Mainstage

Utterly Infectious Energy

Magical shadow puppetry, beautiful traditional shanties and raucous punk. I'm not sure the history lessons were quite as successful, but they were told with such panache that they transported the audience along. I'm pretty sure I was wearing a grin for the whole hour (even through they do veer into the dark and gory details of whaling). Unique and incredible show.


Company: Life-sized Meme Productions
Show: The Moirologist
Venue: Ritz Theater Mainstage

Clunky

A big part of my issue with the show is I just don't find "complete asshole becomes slightly less of an asshole" to be a compelling storyline, and the play's exploration of how we cope with death is inextricably tied to that backdrop. Belabored awkward dialogue didn't help, and the most compelling performance was by the actor who had the least stage time (Consamus).


Company: Oncoming Productions
Show: Geminae
Venue: Southern Theater

...

I don't want to give too much away, but I had literal chills and goosebumps. (Literal literal, not figurative literal... Y'know?). Strong technical elements combine with a haunting script to make a very memorable show. Must see.


Company: FredPictures
Show: The Breakfast Club: The Musical!
Venue: Southern Theater

Just didn't work

The concept really had promise, but I was disappointed in the execution. Most of the songs lacked real hooks, and dialogue from the film was forced into musical lines that didn't quite fit. Most troubling for me, the show had asked real tone problems: the movie addresses some uncomfortable themes... and some of these were reflected in the play with real gravitas, and others were just glossed over with a toss away line over peppy music. Some great vocal performances and isolated great moments were not enough to redeem the show. I really wanted to like this one, but it just didn't work.


Company: Martin Dockery
Show: Martin Dockery: Delirium
Venue: Rarig Center Thrust

All the feels

If you've seen Martin Dockery, you know you should see this show. If you haven't seen him before, he's difficult to capture in words. He tells stories with every inch of his body, and is one of the most engaging storytellers I've ever seen. I think Dockery is probably known best for his comedy, but every range of human emotion is on display here... Come to this show to laugh, stay to cry and rage and everything else.


Company: Impossible Salt
Show: The Member of Some Gods
Venue: Casket Arts Building

Weird and Wonderful.

I thoroughly enjoyed this show. Experimental music and movement based walking interactive theater, that isn't afraid to just be silly and fun while exploring mythic understanding of death. What's not to love about that? I found the music captivating and perfect for the show. I thought Impossible Salt absolutely nailed the extent they could ask for audience participation without asking too much (although the person I saw the show with said she wanted more audience decision-making and clarity of when they wanted audience's action). There were a few moments early on when the space in the hallways prevented any part of the audience from experiencing everything going on; this contributed to a feeling of slow pace in the first third or so of the show. This isn't going to be for everyone, but go in with an open mind and I think you'll enjoy it.


Company: Mainly Me Productions
Show: A Justice League of Their Own
Venue: Theatre in the Round

Campy social/politcal fun

Very funny, very campy satire. If you aren't a fan of superhero media (films especially), you'll miss a few of the jokes, but superhero savviness is by no means required to enjoy the show. The script was filled with great material, but unfortunately, I think there was a little too much of it, and so a lot of the show felt rushed - I missed a number of lines because the performers either spoke during the audience's laughter or over each other. Still a lot of fun, a lot of incisive commentary, and even some heartfelt emotion.


Company: Elaine Orion
Show: Delightfully Rude
Venue: Ritz Theater Studio

Some great moments, some less great filler

Elaine Orion has some amazing one-liners; she was at her best when more freely riffing rather delivering her scripted jokes. Overall, it seemed like she didn't really have enough material to fill out the hour show, and there were some decided lulls in her patter. I think that some of her material probably plays less edgy and transgressive in hippie mpls than the small town dive bars she talks about. It was a funny show, but needed some work, or to be trimmed a bit.


Company: Mermaid Productions
Show: Have You Seen This Girl?
Venue: Hard Times Cafe

Thoughtful, Emotional, Complex

No easy answers are given in "Have you Seen this Girl?"a literal exploration of the West Bank as a home for runaways. Very well performed and staged, if that's the right word. We are pulled in and implicated in the search for Annie, which heightens some decidedly uncomfortable moments and themes (not a criticism, but be aware of it). My only small critiques: Even with only 20 people (reserve your tickets or get there real early, folks), the audience might have been too large for the intimacy of the show, different peoples walking speeds, etc.. Second, I think Leaf could have used the walking time a little better by varying the conversion instead of asking the same question to multiple audience members. I left feeling unsettled, but glad I saw the show.


Company: Navel Gaze Productions
Show: Fringe Orphans 4: Back in the Habit
Venue: Theatre in the Round

By Fringers, for Fringers

I think most people who have this on their schedule probably know what they're getting into... Some pieces work, others don't, which is kinda the point. If you're a Fringe regular, you'll probably enjoy this one... Seeing familiar faces with half-baked or in-progress concepts is a lot of fun. Just maybe don't bring that one friend who thinks they're a theater person, but only sees one play a year at the Guthrie (you know the one), when you're trying to convince them to see Fringe shows.


Company: Gabriel Mata/Movements
Show: DREAMING
Venue: Southern Theater

Power, grace, a sprinkling of silly and anxiety

Minnesota audiences are notoriously quiet, so when a performer can elicit (even subdued Minnesotan) gasps and murmurs peppered throughout the show, you know they're something special. To my dance-ignorant eyes, Mata's movement was a really impressive blend of strength and fluidity, and I would recommend Dreaming for that alone... But what really makes the show is the blend with Mata's narration, toying with the themes of dreaming, restlessness, and nightmares. Moving, serious, and terrifying at times; silly and fun at others, Mata is equally as engaging and believable when he lets us share his anxieties and self-doubt as he is when he's showing us how much he takes joy in dance. Don't miss this one.


Company: Colleen Somerville Productions
Show: Not Fair, My Lady!
Venue: Mixed Blood Theatre

Who says feminists aren't funny?

I saw this on the first night, and there was just a teensy bit of rough spots and small miscues. Overall this was a great watch, and very funny - a pastiche of personal monologue, staged bits, and medleys highlighting common problematic tropes in musicals. Most of the material approached the topics thoughtfully but without sacrificing passionate opinions; even where were a few rather obvious jokes, the strong cast was able to sell it. Highly recommend seeing this show.


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