Since I am constantly being asked what people should see and we are only half-way through the festival, here are the recommendations I can give based on having seen 22 shows:
Let’s Have a Damn Good Time
Brain Fighters–For me, the actors’ enthusiasm, sense of play, and commitment to the imaginative premise made this play. Plus there’s the best low-pressure system joke in the entirety of the fringe, perhaps ever.
Our Freaking Kids Show–Manic, crazy, and nonstop. Josh Carson takes a bruising from his physical antics to the point I hope he doesn’t end up in the hospital after the run.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Jekyll–Wins the award for best simulated handjob onstage, and I’ve seen two so far (re: Four Clowns). It also has plenty of heart to please even the coldest, most heartless, fringing bastards.
I Love You (We’re F*#cked)–Kevin J. Thornton’s storytelling is easy, tangential, funny and a little bloody, all done with a perfectly aligned smile.
The Beasts–Ben Egerman takes everything that worked about last year’s Do Not Kill Me, Killer Robots and takes it to the next level.
Yaaarh! The Lusty, Busty Pirate Musical–This show is exactly what it purports to be. And it is awesome.
Tempests–If you’re a Shakespeare and/or Aliens fan, then you are doing yourself a disservice by missing this.
The 612–For Minneapolis lovers, each vignette is well-crafted and shows off the talent of the writers, actors, directors, and artists. Damn fine theatre pieces all around.
Do Not Miss, Would See Again
Cat–Surprising, funny, fringey. To give away anything more would ruin it.
Sousepaw–Tight script and mesmerizing performances–all you could want to please fringers who love a well-crafted theatre piece. Pro-tip: sit in the front or stand in the back, because you’ll want to see everything.
Four Clowns–A disturbingly funny production in which each clown possesses a sharp ability to integrate the unexpected–whether it occurs via audience participation or through their own randomness.
“Whoa, I Know Kung-Fu.”
7 (x1) Samurai–David Gaines doesn’t do kung-fu (that I know of), but a hearty Keanu “whoa” in condensing a 3 1/2 hour film into a coherent and entertaining experience.
Fringe for Thought
Reykjavik–I have no idea where this bubbled up from, Christopher Kehoe, but trying to parse it out intellectually will be a 10-day process in-and-of itself. I went to bed and woke up thinking about it.
FLESH–Dance that plays with the brain’s interpretation mechanisms to deliver a creepy Cronenberg/Lynch-like experience. I’m also interpreting one piece as a cautionary tale about the dangers of becoming involved in an online fetish community.
Green Eyes–Jaime Paige and Matt Rein deliver nuanced, pitch-perfect performances that titillate, provoke, and threaten.
Power Lunch–Sexual politics and identity cause confusion for all involved–in the best possible way.
Haven’t seen, but…
The Buzz Builds
Callahan and Lingo presents: The Last Ditch–I love these two, and everyone else does too. Looking forward to them on Tuesday night.
Red Resurrected–Ballad of the Pale Fisherman was one of those beautiful shows that you wish your theatre-hating cousin would come and see so you can gloat about the awesomeness of live performance. I’m hearing Red Resurrected delivers on the quality front.
MacBeth: The Video Game Remix–I saw the original run and loved it, and the strong word-of-mouth surrounding the remount is going to drive me back.
Hamluke–I’ve been looking forward to this and wish now that I’d added it in earlier to my schedule, because everyone has told me it’s hilariously good.
Highlander: The Musical!–I’m bringing some non-fringe goers to this, because from what I’ve seen and heard already, it is a crowd-pleaser.
Edit: I’ve posted more recommendations here.