One Girl, Two Cities

MN Fringe Day 1: Mini Reviews

Abeyance by Tyler West
Tyler needs a job, and on this day he happens to have a job interview lined up. While he’s waiting for the interview to start, he’ll take you on a series of adventures, some fantasy and some potentially real…

Here’s what to expect from this show: you’ll start laughing while the stage is still dark and the first sound effect goes live. Tyler isn’t even on stage. And then you’ll continue laughing for an hour. At one point, I was crying from laughing so hard.

Tyler does it all in Abeyance, and it’s comedy at its finest. He provides sound effects for every action and imaginary prop, and he builds images in your mind literally out of thin air. At one point, he’s a knight in shining armor attempting to rescue a damsel in distress. At another, he’s grappling with a vending machine and water cooler. The show is packed with amazing attention to detail right down to lighting and sound effects, and it’s the kind of comedy that’s so brilliant you might not even realize to what extent because Tyler makes it look effortless. Go see this show. You will not regret it.

*If you’re a fellow Minnesotan, it’s my duty to warn you (I mean, aside from the fact that it’s listed under Genre and Content on the show’s page) that a couple people from the audience will be selected to briefly participate, however… Tyler is so naturally charming and fun that it’s easy to follow his lead and play along, and it makes the show that much better. I had the pleasure of joining him onstage for a dance, and I felt (nearly) completely at ease.

African Roads, American Streets by Universal Dance Destiny
From traditional drumming and dancing to modern beat boxing and breakdancing, there is no lack of quality content in this show. Even little cutie pie kids take the stage at one point, and they help show how traditional dancing can translate to breakdancing.

The one thing I found lacking was the level of engagement. When performers come on stage to greet each other, or when there’s a dance battle, they interact but in that faux “we’re filming a movie and there’s a dance party but no music” kind of way. I’d love to hear them banter aloud and cheer each other on, and in turn encourage the audience to cheer on the performers. This ended up happening during the last song of the show when all of the performers shared the stage, and they got the audience on their feet and clapping along to the music.

There’s something special about a show where the audience and performers can share energy; if you’ve attend a Bollywood Dance Scene show then you know what I mean. More engagement would have made this just a little more fun, but I 100% recommend seeing it regardless.

The Buttslasher by New Endeavors
This cheeky “neo-noir melodrama” takes place in our very own Stillwater, MN, where a serial buttslasher is on the loose, and it’s up to the town detective who’s been around for years, and his young, fresh-from-Chicago partner to solve the case. The butt jokes are bountiful, and I’m genuinely impressed with how many they were able to work into the show. It moves along at a nice pace, and it didn’t end how I expected it would. If you’re looking for a tongue-in-cheek crime-solving play, The Buttslasher is for you.

My 4 Bodies by Nightfox Stage Productions
Patricia Fox has put love and thought into this show, and Erin Roberts beautifully performs her memoir. Living with both diabetes and multiple sclerosis, Patricia has struggled to love herself as well as allow herself to be loved because of the challenges these conditions present. We hear from her four bodies – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – and prominent times in her life when each body has in turn shaped who she is today. Some are funny, some are sad, all are thought-provoking. It’s very well structured and will prompt you to think about your own life and how you feel about your own four bodies. Are yours aligned with each other, or do they pull you in different directions? If it’s the latter, how can you reconcile this conflict? Patricia/Erin just might give you some insight into figuring that out.
Also check out this interview with Erin.

The Minnesota Fringe Festival runs through August 12. Learn more at www.minnesotafringe.org

Also see:

Cherry and Spoon

Single White Fringe Geek

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