And I had a marvelous time. As a Minnesota super-theater-goer, I know that we have an abundance of talent in this town, but it's never more apparent than at the Fringe Fest. I saw a huge variety of shows - musicals, plays, comedies, dramas, stand-up, spoken word, dance, clowning, improv - and almost all 25 were enjoyable. Several of them I absolutely loved, and many I liked immensely. But mostly I was once again impressed at the level and depth of talent and creativity we are lucky enough to have in this local theater community.
In summary, it was a whirlwind 25 shows in 8 days, but it was amazing and well worth the sleep lost and vacation hours spent. From my vantage point, the fest was once again extremely well-organized and impeccably run, thanks to the Fringe employees and many volunteers. And the lines, traffic, and parking were not even that bad. I love the Fringe Fest, and I can't wait until next year!
Here are just a few of the shows that I loved the most. You can read what I thought about all 25 by clicking the link at the bottom of the post.
- Expiration Date: a one-woman show about a young woman facing a diagnosis of terminal cancer, featuring one of the best performances I saw in the Fringe - Candy Simmons, who also wrote the piece.
- Four Humors' Lolita: A Three Man Show: a clever, hilarious, well-written, and well-performed adaptation of the infamous movie/book. It's obvious a lot of thought went into this wonderfully ridiculous show.
- Hello Stranger: the best original music I heard at the Fringe (by local musician/composer Blake Thomas), a charming host, and a delightful experience of human relationships.
- Shelly Bachberg Presents: How Helen Keller and Anne Frank Freed the Slaves: The Musical: a fantastic cast of local musical theater actors, smartly written political satire, great original songs, and fabulous costumes.
- Teenage Misery: The Horror Musical: a fun and clever new musical that mashed the stories of Carrie, Misery, Sweeney Todd, and Bye Bye Birdie, featuring a young cast chock full of raw talent.
- The Unknown Matters: a quiet and lovely musical about two friends exploring the grand ideas of the universe while navigating earthly matters like friendship and snacks.
- These Old Shoes: an aesthetically and emotionally beautiful tale of love lost and found, in Transatlantic Love Affair's trademark physical theater style.
- They Called Her Captain: the one show I saw that is begging to be extended into a full-length play, because the material about a woman who becomes a captain in the army in WWII is so rich. Bonus - it's a true story, and the woman and many other characters are portrayed by her real-life daughter.