Saturday, August 9, 2014

Fringe Festival: "Hour Town"

Day: 7

Show: 22

Title: Hour Town

Category: Comedy

By: Dana's Boys

Created by: Dana's Boys

Location: Music Box Theatre

Summary: A condensed version of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, set in Minnesota with Garrison Keillor as the stage manager.

Highlights: This show is littered with Minnesota references, which I love. Everything from Joe Mauer's bilateral leg weakness to Jesse Ventura's recent court win, from Paul Bunyon to Little House on the Prairie, from pedal pubs to a list of Minnesota-made movies. But that's not the only thing that makes Hour Town unique. The creators have also added puppets, pop culture references, and music. While not everything works (as much as I love Grover, I don't understand what he was doing in the show, and the wedding dance break was fun but a bit weird, and "Super Trooper?"), enough of it works to make this show a delight. And while some of the poignancy of the original gets lost amidst the goofy humor, there's still a touch of it here, particularly in the repeated use of the song "Que Sera, Sera," which perfectly fits with Wilder's theme of appreciating life in the moment because you don't know what the future will be. The large cast does well with the many roles; Brad Erickson does a spot-on Garrison Keillor impression, and as the young lovers Drew Tennenbaum and Sulia Altenberg are fresh-faced and charming (and Sulia has a lovely voice and looks like a young Judy Garland, Minnesota reference not intended). It's a clever take on a classic and appeals to those of who unabashedly love (or at least love to complain about) our home state.