Friday, July 31, 2015

Fringe Festival 2015: "The OzFather"

Day: 1

Show: 3

Title: The OzFather

Category: Comedy

Created by: Peter Potyondy

Location: Intermedia Arts

Summary: A mash-up of the iconic movies The Wizard of Oz and The Godfather, set in Minnesota, with a little Johnny Cash thrown in.

Highlights: It's the first time in the Fringe for this community theater from Cottage Grove, presenting an original play that finds teenage Dottie living with her aunt and uncle after her parents are killed. She, along with her dog Toto (played by an adorably sweet real live dog), wakes up in a place called Comoland populated with small children, meets friends along the way, helps to solve the mystery of a mill fire, and visits a powerful man searching for help to go home. This feels like an amateur production, but in a good way, and really that's one of the beautiful things about this unjuried festival. It gives theater non-professionals a chance to come together out of the love of theater and tell a story to a willing and eager audience. The result may be a bit scattered (mill fire?), but I smiled, laughed, and was entertained. Highlights in the large and enthusiastic cast include a likeable Samantha Smith as Dottie, playwright Pet Potyondy as her adorkable brother and scarecrow reporter, Jeff Heutmaker as the lion figure who for some reason sings like Johnny Cash, and Matthew Thompson with a great Godfather impression (coming from someone who's never seen the movie). It's cute, fun, and short, the kids and dog are adorable, and you get to hear some Johnny Cash!