Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2018: Wrap-Up and Favorites

Well #TCTheater friends, we made it through another Minnesota Fringe Festival - 11 whirlwind days of theater, dance, comedy, clowning, storytelling, and so much more. I saw a total of 36 shows this year, which is actually my lowest total in the last 5 years, but I'm OK with that. At this point I'm getting better at choosing shows, so I feel like I saw 36 really good shows. And yes, there are many good or great shows I missed, but such is the nature of Fringe. I also noticed a very exciting trend this year, which is more shows by and about women. Of the 36 shows I saw, 20 were written (or co-written) by women, 19 were directed by women, 21 featured all or mostly female casts, and many dealt specifically with women's issues. This trend of more than half of shows being written and directed by women is one I would love to see continue throughout the theater season.

Here are my favorite shows this year, in alphabetical order (although if I had to pick one favorite it would be the very first show I saw - Not Fair, My Lady! which I strongly believe has more life in it and could and should come back for a post-Fringe expanded run). Click on show title to read my full review. (And click here to see the Golden Lanyard Award winners.)

Blood Nocturne by the Winding Sheet Outfit
An innovative and playful retelling of legendary murderess Erzsébet Báthory using original music and movement.

Couple Fight: The Musical! by Weggel-Reed Productions
The fourth hilarious and relatable installment of the series in which real couples reenact their real fights, with original music written by Keith Hovis that brought out each couple's talents and personality.

Far Away by Caryl Churchill by Wayward Theatre
A thoughtful production of an odd and fascinating little play accompanied by my favorite music at the Fringe this year.

Have You Seen This Girl? by Mermaid Productions
A very real walk through the West Bank looking for a lost young woman and bringing attention to the issues faced by runaways.

A Justice League of Their Own by Mainly Me Productions
A hilarious and very timely mash-up/spoof of A League of Their Own and superhero movies featuring awesome female superheroes.

MEDUSA by Vox Medusa and Infiammati FireCircus
A sympathetic retelling of the myth of Medusa, performed outdoors using dance and fire.

Not Fair, My Lady! by Colleen Somerville Productions
A brilliant, hilarious, and very now exploration of the misogyny inherent in many musical theater classics, as well as the discrimination faced by women working in theater.

Slapdash Panic by Comedy Suitcase
Just two dudes doing whatever they can to make the audience laugh (and it worked).

Summers in Prague by Sidecar Theatre
A sweet, funny, sexy, awkward play about a very unusual relationship.