Monday, August 14, 2023

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2023: "Fargo Allegro"


Show: 37

Category: COMEDY / DRAMA

By: Nightfall Productions

Directed by: Brad Erickson

Location: Rarig Thrust

Summary: A fairly faithful if condensed reenactment of the beloved 1996 Coen Brothers movie Fargo, with Paul Bunyan as narrator.

Highlights: There's possibly no movie that pokes such loving fun at Minnesota as Fargo. So it's ripe for a Minnesota Fringe parody. I haven't seen the movie in ages, but it seems to cover all of the major plot points (even unnecessary ones like Marge's old friend Mike). The cast, most of whom play multiple characters, is completely committed to the campy/serious tone, and the accents. Highlights include Jeffrey Nolan as the fast-talking criminal Carl, Jay Melchior as the hapless Jerry Lundegaard, and Justine Carroll Melchior as everyone's favorite pregnant police chief Marge Gunderson (the Minnesota/Scandinavian names in this story are dizzying). There's a live two-person multi-instrument band providing the soundtrack and charming sound effects, with video and images projected into a screen of old bedsheets. The clever set consists of wooden crates painted like cement blocks that are constantly moved around for the many different scenes, the front facade of a car with headlights, and white tulle waved around by the hard-working stagehands to simulate snow. It's all very thoughtfully done, with lots of fast-moving pieces that smoothly come together for a highly entertaining show that's the very epitome of the Minnesota Fringe Festival.