Sunday, August 6, 2023

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2023: "H.G. Wells' THE INVISIBLE MAN"


Show: 7


By: [Un]Qualified

Created by: Jake Sung-Guk Sullivan

Location: Southern Theater

Summary: An adaptation of the 1897 novel The Invisible Man, in which a scientist becomes invisible, in a playful physical theater style.

Highlights: I don't think it's a coincidence that playwright/director Jake Sung-Guk Sullivan and one of the actors, Brendan Veerman, performed the roles of "the clowns" in Lyric Arts' 2021 production of The 39 Steps. This production uses the same sort of physical theater, clowning, prop work, and fast pace as that show, to great effect. Don't worry if you're not familiar with the source material (which was adapted into a film in 1933), neither was I. The story of the scientist whose experiment goes awry is clearly told in under an hour, as he travels around London trying to resume his work, and running afoul of the law, again. Doni Marinos plays the titular character, either appearing completely clothed and wrapped up, including face and hands, or staying behind the shower curtain under the Southern Theater arch and providing the voice for the unseen man. Brendan Veerman, Courtney Vonvett, and Tucker Brewster Schuster, dressed in trousers with suspenders and a white tank top, play a dizzying number of characters, and probably burn about a thousand calories per show as they run around the stage donning different costumes and accents, one after the other. The physical work, costumes, sound and lighting design, and use of props is so fun, playful, and clever. One particularly delightful recurring gag is going up and down stairs, another highlight is Brendan, a gifted physical comedic actor with a rubber face, in a fight scene with the invisible man, throwing himself all across the stage. This super fun and clever creation is a must-see.