Sunday, August 13, 2023

Minnesota Fringe Festival 2023: "Monster Science's Greatest Hits: The Ecology of the Muppets"


Show: 35


By: Monster Science Productions

Created by: Reverend Matt's Monster Science

Location: Augsburg Studio

Summary: The Monster Scientist known as Reverend Matt takes a deep dive into the beloved monsters that are part of Jim Henson's world of creation.

Highlights: I saw a Reverend Matt show on the first day of this year's Fringe Festival (The Very Model of a Modern Monster Scientist, in which he hires an assistant), and I saw another Reverend Matt show on the second to last day of the festival. Nice bookends indeed. Rev Matt's (aka Matthew Kessen) second show is a compilation of five of his most popular shows, pulled from his collection of deep dive power point-fueled explorations of various monsters, incorporating pop culture, mythology, and history. I chose to see the Muppets show, having grown up on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, and made a reservation well in advance, since it was sure to sell out (it did). Turns out there's a lot about Jim Henson's creations that I didn't know, and Rev Matt covers it all. From some very violent early coffee commercials, to the only live action movie to feature only puppets (The Dark Crystal), to the beloved Sesame Street, and beyond. He walks us through Jim's life and career more or less chronologically, through his tragic and untimely death at the age of 53. The show is funny and touching and nostalgic, and nerdy in the best way. If you missed Rev Matt at the Fringe this year or want to see more of him, you can see his show at Bryant Lake Bowl the first Thursday of every month (see his website or follow him on Facebook for news on upcoming performances).