For me, August is all about the Fringe Festival: what I’m seeing, what’s good, what’s not, which shows my friends are in, which shows I can tell my grandmother about, which restaurants are giving good discounts on dinner and cocktails, etc.
I’ve only seen a handful of shows thus far (the festival runs through August 12) , but word of mouth is starting to spread. In addition to the Minnesota Fringe, I’ve also seen a couple shows at Augsburg’s Manna Fest, which are the two I would most recommend this early in the game. They are The Neon Man and Me by Slash Coleman (left) and Potato Chip Head by Heidi Arneson. (Coleman’s show will be taped by PBS this fall.)
Other shows I’ll stand behind include True Theatre Critic (Omar Sangare is an incredible actor from Poland) and Macbeth’s Awesome Scottish Castle Party, by Joseph Scrimshaw, co-starring some of the Cities’ funniest sketch-comedy actors. (In the interest of full disclosure, my husband is playing guitar for the show. But rest assured that all of the sophomoric jokes are pure Scrimshaw.) Brother Joshua is remounting From Here to Maternity with Shannon Wexler, which a lot of people loved it was at Bryant-Lake Bowl in May. I wasn’t crazy about it. If you consistently disagree with my reviews, you will probably like this show.
I also plan to see Amy Salloway’s show, Circumference (left), which I expect will be as good as her previous Fringe shows, Does This Monologue Make Me Look Fat? and Kiss Me Already, Hershel Gertz! Tonight I’m seeing KIPO!, a category-defying performance featuring twenty Tibetan dancers and musicians. Later this week, I’m seeing Blue Collar Diaries, a one-woman show by Michelle Myers, as well as Bedlam Theatre’s William Shakespeare’s Hystery Queene Margaret. Rumor has it that the Bedlam show may be shut down—their makeshift stage is outside and their permit for it expires this week—so I’d go sooner rather than later. (Of course, if this is just a publicity stunt, it's nothing short of brilliant!)
Things to skip: The World’s Largest Aluminum Foil Ball stands out from the crowd. This original musical by a well-intentioned Iowan made my head hurt. The anti-Bush jokes are funny, though.
In the out-of-town department, here’s what’s piqued my interest: FLUID, a one-woman show out of New York, Bouffon Glass Menajoree (also from New York), and The Most Mysterious Day of the Year (left). I have no idea what that last one’s about, but the promotional photo makes it look like it will be a cross between a Marilyn Manson–esque cabaret and kilt-wearing chaos. I’m sure I have it completely wrong but I like the picture, so there you go. I’m a big fan of white face paint and kilts.
Everything Fringe can be found on the extensive Fringe Festival website. Have fun!