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Fringe File, #16: Mini-Reviews, Pt. 1

A promotional image for Imagined Theatre’s Facility.

Throughout the 2017 Minnesota Fringe Festival, the Arts Reader will be posting short reviews of shows. Here are some reviews from the first two days of the festival:

Facility (Imagined Theatre)

A disturbing piece of theatre that makes you think about something with no easy answers, fraught fault lines, and paranoia. This powerful and moving exploration of Alzheimer’s and elder care by Phil Darg is definitely not a bubbly comedy, but it is cathartic to watch. Short – maybe 35 minutes – which is just about right.

Facebook Lite (Nancy Magistad)

If you don’t find the concept – a censored, nice-only version of Facebook – to be hilarious, you probably don’t want to check this out. If you do, this is probably your vein of humor. Riffs on social media and political correctness; would make an excellent 15-minute short, but goes long.

The Second Banana Revolt! (Far From The Tree)

The Fringe preview presents this as a bubbly, tongue-in-cheek comedy, but this parody of 1960s kids TV dips deeper. This musical is filled with fun and catchy songs by Shirley Mier, while the book by Minrod Mier keeps the action flowing, the gags going, and the subversive parody rowing steadily along. Emily Anderson shines as the gender-bending Jack.

There Ain’t No More (Willi Carlisle Productions)

This solo show from Arkansas is a musical powerhouse that also explores the end of life of a folk musician. Five minutes in, you’re entranced. Ten minutes in, you’re starting to understand how this won the Best Show award at the 2017 Orlando Fringe Festival.

Funny, moving, and thrilling with touches like banjo twirls, USO shows, and more. Willi Carlisle will have you riveted from start to finish.

Thor: Jurassic Park (Access World Productions)

A breakout hit by a new company making its Fringe Festival debut. This mashup of the Avengers (of Marvel Comics fame) and Jurassic Park has a bit of everything: coming out monologues, giant dinosaur puppets, hilarious riffs on comic book tropes, and big fight scenes spilling across the stage of Theatre in the Round. This sparkling comedy gels deliciously and the hour flies past.

Come for the superheroes vs. raptors, stay for the giant pterodactyls (on stilts!).

Twin Cities Arts Reader
The Twin Cities Arts Reader is an arts and lifestyles magazine whose coverage examines arts and selected activities in the state of Minnesota and across the country. It provides Minnesota's largest source of in-depth, critical theatre coverage, and reaches more than 275,000 readers per year.
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