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Fringe File 2018 #17 – Hanne Appelbaum’s Top 10 Must-Sees

A photo from last year’s Fringe production of MEDUSA by Vox Medusa and Infiammati FireCircus. Photo by Max Haynes.

If in doubt, set it on fire. That’s my mantra for this year’s Fringe festival: if you’re not at all sure where to start, hit up Vox Medusa with Infiammati FireCircus’s MEDUSA. This outdoor show in Grant Park incorporates flame twirling, live music, and dance. Since outdoor shows, rain, and fire don’t mix terribly well, check the weather first – catching this flame is worth it.

If I have one regret about this year’s lineup, it’s that it doesn’t have a bonafide opera in sight. By this I don’t mean pop operas or shows that pick “opera” as a classification because they feel epic. MEDUSA gets close and is a lovely thing – but this year’s lineup conspicuously doesn’t have an honest-to-god opera with giant, unamplified voices and epic stories/fuss. Alas.

Here are my own must-see shows at the 2018 Minnesota Fringe, in no particular order:

1. Lions and Peacocks and Snakes – Oh My! (CAAM Chinese Dance Theater)

A photo of a past CAAM Chinese Dance Theater production.

You might not know that the Twin Cities are home to the oldest and largest Chinese dance company in the Midwest. They’re fantastic; once I learned that this show would be highlighting animals, I knew I just had to bring my kids. Show Info

2. Fringe Orphans 4: Back in the Habit (Navel Gaze Productions)

A promotional image for Fringe Orphans 4: Back in the Habit.

You never quite know what you’ll get mixed into a Fringe Orphans show, except that it’ll be hilarious. With the show taking place at Theatre in the Round this year, it’s perfect for slipping into after grabbing a drink at Republic. Show Info

3. Blood Nocturne (The Winding Sheet Outfit)

A promotional image for Blood Nocturne.

A sensational tale from European history that rivals the real-life Dracula’s carnage, with original music and great promises of creepiness. Show Info

4. #NaNoWriMo: The Naughty Bits (Tesseray Productions)

A promotional graphic for #NaNoWriMo: The Naughty Bits.

An improv show riffing off writers’ block, with an improv connection. No need to start your own novel, but if you’ve ever tried your hand at creative writing, you’ll have an extra blast. Show Info

5. The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society Versus the Nazis (The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society)

A poster for The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society Versus the Nazis.

Listening to radio plays is one of the things that keeps this mom sane on long drives with the kids – and keeps the kids rapt with attention and not fighting. Performed with live foley effects, this regular MN Fringe feature is all the more engaging in its minimalist, audio-focused format. Seeing how the artists evoke space and convey characters with their voices, amps, and a few practical effects is tremendously stimulating. Show Info

6. Locker Room Talk (WalthWorks)

A promotional graphic for Locker Room Talk.

An original musical exploring a female coach’s experience leading a boys high school basketball team. To say that there’s some chauvinism in this man’s world is an understatement worthy of a musical… Show Info

7. I Killed the Cow (The Herd)

A promotional image for I Killed the Cow.

A riveting, wide-ranging, devised solo show that explores sexual assault and more. This out-of-town act comes to Minnesota as part of a five-city tour.

Show Info

8. Deep in The 100 Acre Woods: A “Pooh”-dunnit? (Fearless Comedy Productions)

A promotional image for Deep in the 100 Acre Woods.

A film noir murder mystery treatment of Winnie the Pooh. Not for children, sadly, but definitely for all the adults who grew up with these endearing characters! Show Info

Note: This show takes place at the Minnsky Theatre in Northeast Minneapolis. Be advised that I-35W will be closed north of University from 6 PM Friday-8 PM Sunday each festival weekend. In addition, Open Streets Northeast takes place on Sunday, August 5th, closing Central Ave, 22nd Ave NE, Monroe St NE, and E Hennepin Ave from 11am-5pm that day (access Minnsky’s parking lot via Filmore Ave, east of the theatre).

9. MEDUSA (Vox Medusa and Infiammati FireCircus)

A promotional image for MEDUSA

There are two shows named Medusa at this year’s fringe; this is the incendiary one in all-caps. Check the weather and show up early, because it’s not to be misesd.Show Info

10. Martin Dockery: Delirium (Martin Dockerey)

A promotional image for Martin Dockery: Delirium.

A legendary Fringe circuit comes to the Minnesota Fringe with tales of love, loss, and butterflies. Winner of the Best Solo Show award at the 2017 Orlando Fringe. Show Info

Hanne Appelbaum