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REVIEW: The Rinky Dink Show A Literal Laughing Matter

A promotional photo for The Rinky Dink Show! What Kind of Rinky Dink Show is This?, now playing at Bryant-Lake Bowl.

The Rinky Dink Show! opened last night at Bryant-Lake Bowl & Theater in Minneapolis. This evening of sketch comedy brims with visual, spoken, and musical humor. It recalls at times some of the best moments of Laugh-In and Saturday Night Live, while also planting its flag firmly in the Twin Cities and the present.

Where to begin in describing sketch comedy? One could start with a listing of some favorite skits – parodies of movie trailers, karaoke gone wrong, and some recurrent and really quite funny gags skewering the show creators, for example.

Alternately, you could list some favorite performances or performers of the evening. That’s harder to do, as expected with a cast composed of Josh Carson, Kelsey Cramer, Brad Erickson, Mustafa Hassan, Sam Landman, Aisha Ragheb, Bill Stiteler, Drew Tenenbaum, and Anna Weggel – the comedic talent brimmeth over, and should we be pointing at the person who sets up a joke or the person who lands it?

This is, perhaps, why many sketch comedy reviewers settle for a narrative summary of the evening. It’s an abrogation by misdirection, and avoids many of the responsibilities of critical judgment via massive spoilers. Since giving away jokes is like shouting spoilers at people watching Avengers: Endgame for the first time, clearly that wouldn’t be appropriate.

This brings us to a final angle: the experiential one. The show is well-paced, showcases a variety of comedy and humor styles, and has a few excellent comedy threads that get even funnier as they’re exploded into more and more outrageous arcs and songs. How many shows do you get where Carmen Sandiego and Where’s Waldo get mashed up, and where laughter rolls through the whole audience in a hilarious rap about grocery shopping? Without exaggerating, one skit had me laughing and crying simultaneously, and the show’s big musical theater number still lets you out in time to enjoy some sunlight.


The Rinky Dink Show! What Kind of Rinky Dink Show is This? plays at Bryant-Lake Bowl & Theater in Minneapolis, MN through June 29.

Basil Considine

Basil Considine is the Performing Arts Editor and Senior Classical Music and Drama Critic at the Twin Cities Arts Reader. He was previously the Resident Classical Music and Drama Critic at the Twin Cities Daily Planet and remains an occasional contributing writer for The Boston Musical Intelligencer and The Chattanoogan. He holds a PhD in Music and Drama from Boston University, an MTS in Sacred Music from the BU School of Theology, and a BA in Music and Theatre from the University of San Diego.

Basil was named one of Musical America's 30 Professionals of the Year in 2017.

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