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Fringe File #14: Mini-Reviews #3

A collage of promotional images of shows reviewed in this article.

All is Bright

A promotional image for All is Bright, presented by Shelby Company.

Five years after its last Minnesota Fringe appearance, the New York City-based Shelby Company is back with a hilarious new comedy. Underneath All is Bright‘s “people talking at a bar” schtick is a powerful comedy executed with exquisite timing. The script by Dan Moyer (author of several of the company’s past hits) includes eminently quotable lines and moments of unexpected poignancy, and the trio of actors holds your attention from start to finish.

Chocolate Covered Chicken Wings

A promotional image for Chocolate Covered Chicken Wings, presented by Paradox Productions.

In a well-crafted play, things that seem organic in the moment can be retrospectively understood as carefully planned and tailored details. Catherine Hansen’s Chocolate Covered Chicken Wings is a well-crafted play, teasing the audience with seemingly innocuous seeds before the dramatic explosion sweeps you off your feet. Tightly directed by Aidan Jhane Gallivan, this engrossing trip back to childhood is brought to life by a skilled cast of adults playing kids.

Dungeons and Cabins: What would you like to do next?

A promotional image for Dungeons and Cabins, presented by Samantha Mae Productions.

There’s always more than one fantasy roleplaying game-based show at Fringe. This one sees a quintet of late teens trapped in an icy cabin, where they decide to restart their parents’ old Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Naturally, things don’t go well, but they also go in some pretty fun and unexpected directions with the youthful but exuberant cast. Half send-up of fantasy roleplaying games, half late-teen drama; just wait ’til the game goes off the rails.

The Scranton Strangler: An Office Musical

A promotional image for The Scranton Strangler, presented by Literally Entertainment.

If you’re a fan of The Office, The Scranton Strangler falls somewhere between crack and the flavor explosion of deep-fried cheese curds in your mouth. This comedy musical overflows with jokes and references to its source material, which if you’re an Office fan means a packed hour of killer comedy. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s a pleasant gumshoe tale – but you’ll wonder why the people around you are laughing so very, very much time.

SIZE

A promotional image for SIZE, presented by Somerville Productions.

One of the nine co-branded #FeministFringe shows, SIZE is a deep excursion into the verbal and societal assaults on (mostly) female bodies. Billed as a “a love letter to every body”, the show resonated powerfully with Monday’s packed audience. Monologues were frequently applauded, and the incisive wit cuts like a knife. A frontrunner for one of the most critically acclaimed shows of the festival.

That Sinking Feeling

A promotional image for Octopode Theater Co’s That Sinking Feeling.

A light-hearted romp through several famous shipwrecks, this show is a pleasant way to pass the time in-between heavier fare. It requires no mental energy or prior knowledge of the historical events, and has a couple very funny skits. It is at its best when the historical material (treated with a very light fidelity) is at its minimum, as when parodying the USS Bonhomme Richard vs HMS Serapis duel and the wreck of the whaleship Essex (which inspired Moby Dick).

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 600,000 readers per year.

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