2011 Fringe Festival Day 3: Unexpected pleasures, old friends stumble
Both Carole and I were tired and fighting off some sort of cold, so I changed plans. Dropped two shows at the Rarig for one Bring-Your-Own-Venue in the neighborhood. I figured if we still weren't up to snuff we'd just blow off the rest of the day. And even if we kept going, we were starting at 2:30 in the afternoon with a dinner break before heading to the West Bank. This worked out splendidly. The two shows I didn't know anything about were as good or better than the two highly anticipated shows. Go fig.
Okay stories, great acting
612 is the original Area Code for the Twin Cities and is now used just for Minneapolis. The Cult Status Gallery is in a small colorful garage. The 612 tells four stories that could take place in Minneapolis. The writing is okay, but no story really stands out. In lesser hands, these would fail, but the ensemble cast brings the characters to life. An impressive feat given how close the audience is.
I can't go so far as to recommend the show, but the young writers and actors are worth seeing at the beginning of (I predict) several long careers.
Hero: A New Musical
"I'll ask McArthur to sign my forehead."
Four brothers man a Catalina multi-role aircraft in WWII. They josh and bond even further in the heat of battle. And they sing these marvelous barbershop-like songs about themselves and the war.
Hero starts slow and builds, so I'm not sure exactly how many kitties to give it. Certainly, the music gave it an extra kitty, and the ending was strong enough to justify four and a half, but after some reflection I'll stick with four. And a recommendation.
For a show that was on my schedule mainly because I was going to see a show in the same venue next, Hero was a very pleasant surprise. Of course, I then changed what we saw next…
Callahan and Lingo: The Last Ditch.
Good stories but not enough energy
Carole and I both fell asleep during the monologues. Sorry. Not necessarily the fault of either monologist: We were tired and the day was catching up to us. Still, the opening banter was fun and Allegra's nearly sung last piece kept us awake, so some was the delivery. Both storytellers have an ear for the interesting, and were probably hampered a by the last-minute addition to the Fringe. Maybe later shows will have more energy.
Minnesota Middle Finger
"I always knew winter would be the death of me."
Shows with incessant bickering -- and theater in the round shows with incessant bickering -- push all the wrong buttons for me. Still, if you're going to have a show about three mismatched people trapped under 100 inches of snow as the world is coming to an end, you want Ben San Del to write it.
Lots of laughs, only some of them gallows humor, and the frantic action at the end kept us up where the monologists didn't. If you character development by cutting down, you'll like MMF more than I did.
Continued in Day 4: A Lazy Sunday With Trivia