Minnesota Fringe Festival 2011

My Fringe

Show reviews by Chet Taylor

Balls Out!
Toweled Version of "Naked Boys Singing" by Chet Taylor
Rating: 5 kitties
Very creative, well-executed, and a lot of fun. The voices are all quite good, but special props to the 1st tenor. This will no doubt be one of the top sellers this year.

Underneath the Lintel
Passionately performed by Chet Taylor
Rating: 5 kitties
This was one of my favorite shows last year @ the Jungle, so I wanted to see it again this year in the round. His performance was just as compelling.

Comedy = Tragedy + Someone Else
VERY funny stuff! by Chet Taylor
Rating: 5 kitties
This show was much more than just mildly amusing. I experienced many bust-a-gut laugh-out-loud moments. Very clever.

Disney Dethroned: Snowcahontas and the Tangled FrogBeast
Another Tom Reed Hit! by Chet Taylor
Rating: 5 kitties
This is what the Fringe is all about - very creative and very entertaining. I was surprised to see some young children in the audience. It's not that it's raunchy -- well maybe it's a little twisted -- but it does lay bare several Disney characters that children love.

Buckets and Tap Shoes
Savion Glover, times 2 + band by Chet Taylor
Rating: 5 kitties
The Ausland Brothers once again amaze with their talent, energy, and showmanship. Don't expect to see tap dancing in the mold of Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly. This is funked-up tapping at its best. If you haven't seen them before, they are a MUST SEE. And even if you have seen them before, work them into your schedule if at all possible.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Dr. Jekyll
One of the Better Shows . . . by Chet Taylor
Rating: 5 kitties
Very well-written with excellent performances. This show is just plain fun from beginning to end.

Sousepaw: A Baseball Story
The VERY BEST show this year! by Chet Taylor
Rating: 5 kitties
OK, so I haven't seen all 168 shows, but I find it impossible to believe that there's another one out there that's any better than this one. Compelling story, and well-written dialogue, and to top it off - two of the finest acting performances you will see on any stage in the Twin Cities this year. How lucky we are to have the Fringe bring to us such riveting performances in such intimate spaces.

Twisted Apples
Strong performances by Chet Taylor
Rating: 4 kitties
Excellent performances (worth 5 kitties), but I wasn't blown away by the material (three kitties), for an average of 4 kitties. This is definitely worth seeing - any time you have the chance to see Norah Long, you've got to take advantage of that.

Knit One, Purl the Other
Worth seeing by Chet Taylor
Rating: 4 kitties
I enjoyed the piece, but somehow felt it didn't quite hit the mark. I think when the characters stepped into the "inner circle" for their introspective moments, they lost me. Natalie Rae Wass gives an outstanding performance, and there is very real chemistry between her Aviva and Mike Postle's Reinier. Maybe I need to see it again to see if I can "get" those "inner circle" moments.

The Day the Nineties Died
Too much "acting" by Chet Taylor
Rating: 3 kitties
I just never really felt the actors were connected to their characters, or to each other. Acting is about "reacting" to the other characters, but in this piece, it seemed the actors were simply performing the lines the way they were rehearsed without regard to what was actually happening on stage in that moment. The emotion seemed forced, and thus, not authentic.

Power Lunch
Difficult Material by Chet Taylor
Rating: 3 kitties
Kudos for attempting such a challenging script, but unfortunately, the direction and performances fell somewhat short.

Rambler Family Ramblers Final Christmas Reunion Spectacular
There are Many Better Options by Chet Taylor
Rating: 2 kitties
A few clever moments, but overall, fairly dull.

Nineteen Cows Leaving Beirut
Lobotomy by jackhammer by Chet Taylor
Rating: 1 kitty
I generally try to find something positive to say about anything I review, but this show had absolutely no redeeming qualities. The "5 kittie" reviews for this show MUST be friends and family. The script was horrible and many of the acting performances were even worse. To be clear, the negative tone of this review is NOT because I was offended by the content or language. I enjoy bawdy or even raunchy humor - IF IT'S FUNNY! And there's absolutely nothing funny here. You may be asking, why am I being so harsh? I feel an obligation to my fellow Fringers to counter-balance the "friends and family" reviews that resulted in a 4-1/2 rating for this show, and which led me to see it. It was a complete waste of time and deprived me of seeing something else that might have been awesome. I don't want anyone else making the same mistake I did. Do not go to this show, unless you want to feel what's it's like to have a lobotomy performed on you with a jackhammer.

Minnesota State Arts BoardClean Water, Land and Legacy AmendmentArt Works.Visi.comSummit Brewing Equal ExchangeThe McKnight FoundationArts Learning XchangeUnited Arts Fund