Minnesota Fringe Festival 2011

My Fringe


The Mechanical Division

Created by The Mechanical Division

Producer's website

Comedy, Satire

Contains Adult language

For ages 16+

"You've got to see what The Mechanical Division dragged in. This cast provides audiences with at least as much fun as a bobbing piece of yarn offers to a fat tabby."
-- Brian Leehan, StarTribune

"With hard-edged humor, ample vulgarity and plenty of inside-theater jokes, "Cat" is clever and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny...transcendent satire."
-- Dominic P. Papatola, Pioneer Press

"Surprising, funny, fringey. Do not miss, would see again."
-- Twin Cities Theatre Connection

Listed as a Metro Magazine Must-See

One man, one stage, one Jellicle dream. Awaken your soul to the greatest show in the history of ever. One night only, five separate times. Tad Heathcock is...Grundlepuss.
From The Mechanical Division (producers of past Minnesota Fringe Festival top ten best-selling shows Cannibal! The Musical and The Return of LICK!) comes Cat.

"[The Mechanical Division] always delivers the laughs. Theater's always a bit more fun when they're around."
-- Matthew A. Everett, Twin Cities Daily Planet

Like CAT on Facebook for more pics, vids, and other nifty stuff.

Tom Karki
Role: Chancellor Buckley Starlight

Tom is excited to make Cat his MN Fringe debut!. He is a frequent performer in the Twin Cities area and is also on the board of Minneapolis Musical Theatre. There, he has been seen in such classics as Zombie Prom, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Jerry Springer: The Opera, Bat Boy: The Musical, and Evil Dead: The Musical. Hailing from the Iron Range, you can imagine Tom has a keen eye for great theater, so when The Mechanical Division asked him to be a part of Cat, he jumped at the chance. Big love to Chris and the DT.

Patrick Kozicky
Role: Alex

Patrick loves writing about himself in the third person. That’s why he’s in theater. He is very excited to be performing again at the MN Fringe Festival (Princess Jessica and the Kingdom of Boogers, Yvette, American Sexy). He is mildly excited to be working with The Mechanical Division again (Cannibal! The Musical, Psycho Beach Party, The Return of LICK!). Other theaters Patrick has worked with include, but are not limited to: Walking Shadow, New Theatre Group, Theatre in the Round, Park Square, Children’s Theater Company. When not performing, Patrick enjoys eating Rueben sandwiches, drinking Spotted Cow, and thinking. Patrick’s performance in Cat is dedicated to all the cats who lost their lives on "Confessions: Animal Hoarding".

Ben Thietje
Role: Tad Heathcock/Grundlepuss

Ben has been writing, producing and acting in the MN Fringe since 1857, when the festival first began. Some of these shows include LICK!, Cannnibal! The Musical, The Return of LICK!, Princess Jessica and the Kingdom of Boogers, and now Cat. Actually, that's the entire list. He has also worked with theatres like The Old Log, Park Square, Walking Shadow, Troupe America and the National Theatre for Children. When he's not doing theatre, Ben works for Target Corporation, plays softball and watches loads of really, really awful television...ALL AT THE SAME TIME!

Gemma Irish
Role: Consulting Playwright

Gemma is the author of last year’s Fringe show Yvette, and her work has been performed at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, and on Garrison Keillor’s “The Writer’s Almanac”. Her cat, a tiger/calico mix named She-Ra Princess of Power, is very proud of her.

Sarah Bizek
Role: Stage Manager

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Ben in Tights
by Alecia Scharback Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
No encore performance!? Come on, Fringe! This was, again, a stellar show (HILARIOUS) with a stellar cast. Everything The Mechanical Division does is fantastic--if you didn't see this show, you are either best friends with ALW or insane. 5 KITTIES! GO CAT!

CatBlew Me Away
by Bellagio Korval Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Ben Thietje is the smartest, most talented, cutting edge playwright, actor, comedian, and master of all things theatrical in the Twin Cities. CAT is pure genius and in a class by itself.

No encore performance...come on, obviously he must have pissed off somebody in the establishment and they retaliated. Can you say Lunatic Fringe?

Show about a show - nah
by Suzanne Sharrock Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
Cat himself was fine - plot was a real stretch, often not sure which direction it wanted to take - seemed to be at a loss to fill some of the intermediate time in the slot. Ending was sweet. A "see if you have an open lot". I'm aware people either loved it or didn't get it (Audience buzz.) So-So

Not Cuddly but a Little Cute
by Bill McTeer Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Good but not great Fringe material. The preciousness of "Lord Webber" gets a well-deserved poking and prodding, but not an undeserved evisceration. It felt like the content was a bit thin and some "shock sections" seemed pretty gratuitous. However, the cast was high energy and on the mark.

Extreme Funny
by Kale Ganann Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
A One-Man version of Cats? Well, no, but only because the play becomes delightfully derailed within moments of beginning. This crew is one of the consistently funny, most self-deprecating groups at the Fringe, and this was another winner.

Paws up to hype
by Tristine Miller Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
This show was not on my radar, but with the buzz around Fringe, I found a fun show after all! The stage presence was fantastic, the voices solid, and the story fun. I just wished it had a bit more tweaking with the script. Sometimes it seemed the add-in jokes (star wars) was too forced and simplified, and there were some dead spots, but it made up for it with the overall clever story.

Fun send-up of "The Lloyd's" work + fans
by Gabriel Heller Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
As a firm detractor of Andrew Lloyd Webber and especially of Cats, I ate this show up like so much laffy-taffy. I could have taken quite a bit more and scathing critique of "The Lloyd" but if you have even a little less contempt for the man and his work, you probably won't notice. You may notice the running gags running on a bit and the occasional dead moment. I think perhaps the script could have used a couple more once-overs. The acting was on the whole excellent and the humor and comic timing spot-on in most cases. Definitely a four kitty show, and oh so close to five. With luck maybe we'll see this show remounted after a little more work's been put into it.

Great comedy
by Kenneth Hanf Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Very funny production. Good voices. And Ben in tights.

Very entertaining and well written. The Star Wars segue had me laughing hysterically but my partner was lost. And someone had to be thinking to incorporate all the show names.

Good acting and smooth presentation.

More Smiles than Laughs
by Patrick Pfundstein Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
The opening of Cat hooked me in, but the show leaked steam with the third character (Chancellor Starlight) coming out of the audience, and never really got back up to speed for me. There was good writing here, but also a habit of overworking some of the material. (For example, we nerds got the Star Wars reference pretty quick, there was no need to milk that for several extra lines. And the cancer joke was fine once, but got much less funny with each repetition.) The Chancellor was energetically played, but he also led the show to a place I didn't care much about. As it is, Cat is a solid show, but I'd have liked to see much more of Alex and Tad working through their issues.

by Kevin McIntyre Follow this reviewer
Rating 1 kitty
From the hype I expected something really great...and got theater wankery, low-brow humor, and incredibly trite dialog. One kitty only because the show ended and I could leave.

by Michael Merriam Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
I seem to be the only person at Fringe who did not enjoy this show. Well the acting and set desing were solid and the singing good, the script was...I guess not to my taste.

Premise Goes Nowhere
by Chris Kemp Follow this reviewer
Rating 1 kitty
I had hopes for this show based on the reviews and premise but it failed to deliver. The writing relied on colorful language to get laughs. The acting was average with the exception of the piano player. The final number fell flat. In the end it is not worth the time. But everyone gets one kitty for putting it out there.

by Jess Pants Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
Great acting, concept had a lot of potential, but fell short. You can tell the cast put a lot of work into the show, but I wasn't feeling it. The duet at the end was awesome, but wish there had been more moments like that throughout.

Jellicle Cat
by Jake Scott Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Hilarious show. Great premise well executed.

A man, a dream, a unitard
by Steve Cosgrove Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Mechanical Division writes and executes another tight production - and that's more than just the unitard. If you see just one more Fringe show this year, you must see Cat!

Even better the 2nd time
by Perry Smaglik Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I was not sure I was going to like this show. It was even better the 2nd time

Mechanical Division Still Has It!
by Je Ni Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Seriously, has this company ever put on a Fringe show that isn't hilarious, campy AND filled with awesomeness? I came in expecting to laugh, HARD, and I did. There is no doubt in my mind that the Twin Cities are filled with some amazingly talented people, which is an impression that is continually reinforced by this company. I loved it, and I effin' hate CATS, the musical, the animal, and the sexy thing in lingerie, ears and a tail every slutty girl age 16 to 45 wears for Halloween. 2 more shows, go see it!

I nearly peed myself laughing.
by George Adams Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Really, YOU MUST SEE THIS. My only regret is that the dildo never flew across the stage. Funny, inventive, witty, well-produced. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for anything else these guys do!

Excellent Actors
by Jennie Eckholt Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
While the show wasn't quite what I was expecting and I only laughed at a few jokes, I thoroughly enjoyed the quality performance given by these three actors. The acting was superb! Sadly, the script and plot didn't quite do it for me. There were too many insider theatre jokes and the Andrew Lloyd Weber humor was too much. A few Weber jokes, maybe. An hours worth of obscure Weber jokes? Maybe not. The finale was the higlight of the show. If this could be written to include more hilarious musical numbers, I would raise this to 5 kitties. The acting really was the best of the Fringe, but the story and jokes fell short.

Slow show, great acting
by Lucy Nelson Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
I am a huge fan of Mechanical Division, so it is sad for me to say that Cat was not as great as other productions I have seen from this group. The script was slow moving, and was using tired jokes and silly dialogue. The humor seemed that of eight grade boy level, it left me wanting so much more. The only saving grace for me was the three actors who were wonderful. A great concept that fell a little short for me, but still a play to see this year.

You had me at unitard
by Jocelyn Walters Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
It had all the glitz and glamour you would expect from a fringe show. It was very clever and I was still laughing the next day just thinking about the show!

Not a dull moment
by Will Weisert Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I loved this show from beginning to end. The only criticism I have is with to many somewhat self indulgent (and predictable) Fringe references - once is cute, twice is overuse, and three times should trigger His Lord's highest scorn.

Each of the three leads brought their 'A' game, making the most of the story. Very funny.

by Rita Sapp Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Yeah for Cat!

Go See It!
by Patricia Kozicky Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Fabulous idea for a play and well cast. Loved every minute. I so wanted to raise my hand & go up on stage and be serenaded by the cat. Didn't have the nerve. Don't miss this one. Not if you love laughter and incredible acting.

Would be 3.5 if there were 1/2 kitties
by tin lizzy Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
This is an odd duck show - I can see why there are both "boo - this was stupid" reviews and "zomg I loved this more than life!" reviews. Knowing it was getting mixed reviews, I came in open-minded: not expecting a lot, but hoping/open to being entertained.

It's not a critically brilliant piece, and I wish there had been more musical numbers and performance than some of the over-the-top aren't-we-clever look-it's-a-dildo meta deconstruction of a Fringe piece.

That said - I really enjoyed the show. The performers (in the words of Will Farrell) performed the HELL out of this thing, and it was that which made this entertaining and enjoyable. All three performers get 5 kittens from me, Alex gets 5.5 for being absol perfect!

by kyle martin Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Go see this show! That's all you need to know.

Silly kity
by Dwayna Paplow Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I took a plunge with this one. Having never heard of The Mechanical Division and not being up on "His Lord" Webber's work, I didn't know what I was in for. All-out silliness and satire, that's what. The actors love their characters. (Though it must have been maddening for Kozicky, as Alex, to play the straight man to TWO dopey, lime-light-loving fanatics. Maddening in a good way... I mean... you know?) And the creators do have great love for Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Fringe Festival albeit a very tongue-in-cheek sort of love.

If you go expecting musical numbers, be patient. The finale is priceless - this from someone who breaks out in hives at musicals. By the way, best prop in the Fringe, and no, I don't mean that piece of "equipment."

Pretty Lame
by Rick Rohrer Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
Did the rest of you see the same show I did? It was a tiresome send-up of Andrew Lloyd Webber with all the criticisms we've heard before. The only thing that saves this from being one kitty is the entertaining duet at the end.

by Suzanne Forsyth Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Yes it is true you have to see this show! Funny, smart, expert timing...worth every minute.

by Jason Hamlin Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I peed myself and would see it again!

Anything but a cat nap!
by Kacey Hamlin Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Mechanical division has done it again! A real must see!

This is yes.
by Average Drew Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Wow. That's about the best way to summarize this hilarious work. I have never seen Lord Webber's "Cats" production, nor do I care. Most people with a sense of humor will see the charm and entertainment value of this, and is very highly recommended to anyone looking to laugh for a solid hour. Definitely a must-see.

Felix would have laughed his butt off!
by Steve Kozicky Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This is the one "must see show" at the Fringe this year. Ok, one of the the two best shows if you see it twice. Don't miss it.

by Matthew Spies Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
A depth of plot to engage the inquisitive mind. A pace that will hold the a frantic fringe mind. And chuckles that turn into wild laughter.

by Shannon Draper Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Vulgarly delicious!!! Andrew Lloyd Webber has been outdone. 'Cat' is a must-see!!!

Super, Funny, Sophisticated
by Ted Nelson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Brilliantly written, beautifully performed! Excellent acting!

by Lynn Richason Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Lame title I know; but the play is not! I hate to admit this but it was the first time I have been witness to the Fringe's most comical craft (or crack) team know as Mechanical Divisions and now I will make sure to never miss. They are word wizards that slaugh the punchlines so quick and witfully that you are left pondering "Did he say say that? Oh, screw whatever he said; I don't have time to think now....I might miss the next laugh!" One negative though, the concession stand really ought to sell BLC!!!

unexpected and fun!
by Vicki Joan Keck Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I went to see this because I do love Cats plus I try to follow the Mechanical Division's work, but did not know what to expect. It was funny, highly unusual and a pleasant surprise. Would have loved a bit more singing but they held out on that til the end of the show; all in all though, a jellicle dream!

by Courtney McLean Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Okay, I wasn't going to review any shows this year, but Cat changed my mind. If only to say that I had high expectations due to Mechanical Divisions previous Fringe offerings (LICK!) and "Cat" totally exceeded them. It's NOT a one-man show, as I thought, but a three-man play. And these dudes are tight, hilarious, and as mentioned here already, the chemistry between the three is impeccable. I was CRYING from laughter by the end of it: plenty of "did they really just do/say that??" moments. My kind of comedy. If you know me, you know that means it gets DIRTY. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!

Habitual Line Stepping
by Ali Miller Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
How can you NOT love a show that pokes fun at liberal over-sensitivity? I mean, come ON. It was a very cute show. 2 paws up!

Hello, Kitty
by Amanda White Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Those of you in doubt, take my word for it...just go. A recreation of the musical CATS it ain't; it's just pure, total and hilarious satire. These guys are ridiculous to an admirable point, and there's just nothing like it out there. I'd love to see any show The Mechanical Division delivers, and this one didn't disappoint! The Lord Sir ALW would be...embarrassed. As a musical theatre lover, I had an hour of total fun...look for nods to other musicals, too! A must see!

A brilliant "catire".
by Cory Carlson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
CAT is an impeccable blend of physical comedy and witty word play with wonderfully crafted allusions to the history of the Minnesota Fringe, the works of the greater theater and even Star Wars.

From the moment the musical director, Alex (Patrick Kozicky) tapped "play" on the Casio keyboard I was poised for laughs. And as Tad Heathcock/Grundlepuss (Ben Thietje) lept onto the stage of CAT in a magnificent mane and black unitard I began to laugh and didn't stop. Particularly when the show gives way to the larger than life antics of Chancellor Buckley Starlight (Tom Karki). Kozicky's wry cynism was delicious against the absurd, surreal world created by Karki and Thietje. Chemistry and timing? Spot on for these 3!

by ben johnson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Fantastic, smart comedy with three talented and committed performances. Well balanced cast! A fringe-lovers must see!

This is what I needed
by Chrisitian Novotny Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Seeing way too many uncommitted comedies at the fringe this year has put a damper on the whole experience BUT seeing this show gave me a glimmer of hope ... I throughly enjoyed myself from beginning to end, a strangely unique experience, and I HATE Lloyd Webber's Cats with a passion. If you want to see decent comedy do yourself a favor and see this show it is better than most

by Lizzie Gernes Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Cat delivers through and through with each tail flick, air swat, and ridiculous mandate. The Mechanical Division has mastered the art of melding sharp, cutting humor with over the top grandiose theatrics. It was a truly well done, hysterical comedy in part to the fantastic Grundlepuss and perfect funny straightman, Alex. It was my own personal brand of catnip. Bravo!

Pretty Great
by Kassie Church Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
It was funny and well acted. But not super funny, like I was hoping. But a good solid show. I'm recommending it to anyone who either loves or hates Andrew Lloyd Webber. But if you are like me and have no real passion for the topic, it is only pretty great, not great.

Audience loved it... I was bored.
by Alan Farnham Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
The audience obviously loves this show. They cackled and hooted over everything. I felt like it was dialogue from a worn out TV sit-com with a live laugh track. Vague references to Cats and the MN Fringe from a smoking hot guy in a skin tight leotard with a nice package and tail doesn't make a must see 5 kitty show for me. I wanted more singing and dancing and raw talent oozing from someone's pores to give this 5 kitties, instead we got just one song at the end of the show. I did find one character that I cared about... The keyboard player.

The cat's meow!
by Christine Karki Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Ok, let me preface this by saying I am completely biased as my husband is in the show, however I am also self-involved enough not to post an opinion publicly unless it is how I truly feel. So with all that said, this show is AWESOME. It's funny as hell and you should go see it. Now for the obligatory cat pun: it's purrrrfect.!!

The Lord would be proud
by Benjamin Imker Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Fat Nasty. Fat Nasty. Fat Nasty. Fatnasty. Fatnasty. Fanansty. Fantansty. Fantastic! Fantastic! FANTASTIC!

I cried
by Jimmy Zerker Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Jellicle tears. Wonderful.

the sparkle leg warmers sealed the deal
by Michele Campbell Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Very funny parody, solid performances, and a hot guy in spandex. Enjoyed this a lot.

Wow! Not for kids and many adults.
by Mark Long Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This is a seriously funny spoof of things that take themselves too seriously. The easily offended should probably avoid it, but for the rest of us, OMG is it funny.
You don't have to have seen Lloyd Weber's Cats to appreciate how hard it is to just be Cat.

Get it!
by Sebastian Burns Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This. Show. Is. Brilliant.
It actually wasn't what I was expecting. But still so so so so good. Everyone involved is spectacular. I'd write more in depth, but when it comes down to it you MUST see this show this season. If you don't... Well... You don't love theater.

by Michael Lewis Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I thought I knew what to expect from this show, but it wasn't what I expected at all. It took a bit to get going, but once it hit its stride, it didn't stop. This one is funnier than I thought that pokes fun at itself, the Fringe, and the audience. I've always loved the past Mechanical Division shows, and this one didn't disappoint. Ben was great as the main character, but for me Patrick stole the show. And it's got BLC!

by Jean Simmons Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
So worth it. The only other time I've laughed this much was when watching past Mechanical Division shows.
I love the actors. I love the performance. And really, you can never get enough of a man in a leotard.

wow meow wow!
by Mark Browning Milner Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
*this* is what the fringe is all about! a simultaneously loving and mocking exploration of the meta-aspects of andrew lloyd webber's greatest hit. clever script, spot on performances, a big big crowd pleaser. and featuring, without a doubt, the fringe's best and most inventive theatrical use of a dildo. do. not. miss. this. show.

by Your Mom Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I still don't know what a Jellicle is or does but I did pee my pants...just a little. Ok, maybe it was a noticable amount (and odor), but I can't help it. This show was worth the humiliation of wet pants. SEE IT! The writing is clever, the actors have amazing chemistry, and you'll have a smile on your face for the full hour!

by Tobias Thietje Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I laughed my way through the entire show. Very funny stuff.

So catting good
by Anna Weggel Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Oh how I love this show. The Mechanical Division never fails to make me giggle the hardest out of the whole Fringe. And I have to say...their costumes are getting more mind-bendingly awesome every year. Ben your painted face and kitty wig will haunt my dreams tonight. Well done to the whole cast for pulling off another hilarious romp and for poking fun at Fringe along the way.

One cat, several adjectives
by Carl Franzen Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Daring, brave, nimble, arrogant, laugh-out-loud-able original send-up comedy that teases, praises and brutalizes cult followers of Andrew Lloyd Weber and possibly cats with and without makeup. Get in line early.

by Addie Thietje Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
It's the best show I've seem so far. Great show, great guys, great fun! Thanks for the good time!

by Daryl Thietje Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Great show with lots of laughs and giggles. Could there be other Cat wannabes out there? Got to see the show for sure then!!

Cat, Cat, Cat. #cat
by Curt Lund Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Damn the damn Mechanical Division for being so damn good at everything. Ruins the damn curve for the damn rest of us. MUST DAMN SEE.

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Friday, 8/510:00 p.m. 
Sunday, 8/75:30 p.m. 
Tuesday, 8/97:00 p.m. 
Friday, 8/128:30 p.m. 
Saturday, 8/135:30 p.m. 

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700 N 1st St

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