Minnesota Fringe Festival 2011

My Fringe

Once Upon a Time in the Suburbs

Ferrari McSpeedy Theatrical Productions

Created by Ferrari McSpeedy

Historical content, Comedy

Contains Violence, Adult language

For ages 16+

Once Upon a Time in the Suburbs is Ferrari McSpeedy's take on the historical western comedy genre with a mix of olde-timey radio play tossed in for good measure.

Set in the south suburbs of Chicago circa 1890, the show centers on a small town that is on the brink of being incorporated as the first all-female town in the nation. Of course, the women have to fend off a band of bandits that have aims of taking over the town. To help protect them, the women bring in a gun-toting recluse to teach them how to kill.

Taking inspiration from The Magnificent Seven, The Wild Bunch, A Fistful of Dollars and other classic Westerns, Once Upon a Time in the Suburbs is filled with all of the double-crosses, epic gunfights, and banjo music that you would expect.

Ferrari McSpeedy Theatrical Productions is no stranger to the Fringe Festival, having created the Punk Rock Trilogy between 2002 and 2004 and the smash hit Speech! in 2010.

"Must See!" - Ross Raihala - Pioneer Press

"A hell of a lot of fun" - Jay Gabler - Twin Cities Daily Planet

"Jam-packed with fun bits and gut-busting one-liners" - Jaye - FringeFamous.com

"Lowest form of theatre" - Aaron S. - audience review

Check out the one show that is either entertaining or garbage and decide for yourself. There is no middle ground.

Brian Beatty
Role: Grandpa

Joe Bozic
Role: Boy

Josh Eakright
Role: Gary

Mike Fotis
Role: Handsome Johnny Strongjaw

Madde Gibba
Role: Grace

Tera Jansen
Role: Jessup

Katy McEwen
Role: Mattie

Courtney McLean
Role: Mariam

Taj Ruler
Role: Faith

Erin Sheppard
Role: Laurie

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Westerm with twists
by Suzanne Sharrock Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Turns the classic western semi-upside down with lots of classic and hilarioius acting, both male and female. An enjoyable show, none other like it this Fringe 2011. I'd put it on my "must see"

Best gunfight ever
by Heather Baldwin Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Ferrari McSpeedy is back, this time with a historical comedy/western tale (or should I say mid-western tale), about residents of an all-female town fighting for their survival from outlaws in the late 19th century in Illinois. This show features a top-notch ensemble cast, lots of silly jokes and sight gags, and no "female shenanigans". A really fun, clever production.

Fun, but that's about it
by Tristine Miller Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
I didn't walk away thinking real hard nor was I completely bored during the show. I thought the fight scenes were the best part, plus Grandpa was my favorite character. Other than that, it was just a bunch of people having fun on stage.

One! Great show. Two! Had fun.
by Kasee Kozel Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
With an energetic & engaging cast, this was my favorite way to start off my Fringe weekend. Thanks!

high energy
by Kevin McIntyre Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
I lost track of the WTF?! moments as I laughed through the performance. Over the top characters, silly dialog, a puppet chicken--just go, you'll have a good time and find plenty of lines to quote to your friends.

Call Mr. Eastwood...
by Michael Merriam Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Solid comedic entertainment and a fun riff on spaghetti westerns.

Just-Right Amount of Silly
by Lindsey McDonald Dorsey Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This is a loopy, enthusiastic, super fun show that follows the logic of the beautifully weird little world it has built. The entire cast is perfect, the onstage sound effects are great, and the minimal props and set are both funny and absolutely appropriate to this style of storytelling. If you aren't sitting on something pointy, you will enjoy it.

Ferrari McSpeedy Rides Again
by Mickey Foley Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I wrote a long review about how this zany farce lives up to the gold standard Ferrari McSpeedy has set for comedy in our post-ironic age, but I took too long, the page timed out and my words were lost forever. Suffice it to say, this is a very funny show with a great cast, and you will be filled with more ennui than I am now if you miss it.

No shenanigans
by Jason Dalrymple Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Imagine my disappointment even before the show started to read on the program, "There will be no female shenanigans in this show." Little did I know there would be plenty of shenanigans not stemming from the program's innuendo.

Aside from some occasional difficulty hearing "Grandpa" without the microphone, this show is well performed and filled with campy slapstick and physical humor. The show has some great use of space and props throughout that enhance a good story with memorable and rounded characters. Lots of laughs, no groans and a good time overall.

McSpeedy McFunny!
by Vicki Joan Keck Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Great premise, terrific acting and funny funny script! I thoroughly enjoyed watching these actors hamming it up and enjoying themselves on stage. Extra kudos to Grampa Brian Beatty who is hilariously droll, and to Courtney McLean as the Mayor! Good (mostly)clean silly fun!

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid Fun
by Kale Ganann Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
What more is there to say? It's the Ferrari McSpeedy brand of low-brow, high-concept fun that will leave you laughing even as you gawp at how stupidly silly it all is. This cast really uses the Thrust stage to it's fully potential, and delivers the goods. What more did you want?

Yee to tha Haw!
by Fringivitis Vulgaris Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
Ferrari McSpeedy brings the silliness one more time. The town of Womensburg (not to be confused with the burg of ManHatin) is facing invasion, incorporation, and in-fighting. Before it's over, the bullets and feathers will fly. Female shenanigans may or may not occur, so keep an eagle eye on that stage.

Clever and Done Well
by Richard Shields Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I liked the show. It was clever and done well. There were some well placed twists. Cute "special effects" too.

Must-See Midwestern
by Hailey Colwell Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I loved this show. It struck the perfect balance between put-togetherness and comic ease. The cast was great, missing nothing with the variety and correctness of roles. The jokes were great because they didn't reach. A must-see.

Speech ruined me
by Cato Brutus Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
It's really hard to talk about this show without comparing it to last year's Speech, which featured mostly the same cast and the same type of humor. This year's show was enjoyable, but just falls short of the (admittedly impossibly-high) bar that was set. Still a fun show despite a number of flubbed lines.

How The West Was ___ ?
by August Berkshire Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Something this silly isn't supposed to be a 5 but, gosh darn it, it held my attention and kept a smile on my face the whole time. Gotta give it its due.

That's Some Good Pickin'
by Rob Callahan Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This show's good. So good, I actually wanted to give it zero kitties just so I would lower its average score and possibly deter you from choosing to see it instead of my own show. Sadly, I'm somewhat ethical.

So, it gets five. There isn't a weak link in the entire cast and the scripting is great. So is the use of the venue. It plays with the tropes and conventions of the genre beautifully and builds each joke upon its predecessors into a sort of hilarity crescendo.

And the banjo is a nice touch.

Best Gunfight Ever!
by Scott Pakudaitis Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Filled with clever special effects and what is possibly the greatest gunfight in the history of theater (and probably film,) this show has strong female leads (a rarity in theater) and plenty of laughs. As a Chicagoan, I appreciated learning about the obviously totally true history of one of our southern suburbs.

Where are the men? In the audience!
by re gurgitate Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Women rule in this mashup of Eastwood and the Seven Samurai. More laughs come from the character asides than from the story itself, which has me taking off one kitty. This show won't be for everyone, but if you like your laughs wherever you can find them, then put this one on your list.

Saddle up and git yer self to this show!
by Liz Blank Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
It’s about time a great female western rode into town! Yee Haw!

Great Fun!
by Pat Sukhum Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
What a great way to finish off a Monday. Tons of laughs. Awesome cast. Super-fun mix of characters. Specially loved Erin Sheppard. Full of innocence and spunk. Who wouldn't love that cowgirl? Thanks for a fun show!

by Hannah Wydeven Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I was so happy to see a comedy that relies on awesome women - this show is wonderful and well written. It was much different than last year's Speech, which is a testament to the writing of Ferrari McSpeedy.

Don't just... don't miss this show.

Hit this up!
by Ian Fishman Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Solid, silly Western from some of the best in the Twin Cities. Get some.

1! 2! Boom!
by Dave Christians Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This was my first time seeing a Ferrari McSpeedy production...and it was fantastic! It was very refreshing to see a western based action-comedy whose lead characters are six strong women. Ah-ha, gender and sex roles reversed! The writing is superb and I love that each character has their own individual comedic call-backs throughout the story. This show is a great mixture of silly and dark comedy, sight gags, and action. The ending will make you want to stand up and cheer for Taj Ruler's character! Hats off to Eakright's off-stage visual tech. work, McEwen's super dark gun-training scene, and my personal favorite, Jessup!

Great cast!
by Marne Gerdes Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I went to Saturdays' show and was very impressed with the cast and show. A very creative and hilarious idea,I highly recommend it to everyone. I especially enjoyed their use of props and the gun fight! Kudos to Courtney Mclean for a great performance, per usual!

Once Upon a Time in the Suburbs
by Christine Brandt Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This production is what the FRINGE is about..clever, comedy dialogue, well-crafted characters, excellent concept and staging. The use of the Thrust Performance space was genius. The sound and visual effects were a delight. One can only hope that this ensemble team moves on to the creation of more pieces.

Hilarious Western Show!!
by Nam Nguyen Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This show had me laughing so hard my stomach hurt! Excellent writing and well played out characters along with props and special effects really brought the stage to life as if I was watching a western tale unfold before my very own eyes. It's a must see! Highly recommended!!

by sheryl Hartman Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
enjoyed the show. Was about what I expected after seeing their show last year. I would recommend for cuteness

Unexpected and funny
by James Rone Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
With "Once Upon A Time In the Suburbs," Ferrari McSpeedy have thrown a curveball. If you're expecting the exact same style of comedy that Mike and Joe have delivered in the past, you'll be surprised. With this show, there's a patient absurdity that runs counter to the frenzied pace of most Fringe comedy shows (mine included). This is smart, weird, funny stuff. Madde Gibba is hilariously grizzled, Taj Ruler is an emotional anchor, and Erin Sheppard is just plain funny.

by Amanda White Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This show is SO MUCH FUN! You seriously can't go wrong with this cast (COME ON--it reads like the list of America's Funniest People) and it's just a goofy, wild stomp through the Goofy Wild West. And....LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE GIRLS!! ABOUT TIME! Go see it--you'll have a grand ole' time...

by Hannah Kuhlmann Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I love, love, love the cynical, hilarious gender politics of this show. Mike and Joe have created a freewheeling, silly comedy with some deliciously dark moments and super fun cinematic and theatrical touches. The cast is diverse parade of Twin Cities improv, sketch and storytelling talent, and it was awesome to see them all work together to tell this wonderfully bizarre story. I highly recommend this show to fans of local improv, storytelling and comedy in general... and to gender theory nerds.

by Chrisitian Novotny Follow this reviewer
Rating 1 kitty
simply put this is one of the worst shows I've seen at Fringe thus far ... If you are a western fan there is nothing to see here. "inspiration from The Magnificent Seven, The Wild Bunch, A Fistful of Dollars" is only seen in a cheap scene where Mike Fotis (a somewhat redeeming quality of this mediocre show) is the "Eastwood" stereotype cowboy. Seeing that shows of this caliber are selling out large venues make me loose faith in the quality of the Fringe audience.

by Marcia Avner Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
Too silly.

fun fun fun
by Mark Browning Milner Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
maybe not as fabulous as last year's "speech" but well-worth seeing. funny script, funny acting, funny narration, funny bloodshed, funny sound effects, funny gimmicks, funny all the way around. if there *had* been lesbianism, it would've been funny, too, i betcha.

by Chris McGeveran Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
I really wanted to like this show...but I didn't. I thought Speech was brilliant last year, and was excited for more of the same since the casts overlapped, but this was not up to Ferrari McSpeedy's usual standards.

Still, there were plenty of funny moments and some very creative props (the well killed me) and effects (snap caps! yes!), so see it if you have a slot to fill.

Mixed Feelings
by Mary Lundberg-Johnson Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
The play was corny but fun. We found ourselves laughing out loud at some of the out and out corny parts - the Indiana gang names, all of the references to old Westerns, the chicken, etc. We wished we could just relax and enjoy the story for what it was. However, we ended up wanting more - a more effective narrator and a more professionally told tale.

by Josh Carson Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Ferrari McSpeedy does it again, and with a troupe of hilarious, strong, and -- yeah, I'm gonna' say it -- sexy women.

The creative staging made this show for me, utilizing the ENTIRE Thrust.

They lovingly embrace the genre they're spoofing, Edgar Wright-style, but you are still very aware you're at a Ferrari show. And that's never a bad thing.

Significant-no, a bit of fun-yes.
by Will Weisert Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
OK, this isn't Shakespeare, a deeply insightful solo retelling of some significant life event, or anything else that requires four syllable descriptors and a thesaurus - it's just a group of talented group of actors presenting a rather silly but entertaining performance intended to make us laugh, something it succeeds at quite well, thank you.

(And for those of us who grew up in Jesup, Iowa, thank you very much for presenting one of our namesakes - albeit misspelled, at least from our perspective - in such a positive light. We'll have a wad of chaw waiting for you.)

Campy and Corny (Mid) Western Fun
by Amy Sheppeck Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
More accurate 3.75 Kitties

This show was such a romp I want to sing it's praises. The cast had as much fun as the audience so it is difficult to say what I found lacking. Let's just say it aint "Oklahoma"...yet. It has raw potential to be a stellar historical musical comedy but it needs more music. That's IT! Put in a few fun songs and a rousing finale number and you'll have yourselves a MUST SEE SHOW.

Show is garbage
by Patrick Claypool Follow this reviewer
Rating 0 kitties
Don't just... don't. It's not even worth my time...

Lowest form of theatre
by Aaron Sawyer Follow this reviewer
Rating 1 kitty
This is the lowest form of theatre, with unrehearsed campy boy-i-think-i'm-cute acting mixed with i-just-memorized-this-yesterday deliveries. If you like silly people cracking themselves up for an hour... okay. You'll have an occasional chuckle at how stupid so-in-so is bein'
But I took nothing away from this show but a tired butt.

Kick ass funny
by Seth Lepore Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This show was hysterically funny and brilliantly staged. I had a blast. Great writing, brilliant characters and the best gun fighting scene that you will ever see.

The Cast-o is a BLAST-O!!!
by Lauren Anderson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This show has such a stellar cast, that they could sit on stage and eat pudding, and I would watch, laugh, and be engaged. Now replace the pudding with guns... hell yeah! Definitely worth your time and your cash-o-la.

Great cast chemistry & creative staging
by Florence Brammer Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Great cast chemistry and very creative staging and use of props made up for what is an uneven and rather unmemorable script. However, still a very cute show with a really good comic cast who provides a lot of silly fun.

stumbling narator
by David Trudeau Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
My friends loved this - I was annoyed that the narrator - big part- could not project, emote or pace. I kept waiting for more banjo music. Goofy story that I thought was undeveloped and amateurish - maybe that's the appeal of this show. Lots of nice physical gags.

Polished to perfection
by Anna Weggel Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I love, love this show. I've been itching for a show that features many strong female characters and I'm so glad Ferrari McSpeedy was able to provide that for me this year. I was delighted by the ease with which the stellar cast delivered their lines and actions, and was delighted by the unexpected (and hilarious) special affects that popped up throughout the show. This is one of the fastest hours I've ever felt, and my cheeks hurt from smiling by the end. Well done cast!

loved the props
by Robyn Hendrix Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
cute show, some of the acting felt slightly forced but overall very fun. loved how they embraced & exaggerated the campy, cheesy use of props (felt flowers, chicken puppet, the moving well...).

by Shannon Young Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
I was so excited for this show because last year's Ferrari McSpeedy contribution made me laugh until my face hurt and made me smile to think on it afterwards.

Once Upon a Time's strengths were a cast that worked well together, creative use of props, and some well-executed comic moments, especially involving chickens. However, those moments were interspersed with awkward pauses, several dropped lines, uneven story pacing, little character development, cheesy jokes referencing cities, lesbian sex, and Westerns, and a conclusion that had us wondering, what did this have to do with women or the suburbs?

It had some potential, so it may be worth seeing if it comes together.

All laughs,no groans
by Marlys Simon Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This historical/melodrama/comedy brings laughs without the groaners you usually get in this genre. Wonderful actors who developed and expressed their characters clearly. Funny script and sight gags, good timing and some fresh ideas. And the daffodils are cute, too.

The Magnificent Seve...er.. Five...
by Bill Fricke Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
A very funny, silly, and clever show with a lot of great sight/prop gags, inventive slow motion "blood" spatters, and one of the craziest shoot outs I've ever seen on stage. Inspired use of the whole theater space as well. A fantastic show! Stand out for me was Joe Bozic as the Indiana Boys lackey. I would definitely vote for him as commissioner of park and recs!

Such fun
by Kevin McLaughlin Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
What can I say? These are such funny people... Bring yer gigglebag, it'll be full by the end of this joyous yarn. Go see it already, exclamation point!

A great comedy - see this.
by Jimmy Desimone Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
With lots of shows in the fringe - TOO MANY - and all over the place, you should put this one on your list of shows to see. If you like comedy, and you like good acting, and also like to feel like you are on another planet every so often, this show is a must-see. Mike Fotis is a funny guy. This show also features the best closing lines in Fringe history. Also great for fans of women who commit murder. Usually its just guys who do that. Women kill people in this.

Zany powerful cow-women - hurray
by Lori Crever Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Ferrari McSpeedy has done it again - this is totally unexpected, the wild (mid)west meets Minnesota spaghetti western meets the women's movement of pre-20th century Illinois. A blast. Special effects that are showstoppers because they are SO SILLY and Brian Beatty in delightful turn as narrator. Inspired!

As Good As Speech
by Mark Long Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Great cast. Very funny and silly. I think it would be appropriate for as young as 12 or 13 if language isn't an issue for them.

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Saturday, 8/61:00 p.m. 
Sunday, 8/77:00 p.m. 
Monday, 8/810:00 p.m. 
Wednesday, 8/108:30 p.m. 
Saturday, 8/132:30 p.m. 

U of M Rarig Center Thrust venue information
330 21st Ave. S, Main Floor

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