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A One-way Ticket to Crazy Town!

Something different
show image

A One-way Ticket to Crazy Town!

By The Adventures of Les Kurkendaal

Created by Les Kurkendaal

Les' mother is suffering from dementia and doesn't remember who he is. She remembers the rest of the family, just not him. So Les is going to tell his mother stories and hope they will jog her memory

Something different

GLBT content World premiere Solo show Storytelling/Spoken word

National/international company Includes artists of color

Just so you know, this show has
Adult language

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 12 and up

Other shows

Come join storyteller Les Kurkendaal on another journey .  Imagine having your very own mother not recognizing you . What do you do ? Well Les' mom has dementia and she doesn't remember him . The one  thing that Les can do well is tell a story . And that is what Les is going to do . Tell his mother as many stories as he can until her memory comes back .  Les Kurkendaal is a Los Angeles based storyteller and this is his 9th Minnesota Fringe .

Cast + crew

Les Kurkendaal
Role: N/A
Les Kurkendaal is a Los Angeles based storyteller who has been touring the Fringe Circut since 2000

Write a review

You will be able to write a review for this show during the festival.

User reviews

by Paula Nancarrow
Rating 5 stars
I found this show very moving, as anyone might who has recently faced the reality that they will not have the parent they have known all their life forever; and that even if that parent remains physically present, as they age they may lose aspects of their personality you have somehow assumed were immortal. Watching this happen can be heartbreaking, and the fact that Les tells this story with warmth and humor is especially helpful. I did want to know just how much of the framework was fact and how much was fiction. Because as a storyteller myself, I want narrative to have the magic power to bring my mother back – too much to have any capacity to look objectively at the trope.

Scheherazade in Texas
by Fringivitis Vulgaris
Rating 4 stars
Les Kurkendaal tells tales of his own life. He's always engaging, even if the subject matter is outside one's own experience. His mom, one of his lifelong supporters, is the center of this show about family, fear, caring, distance, and secrets. There's no happy ending with senile dementia, but Les's Mom isn't out of the game yet! Lovingly told, this is a "warm fuzzy" in the 2012 Fringe.

Really? That was good?
by Shelly Setten
Rating 2 stars
I wished I had a one-way ticket out about 10 minutes into this. This guy was very nice, but can't really tell a story. Seemed contrived and the timing was off. Aslo, I don't like going to theatre with agendas. I go to be entertained, not disparaged for my beliefs. This county was founded on freedom of religion but apparently not if you are a "certain" religion. It is somehow acceptable to disparage that one religion now, but all others are great, cool, and trendy!

Bravo, Les!
by Cato Brutus
Rating 5 stars
As a chronic Fringer, I love Les. I love him despite (or because of) his sometimes awkward deliveries, his verbal tics, and his occasional line stumbles.

This year, Les's delivery hasn't changed, but his story is probably his most compelling. His relationship to his mother, and the arc it takes, has real weight to it.

Most years, Les's shows are like a fun Sunday afternoon coffee break with your best friend. This year's show elevates it to something much more.

Never miss Les
by Publius McGee
Rating 4 stars
Les is such a frustrating writer it's amazing I love him as much as I do - his stories have gaps in detail that he forgets the audience doesn't know (because, after all, *he* knows the stories), and he clearly expects the significance to resonate without further explanation, which is maddening. But he is such an engaging, dynamic, personality-bursting-out-the-seams storyteller that I keep coming back over and over and over. Les is essential to the Fringe, and everyone should see him every year.

by luann monahan
Rating 5 stars
What a wonderfully touching story told by an amazing story teller. As someone who's mother is living with dementia, I have an incredible respect for Les and how he dealt with his mother in a very trying time. There were no props or set, just Les telling a very heart-felt and personal story - and he kept me engaged through the whole thing.

Tell me another!
by Bradley Johnson
Rating 4 stars
If you enjoy life experiences told in an engaging manner, you will like this show. Les has a natural knack for sharing stories of his life and I've been enjoying them for the last few years!

I Finally Get To See Les
by Mark Long
Rating 4 stars
He is such a good storyteller, very engaging and energetic. I'm sorry it has taken me this long to see him at the Fringe.

Hug your mom
by Valerie Stachour
Rating 4 stars
This show is a testament to the unconditional love of a mother, and how that love is returned by her son. After watching this show, I know I'll be making an extra effort to tell my mom how much I love her, while it is still meaningful to both of us.

A Charmer
by Joshua Humphrey
Rating 5 stars
Crosspost from my blog!

I saw Les Kurkendaal’s Nightmare in Bakersfield last year, and to any fan of the Minnesota Fringe, he is an incredible addition to our festival. The story he tells here is fresh from the creation bin, centered on his mother’s initial diagnosis of dementia and his efforts to keep her from becoming a ward of the state of Texas, which sounds like one of the worst things you could ever wish on a person. This sounds harrowing (the stakes are indeed high), but Les builds his narrative out of touching, humorous stories about him and his mother, from owning a badly named pooch to coming out gay. He’s a goddamn charmer.

My mind did not wander
by Beth Wegener
Rating 4 stars
Interesting stories well told within a cohesive framework which led to a satisfying close. Good, sincere performance with nice use of lighting effect but 1 star deduction for occasional repetitive phrasing/lack of polish.

Savor this storyteller
by Dwayna Paplow
Rating 4 stars
What a superb way past and present are woven together - writing I absolutely admire! The best part? Watching Les and his mother's relationship grow and evolve. His stories and this show come from a very personal place. It left me wanting to see more of Les - both his material and his other two Fringe appearances.

The power of memory
by Florence Brammer
Rating 3 stars
I always make sure to see Les Kurkendaal's performances. While this show seems a little rougher around the edges than others of his that I've seen, it features a great variety of heartfelt tales of Les' relationship with his mother. Les' storytelling is warm, earnest and evocative.

A good story well told.
by Eric Salo
Rating 4 stars
Les has natural charisma as a storyteller and paints a vivid picture of his mother as both an interesting person and someone you'd want to meet yourself. A very enjoyable show.

Cute Stories
by Sarah Lawrence-Lupton
Rating 3 stars
Cute family stories. This is like good story telling you might hear at home. Very meaningful to the family and generally cute but nothing superb. A few slip ups/ false starts on the lines were noticeable and a bit distracting. The story ended very gracefully and came full circle in a nice way. A decent Fringe show.

A positive Alzheimer's story
by Jon Skaalen
Rating 3 stars
I skipped my Alzheimer's support group to see if this story about a mother with dementia (will she recognize her son before the representatives of the great state of Texas lassoo her unfit self) worked. The situation allows a version of "1001 Nights" storytelling, although the outcome probably isn't in doubt. Good stories - could have been better if the framework had been less apparent. If they had all been real, hmm, pretty weird. But it seemed more storytelling than real.

Cleverly well done!
by Douglas Abbott
Rating 4 stars
My friend asked me how I liked One Way ticket to Crazy Town. I mentioned that Les did a great job telling the story, the small size of the audience made the performance feel intimate. My friend said, “Yeah Les is a great storyteller and is very good at reading his audience.” We were expertly guided through a rich and complex set of experiences, some of which only happened in the mind of one of the characters. The journey into the narrative was engaging, imaginative and a true delight. This performance is VERY well done by a talented and skilled performer/storyteller. Enjoy!

Woozy tot? Try a cetacean wink!
by Brian Watson-Jones
Rating 5 stars
I've seen many of Les' shows over the years, but this was the first time there was... I don't want to say stakes, there have always been stakes. But the stories he tells in this show have an internal importance that they haven't before- if he can't jog the memory of his mother and reconnect her with more of her past, she'll become a ward of the state of TX (widely considered A Bad Thing). This means that the stories not only have a deep reason internal to be in the show, but there's an ending that can't be presumed from how the show began, giving it a sense of uncertainty and need that I haven't seen before. Kudos to Les; this is well-worth seeing.

Excellent Storytelling!
by Tonya Miller
Rating 5 stars
Les is a fantastic storyteller. Alternating between stories of growing up and the battle to keep his mother from being a ward of the state of Texas, it is clear how personal this narrative is to him. And yet he never veered into overly sentimental territory, opting instead to emphasize the humor/absurdity of the situation and the obvious love he has for the woman who gave him life. Anyone struggling with aging parents will recognize themselves in this story. A sweet, funny tale told by an obvious professional.

Will make you want to go home and hug yo
by veronica vanbattenburg
Rating 5 stars
This show was a lovely mixture of heart and humor . Don't miss it.


Thursday, 8/25:30 p.m.
Tuesday, 8/78:30 p.m.
Wednesday, 8/88:30 p.m.This performance is audio described
Friday, 8/105:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8/111:00 p.m.


Patrick's Cabaret venue information
3010 Minnehaha Ave S