Years attending Fringe: This is my first year
25-34 years old
Lives in... Minneapolis
Favorite genre: Musical Theater
Christopher Allen's reviews
First Year Queer
This show (along with F@*k the 90's) blurs the line between performance and dialogue in a way that provides lots of entertainment while also bringing awareness to underrepresented communities. It brings your attention to your blind spots in a welcoming, not scolding, way. It's about bravery, acceptance, and the fact that we're all just people. Do us all a favor and get aware!
Fruit Flies Like a Banana: WORLD TOUR
I saw Fruit Flies last year, and they totally blew me away with their skill and their ingenuity. Now, they've come back and done it all over again with a whole new acrobatic, musical, vaudevillian explosion. If you want to have a flat-out great time this Fringe, start here!
F@*k the 90s
An Important Show
This is a show that is almost not a show at all. It has a storytelling style that is not a performance, but a dialogue, which makes it feel more like a communal conversation about grief. And that's great. It was a night well spent, and it's an important reminder that we are all fighting our own battles, while using 90's nostalgia to always bring the focus back to what we have in common. A show like this fosters connection in a real way. Don't miss out!
More than meets the eye!
Knifeslingin' had a great preview, but I wondered how it would stay fresh for an hour. Well, they showed me... Unlike some shows, it managed to deliver on the promise of its advertising and preview, while still providing plenty of surprises. Just when I thought they had bled a certain well dry, they'd reveal a new one. And amazingly, this silly script ended up having a message that actually makes you think without bashing you over the head with its own opinion. When regarding an issue that has so many gray areas, I appreciate that. And Motz is fantastic!
Always On Point
Honestly, there is nothing bad to say about Blackout. Just like their monthly shows, it takes extremely talented improvisors and gives them free reign to skewer a number of social issues. The shining star is their Swag Hat, which starts with a round-table discussion of the issue before the performers begin playing with it. It's a great way to bring these issues into an open forum, making it a night of laughs and awareness. I found myself looking at the clock again and again, because I was afraid it was going to end any second and I just kept wanting more. It fills up fast, so put it on your schedule and show up early!
Stranger-er Things: Netflix and KILL
Funny & Talented
Obviously, this show is not for everyone. If you haven't seen Stranger Things, it might still be fun to watch because Tom is such a talented performer, but honestly you need the source material. That being said, Tom is great. He's a solid character actor, singer and writer. The show is funny, and though the jokes tend to hit the same notes throughout, they rarely get old. The live music helps break up dense monologue sections, leading to a well-rounded one man show and a fun night at the theatre.
Unique And Surprising
Spec makes no pretenses, it is one man reading short fiction that he wrote. It is more like a coffee house reading than a theatrical piece, but that being said: It's great. The stories are funny and surprising and even make you think. Ben tells them well and I left wanting even more. "The First Laugh" is also the hardest I laughed the whole festival.
ODD MAN OUT
Superb, now give us a second act!
This was a great script, delivered by a strong ensemble cast. A drama that kept the pace up and the plot moving forward (something a lot of shows need to learn how to do, honestly). As some other reviewers have said, it leaves some things open-ended, making us long for a second act. I'd love to see this show mounted somewhere full-length. I'd see it in a heart beat. And in case that doesn't happen, see it now while you still have the chance!
Loved the production, but not the play.
It's always nice to see something in Fringe that feels like it could be a full production. It had a functional set, was very well-rehearsed, and the cast was talented. The script, however, was hit and miss. Concerning religion versus sexuality, especially in the world of teenage romance, it did a stellar job. But, there were some plot developments that felt a little muddy and some other social issues that were brought up and then quickly under the rug, especially one gigantic one right near the end. I was always engaged, though, and I laughed a good deal. I'd recommend it.
Solid, but dry...
The script is decent and the story fun. Though with its camp and serious turns, it can't seem to decide whether it's a comedy or drama. The scenes can also feel a little dry and lengthy. Nonetheless, a solidly put together production. I enjoyed myself.
Ronald Reagan: Time Traveler
Fun (And Informative) Show
Like some reviewers have said, the script itself can be a little messy. That being said, there are plenty of laugh out loud moments (funnily enough, the most hilarious are when they're quoting Reagan directly) and the cast does a good job with it. Mitch Vosejpka in particular is a standout character actor and Isabel Middleton-Watts is solid as well. Shahd Elkhier was also very likable and deserved a much better reaction than the audience gave her. If you're a fan of historical humor, or general silliness, try it out!
Swords & Sorcery: The Improvised Fantasy Campaign
Fun, Fast, Fresh
This troupe is very talented and I commend them for keeping the same story fresh for nearly an hour. If you've ever watched a D&D stream, you'll know it can often get bogged down with rules and sheets, so it was smart to have the dungeon master make all the rolls and keep the pace up. Overall, I enjoyed myself greatly. I do wish they would've taken bigger swings, though. One of the characters pulled off a fun stunt right at the beginning of the night, which wowed the audience, so my expectations were high. But it was never matched in any of the other combats (and there were many), so they felt undewhelming. The real star is the character interactions, but D&D prompt larger-than-life action, so I wished they had really gone for it.
Songs of MN Summer
It took them a couple songs to hit their stride, but once they did, it became a funny and cute story with intertwining narratives. I was very impressed that they were able to do this on the spot, and even work in a heartfelt reprise. Recommended!
Interesting, but a little messy...
It's a very interesting concept, used to decent effect. However, it came off a little chaotic at times. There was so much going on and it didn't all seem to gel together. I think with a little bit of workshopping, this could be a truly great piece and I've honestly seen nothing like it. If you've got the time, try it out.
With this show, what you see is what you get. They do a couple different games with fun little twists, but it all boils down to the same formula: the performer reads a random book or movie script as a random celebrity. It's a good comedic tool, but it's the only one in their toolbox. They do a great job interacting with the crowd and making it a fun night, though. So, if you like impressions at all, it's worth a shot.
Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant: A New Musical
This show was a lot of fun. Not for the easily offended, so be warned, but I had a good time! Great music and very funny!
Broad Sex in the Twin Cities
Lots of fun!
This is a fun show, very much in the vein of Broad City more than anything else. Girl Theatre is doing good work. The only reason I don't give it five stars is because it can get a little messy and shouty at times, which gets in the way of its own comedy. But, worth seeing!
Funny. And very, very silly.
Wonderfully acted, though (ironically) I enjoyed it most when they were not making constant butt jokes. It did a great job of being funny and poking fun at the crime noir drama, and I loved those parts. But, they so often went for the low-hanging fruit and it cheapened the whole experience. But, it's called the Buttslasher. You get what you pay for, and nevertheless, I enjoyed myself.
Couple Fight 3: Weddings!
There are some Fringe shows that seem to be enjoyed most by the performers themselves or their friends and family. It had some truly funny moments, and even a nice message overall. But, I walked away feeling like it was made for and within a specific social circle, and being on the outside of that was a little alienating. It could be I just don't know enough people in the theatre, but...
Fun, Innovative, A Little Repetitive
First off, I love shows like this. It took something we don't see enough in theatre (like shadow puppetry) and used it in a variety of fun ways to create a unique experience. That being said, the pace does move along pretty slowly, and they'll repeat a gimmick over and over again before moving on to a new one. And that makes this short show feel very, very long. However, if you're truly itching to see something different (that actually lives up to that category), then see this.
The Murmur of Murder
Strong Start, Weak Finish
I loved the preview, and was happy to see it live up to the same kind of humor. At least at the beginning. About halfway, through, the play takes a sharp left turn and the plot starts to go completely off the rails. The jokes stop landing, because everything suddenly becomes so disjointed and the story we came to see is torn to shreds. I was so disappointed to see it end this way after such a strong start. That being said, the performers are very capable. It's simply the material that falls short.
The Pursuit of Awesome
Entertaining, but underwhelming...
David himself is very likable, and it's easy to get on his side and laugh along with his stories. However, the show itself felt too disjointed to me. Perhaps the general theme of "awesome" is too wide and could have used some focus. I found myself in the middle of a couple anecdotes thinking "why is he telling this story right now?" The stunts themselves were fun, and sometimes very impressive, but they were often built up so much by his monologuing that once he finally did the stunt, it came off as a little bit of a letdown. I had fun, but I really wanted more.
Intriguing, But Slightly Uneven
There were parts of this show I really liked. The dancers were talented, especially the small group of leading ladies. The concept was interesting and provided some strong moments on stage. However, the show seemed to have trouble staying focused. I would find myself drawn in by certain segments, cleverly using the audience data in a variety of ways, but then a more vanilla dance section would follow and take me out of it. Then the cycle would repeat. If you're an avid attendee of dance theatre, or the phrase "data-mining" sends a chill down your spine, I would recommend trying it out. But, I do wish it explored the subject a little more concretely.
Your Motivational Power Hour!
Not quite there...
The piece provides some laughs for anyone who's ever been in an office environment, and I honestly wished it would've stuck with that. But when it broadened out to the theme of motivation in general, it started to become disjointed and fall flat. It also feels very under-rehearsed, with the exception of Haddayr Copley-Jones (though her segment goes on far too long). The others are clearly having a good time and the message they're trying to get across is an admirable one, but they (and this piece) were just not ready. With some work, it could be something fun, but I was bored and often felt awkward watching it.