Sunday, August 07, 2022

Fringe 2022 - 5 and 4.5 Star Shows - VERY Highly Recommended

Running list of 5 and 4.5 star Fringe shows I saw in Fringe 2022 (in alphabetical order), with links to more content, all VERY highly recommended:

5 Star Shows

Ancestors Rising - Goddard’s Gardens (Joe Davis)

Tweet review: #mnfringe Ancestors Rising: @JoeDavisPoetry is a brilliant poet and performer overflowing with creativity and positivity; his way with words (and an audience) is mesmerizing; someone get this guy a bigger crowd; crazy good and inspiring - 5 stars

Full review here

Arsgang: What You Follow Follows You - The Winding Sheet Outfit

Tweet review: #mnfringe Arsgang: What You Follow Follows You - They're so good at creating these creepy, melancholy meditations on mortality and loss that I even enjoy being faked out, repeatedly, by what I think the plot and characters are; just lovely - 5 stars

Full review here

Aureate - The Pilot Dance Project

Tweet review: #mnfringe Aureate: I’ve seen a lot of great/fun dance at Fringe but Pilot Dance Project is just… whoa; gorgeous work, the concept, use of sound and light, costumes, precision of the bodies in motion; I have to come up with better words, just see it - 5 stars

Full review here



Black Wall Street: Dreamland Theatre - Doc Woods and Friends

Tweet review: #mnfringe Black Wall Street: Dreamland Theatre - well worth the extra effort to get in to see this one. Fine period detail with a sense of dread since I knew what was coming - 5 stars


Erotica For Houseplants - Tom Reed

Tweet review: #mnfringe Erotica For Houseplants: If @tbreed wants to read me naughty plant stories, sing some songs and imitate a bee, I’m down for that. Laughing for 50 minutes is good for the soul - 5 stars

Full review here




Gemini: A Magic Show - Noah Sonie

Tweet review: #mnfringe Gemini: A Magic Show - funny and amazing to the point of almost freaking me out; Noah Sonie can read his fellow humans so well, he appears to literally read their minds; no idea how he does it, but it's a kick to watch - 5 stars




He-Man Is The Devil and Other Satanic Panic Tales - Kyle B. Dekker

Tweet review: #mnfringe He-Man Is The Devil and Other Satanic Panic Tales: @kbdekker shares his upbringing in abusive Christian fundamentalist family and community (and how he escaped) w/sense of humor and an open heart; compelling stuff - 5 stars

Full review here

Help Me Help You Help Yourself - Your Silent Partner (Danny Wightkin)

Tweet review: #mnfringe Help Me Help You Help Yourself: come help a clown make a delightful mess @hugetheater with an array of funky outfits, dancing, unexpected challenges, callbacks and candy (for starters); more clever fun than can be summarized in a tweet - 5 stars

Return trip: #mnfringe Help Me Help You Help Yourself: just as fun as the first time; bigger crowd w/a lot of theater folx mixed in, kept things lively, made clean up more efficient after :)

Full review here


The Hysterical Woman - Fortune's Fool Theatre

Tweet review: #mnfringe The Hysterical Woman: What a great show to end this year's Fringe on; timely subject matter, well-crafted script, wonderful cast, sublimely executed; sad that the urgency is so warranted, but very glad I got a chance to listen - 5 stars

I think we are supposed to be 'Coming of Age' by now... - LCcreations

Tweet review: #mnfringe I think we are supposed to be 'Coming of Age' by now... Lily Conforti and her fellow dancers continue to create joyful, beautiful, energetic dance, this time in collaboration w/live alt-rock band Oister Boy; revel in the dance party - 5 stars

Full review here


 Jesus Qhrist - Christopher Kehoe

Tweet review: #mnfringe Jesus Qhrist: it was the Q part I was nervous about; I knew Christopher Kehoe and Jesus would be just fine; turns out it’s a lot of those two, and the Q is well-used so… you thought I might not give Jesus 5 stars? It’s 5 stars, pitch perfect satire, genuine good will

Additionally (pre-show): #mnfringe I don’t say this every day at the Fringe but I wondered for a minute if I was going to be allowed to see Jesus, but (phew) Jesus was not yet sold out  


Joteria: Our Untold Stories... - Gabriel Mata and Adrian Gaston Garcia

Tweet review: #mnfringe Joteria: Our Untold Stories... @GabrielMata91 in a more intimate venue, w/co-star Adrian Gaston Garcia, still serving up gorgeous dance but now also spicy comedic dialogue, spoken word, fabulous costumes, and tasty snacks - 5 stars 

Return trip: #mnfringe Joteria: Our Untold Stories... (2nd viewing) Got even more out of this 5-star show seeing it for a 2nd time (Wed 8:30pm) - They're closing tonight Thurs 8/11 8:30pm, catch 'em while you still can

Full review here


Life Underground - Brad Lawrence

Tweet review: #mnfringe Life Underground: Brad Lawrence is such a natural, amusing and charismatic storyteller that it’s easy to forget how hard it is to tell a good story well. One of the best - 5 stars

Full review here




Lot o' Shakespeare - Tim Mooney

Tweet review: #mnfringe Lot o' Shakespeare:@TimMooneyRep is remarkable; how he's crammed all that Shakespeare into his head and then can just pull it out at random based on chance boggles the mind, and is great fun to watch - 5 stars




Moonwatchers - Killer Whale Collective (Nigel Berkeley & Corey Quinn Farrell)

Tweet review: #mnfringe Moon Watchers: goofy, profane, inventive, adorable, just a hell of a lot of fun; 2 guys populate a tale of custodians who must work to recover a stolen moon (also a cow and cowboy fall in love) - 5 stars

Full review here



My Empty Arms - Sheree Froelich

Tweet review: #mnfringe My Empty Arms: Sheree Froelich recounts the absurdity/cruelty of what it's like to be pregnant, want to keep the child, and live in a society that makes it impossible to do anything but give it up for adoption; devastating and beautiful - 5 stars


One-Woman Beaches - Alisa Rosenthal

Tweet review: #mnfringe One-Woman Beaches: Alisa Rosenthal is a comedic whirlwind of song, dance, and multiple personalities covering all of the 1988 movie Beaches plus a sampling of her own theatrical upbringing - 5 stars




Orzel Rising - Hey Rube!

Tweet review: #mnfringe Orzel Rising: just a perfect little historical adventure tale of the last Polish submarine in WWII beating the odds vs Nazis; humor, bravery, inventive use of props (toy sub, pom-poms), great staging, fun and inspiring - 5 stars




The Real Black Swann, Confessions of America's First Black Drag Queen - Kurkendaal-Barrett Presentations

Tweet review: #mnfringe The Real Black Swann, Confessions of America's First Black Drag Queen:
@leskurkendaal continues to challenge himself, making each new solo show better than the one before it; fascinating mix of the historical and personal - 5 stars

Full review here


ShMILF Life - Penny Sterling

Tweet review: #mnfringe ShMILF Life: is it really never too late to make a change? @sterling_penny contemplates this with a lot of humor but just as much honesty; perfect way to start my Fringe - 5 stars

Full review here

Silver Hammer - The Coldharts

Tweet review: #mnfringe Silver Hammer: @thecoldharts offer up more personal tale of paranoia this time. Nick Ryan holds the stage solo, gets my brain to hear "tired" topics (COVID, Russians, disinformation) in new, intriguing ways; delightful little mindf**k - 5 stars

Full review here



Stars of the Twin Cities - Sam and Bethany Walker

Tweet review: #mnfringe Stars of the Twin Cities: quite possibly the cutest Fringe show I have ever seen; 3 person band (electric guitars/melodica) plays along with whimsical film about colorful clay stars invading the Twin Cities; delightful, refreshing, different - 5 stars

Return trip: #mnfringe Stars of the Twin Cities: just as charming and peculiar as it was the first time I saw it; I may have to download the music; their crowd size more than doubled, which made me happy :)

Full review here


The Witchy World of Luna Muse - Luna Muse (Cam Pederson)

Tweet review: #mnfringe The Witchy World of Luna Muse: part drag show, part story time, part confessional, Cam Pederson’s glittery supernatural alter ego creates a charming and welcoming world to kick back in for a while; this witch knows how to put on a show - 5 stars

Additionally (pre-show): #mnfringe And how to you cleanse your mind after seeing Jesus quote Tr*mp? You see a drag queen. Help me, Luna Muse!

Full review here


WHOOSH! The Civil War Mythology of Michael Hickey and His Perilous Precipitation Over St. Anthony Falls - Andrew Erskine Wheeler

Tweet review: #mnfringe Whoosh! (followed by long subtitle): I'm just repeating all the effusive praise everyone else has deservedly heaped on this show at this point - amazing actor, amazing script, amazing show; if you like good theater, you should see this - 5 stars



Wounded Healers - Timothy Berry

Tweet review: #mnfringe Wounded Healers: intense condensation of just a sampling of the history of black trauma in America; gifted speakers connecting through honest emotion and song - 5 stars

Full review here

4.5 Star Shows

The Best Jester - Neuro-Digusted

Tweet review: #mnfringe The Best Jester: it's a choose your own adventure drag jukebox musical; that should be enough to get most people in the door, you know if you're the audience for this one; a fabulous, wacky, glorious mess; attend and enjoy! - 4.5 stars




The Biggest Wail From The Bottom of My Heart - RE|dance group

Tweet review: #mnfringe The Biggest Wail From The Bottom of My Heart: so great to have RE|dance group back live onstage again; joy in motion, even when they’re angry and fed up with the world sometimes (only here thru Monday, catch ‘em now!) - 4.5 stars




Bob and Reggie Go To Bed - Comedy Suitcase

Tweet review: #mnfringe Bob and Reggie Go To Bed: mishaps w/pajamas, magical bed transference, battles w/the Tooth Fairy, the 4th wall completely breaks down, plus a dance off; you know, the usual - 4.5 stars

Full review here

Developers - Michael Rogers

Tweet review: #mnfringe Developers: Michael Rogers and his collaborators always find a clever way to make me care (deeply) about folks with whom (I think) I have nothing in common; this time it's video game creators - 4.5 stars

Full review here 


The Dog Show - Mairzie Dotes Productions (Mary Jo Pehl)

Tweet review: #mnfringe The Dog Show: With a wry sense of humor, Mary Jo Pehl recounts her unexpected entry into married life and dog ownership, then just as unexpected widowhood and caring for a furry child on her own - 4.5 stars




Finger Lickin' Good - Special When Lit

Tweet review: #mnfringe Finger Lickin' Good: the sheer volume of comedic talent stuffed into this one Fringe show is ridiculous; VERY loosely based on the life of a very horny Colonel Sanders of KFC fame; very funny, but chickens will have their revenge - 4.5 stars




Jon Bennett: Fire In The Meth Lab - 2Hoots Productions

Tweet review: #mnfringe Fire In The Meth Lab: Jon Bennett is a gifted alchemist, turning the terrifying things that drugs do to his brother Tim and their family into something (disturbingly) hilarious - 4.5 stars




The Local Music Scene - Philip Simondet

Tweet review: #mnfringe Local Music Scene: local musician sings their songs, chats with improvisers who create comedic scenes inspired by lyrics and personal info; good music, good improv, good times - 4.5 stars

Full review here



The Marvelous Magpie Moon - Deer Child Puppets (Ava Adderly)

Tweet review: #mnfringe Marvelous Magpie Moon: just as charming, strange and occasionally dazzling as I expected it to be; puppetry, shadows and wordplay create a modern “grim” fairytale - 4.5 stars

Full review here



She's Already Gone - Laura Deirke Productions

Tweet review: #mnfringe She’s Already Gone: hard to not give the game away; teenagers created impressive original musical that’s actually about something; lovely voices; problematic character choices but that’s kinda what fascinates; points for just going for it; nicely done - 4.5 stars

Full review here

Slender Vale - Oncoming Productions

Tweet review: #mnfringe Slender Vale: improvised tale of terror built from 3 creepy prompts pulled from deck of cards by narrator; ensemble populates the town, this time explores what lurks in the mausoleum at the church graveyard; every show a new story - 4.5 stars


swim team - The Aquatic Center

Tweet review: #mnfringe swim team: Still thinking about this one, which is good; still a bit confused (which might be deliberate); 3 young women on a swim team engage us in non-linear sometimes nonsensical episodes; fascinating - 4.5 stars




Swords and Sorcery: The Improvised Fantasy Campaign - The Bearded Company

Tweet review: #mnfringe Swords and Sorcery: First packed house I’ve seen this year. Just as fun as the other 2 Fringes I saw them. The gay stuff as an easy joke (for them and the audience) is starting to make me a little uneasy, though - 4.5 stars



3 Guys On Stage Who Get Hit With Hot Dogs, Snow Cones, Etc. - an alleged Theatre Company (Jake Mierva, Joseph McIntyre Godwin, and Danylo Loutchko)

Tweet review: #mnfringe 3 Guys/Hot Dogs etc.: Torn; they executed the concept perfectly but I kept thinking 1) tired of stories where cruelty wins; 2) waste of food and water; they’re *really* good; I just may not be their audience (sigh) - 4.5 stars




(You can click on the following links to see a set of links to reviews of all the 5 and 4.5 star shows (VERY highly recommended), 4 and 3.5 star shows (highly recommended) as well as other shows, plus the full Top 10 list, the Top 11-20 list, a list of returning favorites, and the full coverage of the 2022 Fringe on this blog.) 

(Side note: The primary may be over, but the midterm elections are coming up soon. Early voting for the election starts Friday, September 23 (so, not much more than a month after Fringe is over). You can check out what's on your ballot ahead of time on the Minnesota Secretary of State website, as well as other voting services and information - like handy links to all the candidates who have websites so you can learn more.  In Minneapolis, not only do we have the Governor and Lt. Governor on the ballot, but there's our U.S. Congressional Rep., our MN State Senator, the MN Secretary of State and MN Attorney General, as well as our County Sheriff and County Attorney, and two members of the Minneapolis School Board.  These are the people who decide what laws we live under and how they get enforced.  These are the people who decide whether or not we have voting rights.  These are the people who decide how our kids learn.  This is how we change things.  Personally, I'm alternately furious and despairing that my goddaughter and her little sister now have fewer rights over their own bodies than they did when 2022 began. There are things we can do, voting in the general election is one of them - if you're looking to volunteer, here's a place to learn more.)




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