Theater

Reviews of theater productions, both traveling and originating in Minnesota.

Noises Off at the Guthrie Is So Nice I Saw It Twice

It is said that theater is the result of a series of happy accidents magically culminating in a successful show. While that criminally understates the efforts of a staggering number of people—most of whom never even get the satisfaction of taking a bow for all their work—there is some truth to it. Any show can be tanked if the simply astonishing number of moving parts does not all line up just right. Throw in Murphy’s Law, “Anything can go...

The Guthrie Brings Fire to an Arctic Frankenstein

Frankenstein: Playing with Fire was originally mounted in the late 1980s by the Guthrie Theater shortly after the publication of the play written by Minnesotan Barbara Field. I saw it then, a fact I mention only as trivia really, as I can’t recall much beyond enjoying it and being impressed by the more graphic flourishes. Still, that earlier production can stand as a point of reference, as this current staging has some retro flair that gives it an ’80s...

Curie Me Away Is a Radioactive Musical Romp

What’s that? A musical production steeped in physics, biology, and chemistry concepts that also tells the compelling story of one of the most important women of science who ever lived? That pitter-patter you hear is my nerdy little heart waking up and capering about like a puppy hearing a ringing bell. Where can you find such a thing? Try the Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater, where Matheatre’s Curie Me Away is on stage this weekend. This show is a delightful romp through the...

Remy Raygun of the Space Brigade: A Build-Your-Own Space Opera Will Be a Family Hit at the Minnesota Fringe Festival

The Choose Your Own Adventure books by R. A. Montgomery were a staple of my preteen years. I enjoyed the sci-fi/fantasy stories, but most of all I loved being able to have an impact on the direction of the story—and when it ended too early, I could cheat back to the spot where I’d made the fatal decision in hopes of a more favorable outcome. I was in control of the story. Remy Raygun of the Space Brigade: A...

Chromera’s Peek Is a Strange Sci-Fi Adventure at Minneapolis’s Red Eye Theater

There is a new theater ensemble in town, and their first show is something to not be missed. Søren Olsen, formerly of 600 Whale, and Dolo McComb, formerly of the dance trio //CATHEDRAL\\, have teamed up to create the Lesser Lamps, which is, in their words, a “far-out dance theatre hybrid.” Combine their interests in sci fi, the occult, metaphysics, and fantasy along with their graphic novel obsessions and spiritual practices, and you get, as they describe it, the “bizarro...

Theater Mu’s The Princess’ Nightingale Is a Dazzling Flight of Fancy

Delightful. That’s the word that captures the experience of seeing The Princess’s Nightingale, directed by Randy Reyes of Theater Mu at SteppingStone Theatre in St. Paul. Incorporating singing, dancing, and fighting (plus writing), the show will grab your attention from the moment the curtain rises and hold it throughout. Though a loose adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Nightingale,” The Princess’ Nightingale is given its own voice by playwright Damon Chua. In fact, despite the two stories...

Rated G: The Improvised Family Friendly Musical Is Rated H For Hysterical

One of the great things about improv is that it results in shows that are never the same twice—which really takes the pressure off a reviewer vis-à-vis any possible spoiler infractions. More surprising to those unfamiliar with the form is how, in the hands of skilled artists, what results from a simple topic suggestion is a strangely coherent melange of a show that is astonishingly fun for both audience and actor alike. Rated G: The Improvised Family Friendly Musical,...

In Fearless Five: Conspiracies, They Are Out to Get You—to Laugh

As soon as I walked in out of the frigid February night and saw the vintage Simplex film projector in the lobby of the Mounds Theatre, casually aimed at a signboard displaying a poster for A Klingon Christmas Carol, I thought I was in a pretty nifty theater. When I moved into the auditorium itself and saw the full-size TARDIS, door invitingly ajar, I knew that this was my kind of place. If you’re wondering whether I immediately ran...

Dance and Theater Combine for A Rap on Race, Revamped

It was a simple conversation that changed the nation. Two people, black author James Baldwin and white anthropologist Margaret Mead, sat down and talked about race back in 1970. Nearly five decades later, that moment in time is being brought back to life in the form of an arts hybrid of sorts by Spectrum Dance Theater out of Seattle. The troupe is now on tour with its take on A Rap on Race, and that tour stopped at the...

The Way Out Experiment Lives Up to Its Name

Arriving early so I could get a good seat, I sat, knees practically touching the stage. The Bryant-Lake Bowl theater slowly filled up to the accompaniment of unsettling music: a soft bell tolling in the distance, anxious descending strings, alarmed horns, and occasionally that most disturbing instrument (at least to Americans), the accordion. The red curtain moved back and forth as if a tremendous beast lay breathing on the other side. All in all, a fit setting for the...
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