Theater

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

Imagination Is the Ultimate Escape in The Terror Fantastic

There’s something refreshing about attending a play put on by a smaller theater company. Larger productions can certainly be dazzling, yet they can also feel a trifle overproduced. The expensive sets, the slickly tailored costumes, the perfect sound and effects can actually distance an audience from the immediate experience, and the show becomes more akin to television—something experienced at an emotional remove. Not so with 20% Theater Company’s world premier of The Terror Fantastic by Nicole Jost at the...

The Marriage of Figaro Is a Modern Story of Class Struggle, Dressed in Wigs

Overdressing, cross-dressing, undressing, and a healthy dose of social critique are just a few of the delights offered by the Minnesota Opera’s production of classic opera The Marriage of Figaro. Figaro, our charismatic hero and the personal valet to Count Almaviva, just wants his wedding day to go smoothly. However, his capable fiancée, Susanna, senses trouble afoot. Their boss wants to claim his droit du seigneur: the master’s right to sleep with a servant on her wedding night. To make things...

Swandive Theatre’s mONSTER Explores the Secrets Behind the World Wide Web

When I started college in the mid-1990s, worldwide access to the Internet had been around for a little over a year. I remember the excitement as I received my university-issued laptop and scored one of those AOL floppy disks that gave me 50 hours of web access, free of charge. On any given night, my kitchen was full of fellow students spending countless hours exploring the web, mainly spending them in chat rooms. We went through a lot of...

10 Shows to See at Minnesota Fringe 2017

The three most important things I’ve learned (so far) in my first-ever year of attending the Minnesota Fringe Festival are: Schedule in time for food or bring snacks along with you. There is no way you will see all the shows you want to see. Most importantly, there is a tremendous amount of talent in the Twin Cities. I have had the pleasure, and in some cases the displeasure, to attend over a dozen shows so far. Here are...

Fearless Comedy Combines Improv and Reddit in a New Monthly Show

What happens when you cross improv theater with a popular social news and discussion website? You get r/WhatTheImprov, produced by Fearless Comedy Productions and playing monthly at Honey in Minneapolis. You also get adults laughing hysterically at other adults crawling on stage mooing at each other. r/WhatTheImprov was developed by actor and Redditor Kyle Dekker. After a few years of reading the entertaining and not-so-entertaining comments on the site, Kyle decided to bring it to the stage. The actors...

Human Combat Chess Is Back with Duels, Banter, and Fun

It’s back! Human Combat Chess from Six Elements Theatre is returning to the stage—which is to say chess board—to once again battle for a championship title. After a grueling season it comes down to two teams: the Legion and the Celts. Last year I was introduced to Midwest Combat Chess League’s Human Combat Chess via the 2016 All-Star Tournament, which was not only very entertaining but also educational. I had no idea Human Combat Chess even existed (and in...

Anxiety! The Musical Confronts Mental Health with Song and Comedy

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Those with social anxiety disorder experience an intense fear of being scrutinized and negatively evaluated by others in social or performance situations. Some literally feel sick from fear in seemingly nonthreatening situations.” Simply defined, social anxiety is the fear of interacting with other people. But social anxiety can be selective. Anxiety! The Musical, presented by Fearless Comedy Productions at the Historic Mounds Theatre, is not a show that makes light...

It’s War, Love, and Ninjas in Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone

Qui Nguyen, the playwright behind the geeky She Kills Monsters, is back with another outstanding story that addresses stereotypes and social issues through humor and music. Vietgone, showing at Mixed Blood Theatre through April 30, is not a story about the war in Vietnam. It is not a story about the transitions to American life by Vietnamese refugees. It’s not even about the politics of both countries surrounding the war. No, according Nguyen—who himself features in the story, played...

Animal Engine Will Pull Your Heartstrings with Darlings, the Story of Peter Pan from a New Perspective

Earlier this week, you may have read on this site about Animal Engine Theatre Company, an ensemble recently relocated to Minneapolis that specializes in devised physical theater. Their production of Darlings is currently at the Southern Theater for a one-weekend run, and last night I had the opportunity to witness what other critics have raved about. There have been countless versions of J. M Barrie’s classic Peter Pan, but Darlings stands apart. Rather than being a straight retelling, it looks at the story from the perspective of...

Minnesota Tonight Brings You the Local News . . . Hilariously

Minnesota Tonight is a local news show delivering politics, headlines, and legislation content in an entertaining package, not unlike Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. Episodes tape at the Brave New Workshop every month, usually to sold-out audiences, and you can catch them after the fact on their website or their YouTube channel. I recently met up with founder and executive producer Jonathan Gershberg to learn more about this increasingly popular show. Gershberg, who is also the host of Minnesota...
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!