Growing up yo-yo

  • Updated: August 7, 2012 - 2:52 PM

And short reviews of other Fringe shows, from a sociology debate to a “Romeo & Juliet” spoof.

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Portrait of the Artist as a Yo-yo Man, with David Harris.

Portrait of the Artist as a Yo-yo Man

Dynamically delightful David Harris performs dazzling and goofy Yo-Yo tricks as he relates his teenage experience. That was when he attended Yo-Yo conferences and met the previous generation's Yo-Yo champions. After all, as he points out, the 1950s and '60s were the Golden Age of Yo-Yo artistry. In addition, Harris inhabits his entire physical form in other feats where he tumbles over and balances his full weight on folding chairs while moving his body in various directions. The presentation is charmingly assisted by 15-year-old "Drummer Man" Sam Mistry. (5:30 p.m. Wed., 10 p.m. Fri., Rarig Xperimental, 330 21st Av. S.)

JOHN TOWNSEND

Sneak Thief

Poor, hapless Bruce Schwartz -- everyone thinks he's a great guy, but his endless screw-ups keep getting him fired. While perusing the want ads, Bruce finds an unlikely career as a diamond thief's apprentice. This is a genuinely funny and endearing show about a lovable loser attempting to find his place in the world, and inadvertently helping a hardened thief to find a heart he didn't know he had. As good as the script is, the show is carried by the delightful ensemble performances of Brant Miller, Tim Hellendrung and Debs Halloway. (7 p.m. Wed., 1 p.m. Sat., 7 p.m. Sun., Mixed Blood, 1501 S. 4th St.)

BRIAN LEEHAN

The Complete Works of William Shatner (abridged)

The genesis of this show was undoubtedly late in the night, and deep into the last keg, of a theater party: Everyone who could stand was doing their best "worst" William Shatner imitation. Perhaps I should see this one-note/one-joke show again -- drunk. Every clichd, over-acted "Captain Kirk," "T.J. Hooker" and "Priceline Negotiator" mannerism and vocal affectation is played to death. There are a few amusing insider jokes for Trekkies, and the show offers a good solid eight minutes of fun. The problem is the other 42 minutes. (5:30 p.m Fri., 4 p.m. Sun., Rarig Thrust, 330 21st Av. S.)

BRIAN LEEHAN

Storms Beneath Her Skin

You think you've got problems -- try being born the wrong gender. Rebecca Kling delivers a frank and sometimes verbally graphic tour de force of her journey from a she who's a he into the "she" she's meant to be. You'll discover that the concept of gender is a little more slippery than you realized. Through powerful original prose, poetry and movement, Kling educates and entertains. Definitely not for the judgmental or those squeamish about graphic language and verbal imagery. A powerful and important story and message. (4 p.m. Fri. & Sun., Patrick's Cabaret, 3010 Minnehaha Av. S.)

BRIAN LEEHAN

Joe Dowling's Williams Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet on the Moon

Christopher Kehoe wrote a brilliant, non-stop satire around an intergalactic, interspecies "Romeo and Juliet." Along with skewering that style of post-modern, high-concept production, he juxtaposes the Shakespeare with perspectives from a variety of wild characters. Kehoe wrote the best role for himself as an effete critic, indulging in arrogant verbosity. Dawn Brody as a professor spewing a militant feminist interpretation is equally hilarious. Director Natalie Novacek mines the full comic potential of the material. For all the comedy, Kehoe ends the piece with a celebration of the transformative power of theatre. (1 p.m. Sat., 7 p.m. Sun., Theatre in the Round, 245 Cedar Av.)

WILLIAM RANDALL BEARD

Ivory Tower Burning

Fifty-two years ago iconic professors Talcott Parsons and C. Wright Mills embodied two competing major views of sociology. Playwright Jay Gabler has imagined a fictional 1960 meeting between the two at Harvard that exquisitely integrates intellectual ideas with the corresponding passions such ideas elicit. Parsons sees society as detached categorical forms. Mills hones in on the suffering of the dispossessed. Gabler himself plays Parsons and his brother, Joe, plays Mills. They vividly capture the polemical spirit of the Cold War Era shortly before the Bay of Pigs and Vietnam experiences. (8:30 p.m. Wed., 7 p.m. Sat., Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St.)

JOHN TOWNSEND

Steel Kiss

A powerful act of homophobic violence permeates Robin Fulford's play. But its fragmentary structure and Scott Gilbert's stylized direction make it difficult to follow the complex narrative and multiple characters. The script takes a progressive perspective, trying to indict a culture of violence and abuse to raise sympathy for the perpetrators, making them into victims as well. But the script and the four actors (Jay Kistler, DJ Gierhart, Myles W. Wendt and John Potter) are too accurate in their portrayals to engender much but rage for the thugs. The ending becomes far too preachy. (5:30 p.m. Thu., 2:30 p.m. Sun., Rarig Thrust, 330 21st Ave. S.)

WILLIAM RANDALL BEARD

  • related content

  • Sneak Thief, the International League of Diamond Thieves

  • Hannah Steblay in "Joe Dowling's William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet on the Moon."

  • MINNESOTA FRINGE FESTIVAL

    What: 164 shows, and more than 800 performances in an 11-day festival.

    When: Weekdays, beginning at 5:30, with last show at 10 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., beginning at 1 p.m. Ends Aug. 12.

    Where: 14 venues in Minneapolis, one in St. Paul.

    Tickets: $12 individual shows. Must purchase $4 Fringe button. Multi-show passes, 1-866-811-4111 or www.fringefestival.org.

    Web: Listings and reviews at www.startribune.com/onstage.

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