Like a character in a 19th-century “Rushmore,” Edgar Allan (Katie Hartman) aims to conquer, at age 11, the “finest boarding school in all of England.” He’s an odd little fellow, speaking in precocious rhymes and overdramatic flourishes. Edgar, however, finds himself bested at every turn by another Edgar Allan (Nick Ryan). After jousting for dominance, they form a boyish bond that is sullied by betrayal, providing for a very “Cask of Amontillado” denouement. The uneven tone is punctuated by ukulele ditties and wry laughs, mostly from the very deadpan Ryan.
(10 p.m. Sun., 7 p.m. Tue., 5:30 p.m. Sat., 2:30 p.m. next Sun.; Theatre Garage, 711 W. Franklin Av.)
Into the Unreal City
Playwright Gemma Irish is a romantic, writing with sincerity and intimacy. She and producer/composer Mark Sweeney take the audience on a literal journey of the heart — and Minneapolis’ West Bank — with catchy songs and prose that leaves you humming the tune into the next Fringe show. This rom-com tells a familiar story of boy (Zeke) meeting girl (Bret) in a convincing, non-cheesy way that melts your heart, brings a smile to your face and adds pep to your step. Remember to wear comfy shoes; you will be standing and walking for the entire show.
(7 p.m. Sun.-next Sun.; Rarig Arena, 330 21st Av. S.)
Vox Medusa’s modern-day take on the ancient tale of Ariadne and the Minotaur contemplates the beast within. The monster is the creation of the fearful inner voices and disturbing visions that plague us all. Choreographer Kristin Freya gives her dancers a slinky demonic edge. Choir director Emily Colay’s crisp vocals are like siren songs. Alexandria West is a suitably skeptical contemporary Ariadne. This show wanders off its narrative path at times, but just keep following the threads — they lead to an uplifting ending.
(8:30 p.m. Sun., 8:30 p.m. Thu., 1 p.m. Sat., 5:30 p.m. next Sun.; Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Av. S.)
Like “Proof,” David Auburn’s most famous drama, “Fifth Planet” involves a passionate amateur doubted by a real scientist. Mike (Edwin Strout), a janitor at an observatory who is in a troubled marriage, likes to go to grassy hilltop at night to watch the stars. As he looks through his telescope, he encounters Dr. Veronica Babcock (Julie Ann Nevill), a real and haughty astronomer. Their fortunes change and worlds intersect in unexpected ways in this playlet that has 44 scenes delivered in 55 minutes. Staged with a soft wonder by Jean Wolff, it is worth a look if only to see Strout play two characters in the arrestingly funny Trigger Happy scene.
(5:30 p.m. Sat., 2:30 p.m. Sun., 10 p.m. Wed., 5:30 p.m. Sat.; Theatre in the Round, 245 Cedar Av. S.)
Crime and Punishment
Live Action Set has constructed far and away the most intricate and multifaceted show in many years of the Fringe. This is really an art installation in the basement of the Soap Factory. It’s a village with dirty corners, tawdry dancers, shabby homes and an ominous interrogation room. If you squint in the darkness (behind the plastic mask each audience member must wear) you can catch a fleeting glimpse of the story, but this experience is all about atmosphere and actors mixing in with patrons. It’s cool, but after half an hour, you feel you’ve seen it all.
(8:30 & 10 p.m. Sat., 8:30 p.m. Sun., 8:30 p.m. Thu., 8:30 & 10 p.m. Fri., 8:30 & 10 p.m. Sat., Soap Factory, 514 2nd St. SE)
This series of vignettes performed by four inexplicably barefoot actors is self-indulgent theater at its most annoying. Inspired by the psychological after-effects of a harrowing real-life car accident experienced by co-writer and cast member Sara Pillatzki-Warzeha, the sketches depict problems ranging from minor (being taller than all the other girls) to major (infertility, a classmate’s suicide). But getting all shouty and histrionic where subtlety is called for is the shortest route to audience alienation. The basic rule for compelling performance is the same as for writing: Show, don’t tell. And put some shoes on.
(10 p.m. Sun., 8:30 p.m. Tue., 5:30 p.m. Fri., 7 p.m. next Sun.; Rarig Arena, 330 21st Av. S.)