Cynthia Uhrich from the play "10:00, Bistro Caprice" by Ruth Virkus. It's part of the Fresh Five short-play series at Bedlam Theatre in Minneapolis. / Photo by Megan Engeseth

By John Townsend

If you're seeking something that captures the spirit of our time, catch 20% Theatre Company Twin Cities' hip and hellacious evening of five short plays that peer into date rape, thwarted group sex, transgender dating, and confused kids at Bedlam Theatre.

"Perfect Match," by Rachael Brogan Flanery is a chilling look at internet dating and trafficking of an especially horrific nature with gripping performances by Nicholas Nelson and Ali Rose Dachis directed by Leah Adcock-Starr.

The internet is not so terrifying in the endearing "Artichoke Hearts" by Anthony Neuman, who also plays the main role of a female-to-male transgender man seeking someone special. He's well matched with Lacey Piotter as a lesbian bartender. Director Nicole Wilder and lighting designer Ariel Pinkerton have created sensual silhouettes with live actors.

"10:00, Bistro Caprice" by Ruth Virkus is an uproarious take on a three-way sexcapade gone awry. Director Ellen Apel gets a deliciously outrageous performances from Cynthia Uhrich as a middle aged woman out of her element.

Two New York playwrights -Kathleen Warnock and Nina Mansfield- flew in for opening weekend. Warnock is actually series editor for Best Lesbian Erotica but her wonderful "Kid's Play," directed by Amber WR Miller looks at girlhood asexually with disarming performances by Valerie Falken and Courtney Miner.

Mansfield's stunning "Pedestrian Casualty: Bronx, USA" probes class, race and generational divisions in inner city schools. Sarah Broude and Darrail Hughes, both devastating, lead director Lindsey Cacich's solid cast.

John Townsend is a Minneapolis writer.

Tickets: Sliding Scale: $10-$20. 612-341-1038.
Who: Five new one act plays by various playwrights presented by 20% Theatre Twin Cities.
Where: Bedlam Theatre, 1501 So. 6th St., Mpls.
When: 7:30 p.m. Fri., Sat., & Sun. Ends Jan. 23. Pay what you can on Jan 18.


  Nicholas Nelson and Ali Rose Dachis in "Perfect Match" by Rachael Brogan Flanery /Photo by Megan Engeseth


Scene from "Pedestrian Casualty" by Nina Mansfield. / Photo by



Megan Engeseth