For this year’s Minnesota Fringe Festival (which continues through Sunday), we focused on the true newbs. These are artists who are dipping their toes in for the first time, who haven’t achieved the press and PR savvy that comes with experience, or who are simply too young and too green to have made a name for themselves. Here are the 10 of the best shows from Fringe newcomers.
10. ‘It Only Takes One: A New Musical’
7 p.m. Sat. • Rarig Xperimental
While the show’s pacing is staggered at times, this musical reaches out with heart, telling an on-and-off love story that tries to reassure even the most cynical among us that, sometimes, it only takes one to make a change.
9. ‘Slut Club’
5:30 p.m. Fri., 4 p.m. Sun. • Bryant-Lake Bowl
An intense, gutsy drama with a few good laughs. Five near-strangers spiral together toward a breakdown, achieving self-discovery through self-loathing, each at her own pace.
8. ‘Principia Discordia’
7 p.m. Thu., 1 p.m. Sat. • Rarig Arena
Albatross Creative Works’ lighthearted look at type and typecasting pits four outcast actors against the Goddess of Chaos in a bid to save the Fringe Fest from certain doom. A metafiction’s metafiction.
7. ‘Louder Than Words: Tales of Extreme Action’
5:30 p.m. Fri., 2:30 p.m. Sat. • New Century Theatre
A storytelling show in which four distinct performers take turns telling tales of game-changing decisions under pressure, each building on the theme in their own voice, from their own perspective.
7 p.m. Fri., 2:30 p.m. Sun. • Bryant-Lake Bowl
Light on dialogue, heavy on music and motion. “Tatterhood” is a gritty, stylized stage adaptation of an old Norwegian folk tale woven around narcissism and libido that relishes its own strangeness.
5. ‘Failure, a Love Story’
7 p.m. Fri., 2:30 p.m. Sun. • Illusion Theater
The story of three doomed sisters and the man who loved them all. A comedy with an underlying darkness, “Failure” tells a touching story and clings tightly to the tenet that having loved and lost is better than never having loved at all.
4. ‘Now I See’
7 p.m. Fri., 2:30 p.m. Sat. • Rarig Arena
A complex drama adapted from the transcript of a 1930s radio broadcast, in which two men relentlessly pursue success together, but never reach it. Notable for its fight choreography, live sound effects and vivid performances.
3. ‘Robbing Death’
8:30 p.m. Fri., 1 p.m. Sat. • Playwright’s Center
This new show from first-time company 3300 Productions blends a sitcom plot, some slapstick and a few running gags to tell the story of an inept burglar who befriends his first would-be victim. Staged comedies abound at Fringe, but only a handful of companies enjoy a solid reputation for doing them well. Right out of the gate, “Robbing Death” stands alongside the best of them, and adds its own distinct, youthful energy to the genre.
2. ‘Native Man the Musical’
8:30 p.m. Fri., 10 p.m. Sat. • Xperimental
One of the festival’s biggest surprise breakouts, this show spends an hour sharing real stories from and told by real American Indian men. “Native Man” is a rare example of nontraditional theater finding firm footing and a solid reception at the Fringe. An engaging cross between memoir and performance art that’s consistently packed its venue and awed its crowds.