The Raw Sugar group is presenting an often inspired collection of feminist comedy acts in The Funny! at the Bedlam stage in Lowertown St. Paul. Two affable co-hosts and the group’s co-artistic directors, Rebekah Rentzel and Jenny Moeller, streamline several original comic acts that give us a wondrous peek into some expert female comedy power being nurtured and developed in the Twin Cities. I watched them on Saturday night last week, June 6. Different artists appear at each performance. You’ll want to see this so you can say you saw them when……
Anna Sutheim, who impressed recently in Minnesota Jewish Theatre’s Jericho, performs a delightfully ironic piece about babysitting as an adult in an economy that seems to be rigged against the working class. It’s a can-do kind of message where a woman faced with financial limitations finds wildly unique ways to address it. This piece underscores an optimistic undercurrent underneath obstacles that many women face that runs throughout the entire The Funny! presentation. Rentzel and Moeller have assembled a group that doesn’t flinch from real problems women face, but which, as cliche as this sounds, finds a way to laugh about it.
Akiko Ostlund presents a scathingly accurate and hilarious piece about men who don’t gauge how their intimate sexual approaches with women can not only not work, but can even cause pain, misery, and boredom. This piece will also please men who have ever had sex with a man who 1. thinks his penis is God’s gift but 2. has no idea how to maneuver it erotically, nor any interest in exploring how he might do so. Ostlund is mischievously assisted by the charming Farrington Llewellyn as a man who can’t seem to wrap his mind around the possibility that sexual desire isn’t all about his organ. Again, Ostlund, like Sutheim, finds the humor in a difficult situation. Her concerns are not anti-male in the least. What she has to say can only improve lovemaking in which men are involved. This piece should be compulsory viewing for all men. I’d say Ostlund does us guys a favor.
Rana May’s hilariously self-deprecating style, the adorable singer-guitar duo of Rachel Petrie and Ben Dubois, and the Little Mermaid on bubble-wrap, Hattie Hsu, add to the evening’s vibrancy. And that Petrie has one lovely voice!
Other vibrant contributors include Andi Cheney, Paige Collette, Shannon Mae Leach, Sarah Parker, Madelyn Riley, and Molly Budke. The new Bedlam has a tasty, very reasonably priced restaurant with a bar. A friendly wait staff can serve you at your table while watching the show. I loved my kale dish.
Through June 13
Bedlam Theatre Lowertown, 213 E. 4th St., St. Paul