On the Townsend

By John Townsend October 21, 2010

Categories: Arts & Culture, Our Scene

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Spilling Me Softly: or Once the Gulf Goes Black, It Never Goes Back
Through Oct. 30
Brave New Workshop
2605 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls.
(612) 332-6620
www.bravenewworkshop.com

More inspired by the film Inception than the oil cataclysm, this sharply-acted revue boldly addresses Michele Bachmann’s homophobia, Tom Emmer’s tipping debacle, and Tea Party absurdities. It marks a double-growth spurt for director Caleb McEwen, who brings an uncharacteristic but effective surrealist edge to this show. He also codirects Dudley: Rigged for Success, History Theatre’s current wonderful biocomedy on Brave New Workshop founder Dudley Riggs.

Iris
Through Oct. 24
Red Eye Theater
15 W. 14th St., Mpls.
(612) 870-0309
www.redeyetheater.org

The Trojan War defined Ancient Greece. The abduction of Helen by Trojan Paris “launched a thousand ships,” and destroyed countless lives. Polarizing gender norms were calcified. Playwright Kevin Kautzman rethinks the catastrophe.

Director Steve Busa wonders, “Is this a new war? In truth, hasn’t there always been only one war that we fight over and over again?”

Anon
Through Oct. 30
Gremlin Theatre
2400 University Ave. W., St. Paul
(612) 227-1188
www.tctwentypercent.org

Sex addiction is such a touchy topic that some argue its very existence. But the Internet, along with probing portrayals like Michael Douglas’s in Solitary Man, show that a demand for discussion exists. Kate Robin’s play Anon looks into concerns like pedophilia fantasies, exhibitionism, and notions of incest.

20% Twin Cities Artistic Director Claire Avitable points out, “Sex addiction is rarely, if ever, shown onstage. I think bringing it to light could also be thought of as taboo, and I’m sure many companies would shy away from scripts such as this one.”

Michele! The Musical Bachumanntary
Through Oct. 30
Theatre Garage
711 W. Franklin Ave., Mpls.
(800) 838-3006
www.brownpapertickets.com

2010’s best comedy revue dares to go there—that being Janet Paone’s droll, daring, and delicious crossgender turn as the unmistakably repressed gay husband of a freakily religious Minnesota Congresswoman. Paone also titillates as a latent lesbian “madam” type who advises the wacky US Representative. Laura Adams’s vibrant Michele is rivetingly inane.

In a savage musical nod to Annie, Michael Paul Levin and James Detmar shine as well in crossgender turns as two “knocked-up” foster kids of the politician and her husband. Ahna Brandvik Logan delights in various roles.

John Gaspard’s video/film design and Michael Erickson’s music are marvelous.

Blithe Spirit
Oct. 27-31
Whitney Fine Arts Theatre
Minneapolis Community and Technical College
1424 Yale Pl., Mpls.
(612) 659-6118
www.minneapolis.edu

Gay master playwright Noel Coward captured the manner in which members of Great Britain’s Early-20th-Century upper crust were socially-defined.

Obie-winning director Maxine Klein observes, “In Blithe Spirit, it’s as if the characters stepped out of their definitions and onto the stage to delight and surprise their audience.”

Lavender columnist Julie Dafydd plays the coveted role of zany and mystical Madame Arcati.

Thrive! 25 Years of Living Positive
Through Nov. 7
Patrick’s Cabaret
3010 Minnehaha Ave. S., Mpls.
(612) 205-1512
www.patrickscabaret.org

When legendary iconoclastic performer Patrick Scully learned he was HIV-positive, he thought it was a death sentence. But 25 years later, he emerges with a new performance work about it.

Scully shares, “I am very much still here! I hope in hearing my story, other people will find resonance, or perhaps dissonance, in their lives. Either way, I hope it will cause them to reflect on their own lives. Another impulse is my desire to collectively remember my comrades who did not make it. Our community was transformed by the tragic early loss of so many shining stars. Also, things like the culture wars of the ’80s and ’90s may actively fade from memory if we do not actively seek to pass this history on. Or even worse, these stories may only be told and recorded by those who sought to keep our voices silent.”

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