Last night I had the pleasure of seeing a show at Patrick’s Cabaret in Minneapolis. I had been there before, a couple times. I had thought that these mishmash performances with a wide-ranging bill were anomalies. I went because I had friends performing, and just figured these evenings were one-offs.
The cabarets include artists ranging from poets to belly dancers. One evening I saw a poet from northern Minnesota, a female vocalist of the local cable show ilk, and then a sexy “Rocky Horror Picture Show”-type mini play that included a drag queen and a topless woman. The variety was amazing.
Turns out this is a regular thing. At least monthly, Patrick puts together a conglomerate of artists for an evening or two of total weirdness one could not find anywhere else in the Twin Cities. Last night’s show included the drag queen (dancer/singer/writer Justin Leaf) from the mini play from last time (though this play is not nearly as well thought-out), a gay Japanese man singing the blues for conservative listeners, belly dancing to a Harvey Milk tribute, and a woman with a spectacular old-timey voice doing beautiful accapela songs.
But the highlight was “Happy Imposter”, which is also appearing in the Bedlam 10-minute Play Festival. The piece is a monologue times two: a lesbian character named Melissa has different conversations with a video projection of herself. They’re always talking about different Melissas: “Oh, you ran into Melissa. Are you guys getting back together?” “Damnit, Melissa is calling. Should I pick up?” It’s difficult to convey, but trust me that it was absolutely brilliant. Her timing was nearly perfect and the writing and acting were superb. I can’t figure out if Molly Van Avery, the director, is the actor in the piece. I don’t think it is. Either way, each part was notable.
The best is that I’ll be seeing her piece again on Sunday because she’s in the same group at Bedlam I’m seeing on Sunday. One of my friends is directing a play her boyfriend wrote, so Molly’s piece is icing on the cake. Hooray for local art!