Review: Bedlam’s 10-minute play festival

I love knowing people involved in the Twin Cities theater community because then I feel obligated to see things that I would otherwise see in the paper or online, want to go, but not actually follow through with. I want to support local arts, but it’s hard to know what’s worthwhile.

One of my oldest friends (Emily McPeck) directed a play and wrote another at Bedlam Theatre’s 10-minute Play Festival. After a brief scare with a missing actor in the play she wrote, the show went on thanks to a rock star of an actor, Carl Swanson. He jumped right in and practically memorized all of his lines and blocking in a matter of minutes. He had the script with him, but he barely used it. He was already in two other plays in that group, plus two more in another group. Really amazing. My friend’s play, aptly titled, “Coming?”, was definitely one of the two or three best written plays. And I swear I’m not biased. :)

The highlight of the night for me was the final play (which ran over 10 minutes, but I doubt anyone minded), “Albert Went Down to the Intersection.” It began with Albert the Sasquatch with a slight moustache getting kicked out of a Topeka, Kansas, comedy club for not being funny. From there Albert is told to “go down to the comedy crossroads” for better jokes. After providing the signal (yelling “What’s the deal with airline food? Seriously?” to the comedy gods), he is confronted by a incredibly hilarious, completely traditional, court jester played by the brilliant Maren Ward. The writing was hilarious but Ms. Ward could have done anything with that outfit and props and we would have cracked up just the same. She stole the entire evening, not just the show. But back to the story…Albert is disappointed in the jester’s old-fashioned advice so another comedian comes along. This one is more modern, well, in a Paul Poundstone / Arsenio Hall sort of way. But that turns out to be just about perfect because Albert later has an epiphany and changes his name and image. Albert the Sasquatch evolves in to, now brace yourselves, Weird Al Yankovic. How fucking hilarious is that? Love it.

Bedlam is in an interesting building that apparently once housed a gay bar. It’s also a punk hangout in a Somali neighborhood with very PC bathrooms. I got confused and wound up in the mostly urinal one and opened the stall door to discover a stream of pee, but luckily, no bits and pieces. I quickly closed the door. In my head, I’m all for shared bathrooms. But in practice, it’s a bit more difficult.

Still, good times. Good, good times.

Comment are closed.