8 Best Shows For Attending The Fringe Festival With Kids


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I’ve never attempted the Fringe Festival with kids — more because its not in our budget (Adult tickets $12/kids $5 — plus a $4 button/per person to purchase once) than because it can’t or shouldn’t be done.  In fact, I think this is an excellent way to introduce children to Theater and still maintain some semblance of adulthood.  There is a certain amount of acceptance and surrender that comes with parenthood, but giving up real art doesn’t have to be part of that if you don’t want to give it up.  The Minnesota Fringe Festival has 8 shows they recommend for the pre-teen crowd.  Below is a round up of those shows.

A lovelorn scientist consumes a secret formula to impress a girl in his dance class and gains tap dancing powers in order to fight crime as his alter-ego, Tapman, the world’s most daring tap dancing superhero!

The Adventures of Tapman

Illusion Theatre, 528 Hennepin Avenue, 8th Floor, Minneapolis, MN
Thursday, July 31, 2014; 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 2, 2014; 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 3, 2014; 7:00 p.m.
Monday, August 4, 2014; 10:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014; 8:30 p.m.
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE
The Adventures of Tapman is a tap-dance superhero production suitable for ages 7 and up.  The show originated in Chicago at Tapman Productions.  It has been traveling the Fringe Festival circuit all over the country.   Reviews have been mixed, but they all agree that Tristan Bruns (Tapman) is an amazing tap dancer.  This show could appeal to a mixed audience of dance lovers and comic book junkies.

Kafka Nuts

Illusion Theatre, 528 Hennepin Avenue, 8th Floor, Minneapolis, MN
Friday, August 1, 2014; 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 2, 2014; 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 53, 2014; 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 7, 2014; 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 9 2014; 4:00 p.m.
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE
Comedy Suitcase says Kafka Nuts is appropriate for Ages 2 and up.  It may be appropriate, but I would have a hard time taking a 2-year-old to a live comedy.  I think too much would go over their heads and they would be bored (a bored 2-year-old is unpleasant for everyone around them).  My 4-year-old however  fully appreciates the clownish comedy of the 1930s (think Three Stooges).

Buckets and Tap Shoes

Music Box Theatre, 1407 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
Friday, August 1, 2014; 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 3, 2014; 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014; 8:30 p.m.
Friday, August 8, 2014; 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 10, 2014; 1:00 p.m.
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE
Buckets and Tap Shoes is kind of a mix between tap and Savage Aural Hotbed with a wide variety of music genres thrown in.  This is a good show to take your younger children to because you can bounce them on your lap and clap along.  The creator’s recommend it for ages 2 and up.  (Just a note, the ad at the beginning of this video isn’t necessarily appropriate for ages 2 and up.)

Like an animated cartoon onstage. Surreal comedy, family-friendly but very, very weird

Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend

Music Box Theatre, 1407 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
Saturday, August 2, 2014; 2:30 p.m.
Monday, August 4, 2014; 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014; 5:30 p.m.
Friday, August 8, 2014; 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 9, 2014; 8:30 p.m.
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE
Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend is a theatrical comedy based on the comic strip of the same name.  Created by Hardcover Theater, the creator’s recommend it for ages 7 and up.

The Jungle Book

U of M Rarig Center Proscenium, 330 21st Av S, Minneapolis, MN
Thursday, July 31, 2014; 7:00 p.m.
Friday, August 1, 2014; 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 3, 2014; 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 3, 2014; 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 7, 2014; 7:00 p.m.
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

This Musical Adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book is appropriate for ages 2 and up.  The cast includes children, something my children always appreciate and identify with.  This is not the Disney version, so you can be the judge of whether introducing the Disney version beforehand would be a help or hindrance toward your child’s theater experience.


Neverland Players

U of M Rarig Center Xperimental, 330 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN
Saturday, August 2, 2014; 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014; 7:00 p.m.
Friday, August 8, 2014; 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 9, 2014; 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 10, 2014; 1:00 p.m.
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE 

Does anyone else remember the 1980s Nickelodeon show, Kids’ Writes? The premise was simple.  Kids would send in their original stories and the actors would act them out. I watched religiously hoping they would choose one of my stories. This is what Neverland Players does — only locally.  Adults will find it entertaining because, well, we like to laugh at kids. Kids will enjoy it, because the stories were written by other kids. I know that my kids would rush home after a performance like this and write their own story to submit.  This is probably the reason that they have been picked as the “Best Kids Show on the Fringe.”  Below is a video from their Kickstarter campaign showing last year’s performance.


Speakeasy

Four Seasons Dance Studio, 1637 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Saturday, August 2, 2014; 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 3, 2014; 7:00 p.m.
Friday, August 8, 2014; 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 9, 2014; 8:30 p.m.
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

I have a little bit of a hard time seeing how Speakeasy is appropriate for ages 7 and up as the creators claim.  It just doesn’t seem like a family friendly subject matter.  However, I find nothing objectionable in the video below. What would be really exciting for kids is the interactive, dress up factor.  The audience is encouraged to dress in their best 1920s attire.  It is also a high-energy show.


Tales at Twilight

Bryant Lake Bowl, 810 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN
Friday, August 1, 2014; 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 3, 2014; 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014; 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 7, 2014; 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 9, 2014; 8:30 p.m.
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE
 

Tales at Twilight incorporates storytelling onto the stage. It is recommended for ages 7 up.  If your kids like a good ghost story around the fire, this is the show for you.  You can see a snippet below.

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About the author

Joy Peters

Joy Peters - co-creator and writer for FamilyFunTwinCities.com.

Besides Family Fun Twin Cities, I spend my 9 to 5 at a day job pursuing my weird passion for calendars and organizing things as a legal secretary. When I get home I spend my time with my four kids, 10, 6, 4 and 1. My amazing husband is both a full-time musician and full-time stay-at-home dad. Together we run a small radio empire — SiaNet Radio — playing, promoting and enjoying the wide variety of local music and art in the Twin Cities. I juggle all this while writing about exploring the Twin Cities with kids. I couldn’t be happier.

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