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#MNFringeReviews: Wanderlust

Ok, ok. I realize this post is WAY late. However, if you’ve seen my Twitter lately you’ll know that I’ve been busy trying to organize my life and work areas. Doesn’t mean that I care about important Twin Cities art goings-on any less!

The Minnesota Fringe is more than half over at this point, with whispers as to which shows will be selected for this Sunday’s special encore performance slot. Last week on Sunday, however, the excitement in the Rarig was of a different sort—buzzing with the energy of Fringe goers just beginning their experience.

One of those attendees was my boyfriend—a Fringe virgin. Let me tell you a little something about my boyfriend:  we are probably, in terms of interests, the most opposite people you will ever meet. For instance, while I enjoy immersing myself in random arts and cultural activities, my boyfriend finds things like this thrilling:


So he and I have this unspoken sort-of deal. I promise not to plug my ears and go “lalala” when he geeks out over science and math, and he agrees to do one “art thing” with me a month—give or take—and try not to grumble too much about it. When I told him about the Fringe Festival he was characteristically not excited—until I told him that shows were 60 minutes at most. He perked right up.

The problem then came deciding what to see. After much of the, “I don’t care” “Well, I don’t care, either” chorus, we decided on a strategy. I picked four choices that looked interesting (and had been, thus far, positively reviewed) and let him make the final decision, which is how we came to our selection: Wanderlust.

To be honest, I was a bit skeptical walking into this show. My first theatre love has always been musicals, so I usually respond better to performances with a bit more pizzazz: bigger casts, songs, dances, and what have you. How could a 60 minute show featuring just one person be captivating enough for me, let alone my “I-just-barely-tolerate-this-because-I-love-you” boyfriend?

Boy was I off-base. From the moment the lights went down at the Rarig, I was absolutely mesmerized by Martin Dockery’s storytelling. Wanderlust proved to be a funny and engaging story of one man’s search for an epiphany—with more than a hint of humor. The first thing I noticed were his hands. His long, spindly fingers reminded me of a wizard casting a spell. He even managed to captivate my boyfriend, who every time I looked over at him, he was smiling. I even heard him laugh a couple times!

In addition to his gesticulations, out-of-town performer, Dockery is probably one of the most overall physical storytellers I have ever witnessed. The epitome of his physicality manifested in his recount of falling “ill” on a train. Crawling on the floor, squatting, sliding and regaling his misfortunes in very “colorful” imagery he had the entire audience rolling in the aisles!

Every time though, after he had taken us on that journey, he managed to bring us back and serve us a nugget of wisdom. I once heard an expression something along the lines of, “First, get ‘em laughing. Then, while their mouths are open, stick the truth in.” I truly think this is something that Dockery has mastered the art of.  Even my boyfriend said that he appreciated Martin’s ability to turn life’s non-meaning into a meaning in itself. Who knew my boyfriend was such an existentialist?

Anyway, the Fringe is winding down, but if you have a chance, definitely check out Martin Dockery in Wanderlust.