‘Best of the Fringe’

August 30, 2004.By Anna Pratt, Skyway News.

For those of you who missed them the first time around, Theater Latte Da’s “Knock!” and Rick and Andy Ausland’s “Buckets & Tap Shoes” are being remounted in this first post-festival highlighter, “The Best of the Fringe.” The pair was singled out for a critical and audience favoritism favorites from over 175 Minnesota Fringe Festival shows.

Guthrie Theater regular Jim Lichtscheidl strikes a universal nerve with “Knock!” – a powerful and quirky memoir of his life as a 12-year-old. It’s 1974, and this is the life of Toehead, a boy/“young man” cramped into a house wherein privacy is continually shattered by others’ premature entry. While sometimes Toehead, or little Jimmy, is the star of well-received impromptu kitchen/living room performances, his bossy older sister – who amuses herself by obligatory “big sibling” tirades – is always quick to “put him in his place.”

Lichtscheidl narrates his revealing anecdotes of pre-acne days with the unique synthesis of straight storytelling, athletic dance and carnival music in his so-called “storieography.” Along with co-stars Lisa Spreeman, Ken Rosen and Eriq Nelson, he perfectly encapsulates the awkward yet playful world of pre-pubescence. Delight in the comic likes of buckteeth, thick glasses, crayons and adolescent imagination – Lichtsheidl does.

Rick and Andy Ausland’s “Buckets & Tap Shoes” is the percussive medley of a Minneapolis street corner. With tap dance, musical accompaniment and drums, the Auslands beat out the tempo of pedestrian life.

Similar to “Stomp,” these brothers find melodies in found objects such as 5-gallon paint buckets. They mouth noises and even utilize the clatter of audience participation. The duo seamlessly blends classical musicianship with inventive instrumentation as they harmonize drums, guitar, and bass with everyday artifacts for an industrial brand of rhythm and blues.

Wednesday-Sunday thru Sept. 5, call for times, Loring Playhouse, 1633 Hennepin Ave. S. $25. 604-4466.