How do you explain a show that includes a Native American wise woman named Bemidji, a rugged voyageur named Brainerd, a rather effete voyageur named Loring Park and a time-traveling Karl Marx disguised as Santa Claus? Oh, and there are beavers as well, offering plenty of chances for double and single entendres along the way?
In the end, you can just say you’ve been to Bedlam Theatre’s holiday offering, “Beaverdance!” and leave it at that.
The musical extravaganza centers on the beaver trade that defined the soon-to-be northern Minnesota. Decades of overtrapping have left the beavers in a tizzy; they know that man is dangerous and that he will eventually be the death of them all. But what to do? The answer comes from the aforementioned characters, who help the woodland creatures create a new life amid the north woods: a place where their labor and their pelts is compensated at full value.
Mind you, that description of the show, created by Corrie Zoll (who also plays Marx) and musician Marya Hart, is far more focused than what is actually on stage. The entire piece, directed by Foxy Tann, feels as though it will careen out of control at any moment and the on-stage anarchy and absurdity are barely reined in. To this I say more please. Like a Minnesota Fringe show with an intermission and a bit more of a budget, “Beaverdance!” revels in its own madness, leaving the audience out of breath as the show twists and turns until its end. That this is dinner theater with a fine, multicourse meal from the folks at Bedlam is just an added bonus.
“Beaverdance!” runs Dec. 10-14 and 17-19 at the Bedlam Theatre, 1501 S. 6th St. Tickets are $12-$15 for the show only and $30-$35 including dinner. For tickets and information, call 612-341-1038 or visit online.