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Joseph Scrimshaw’s new Fringe work: Damn funny

Joseph Scrimshaw is a Minnesota Fringe Festival star.  His past works,­ such as last season’s audience-inspired “Tragedy of You,” ­ have given him a high profile, which is why the debut of his new Fringe work, “The Damn Audition,” nearly filled the Rarig Thrust auditorium for its Saturday premiere­ at 1 in the afternoon.

The audience was not disappointed by the play, which took a rather standard comedic situation ­ — a crazy Hollywood audition ­ — turned it all up to 11, then tore off the knob trying to go to 12. At the center is a self-absorbed Hollywood auteur’s latest flash of genius, “What’s Up Satan,” a sit-com about a normal American family ­— and their next door neighbor, the Prince of Darkness.

The audition features three actors ­— a faded child star (John Middleton), a suffering never-was (David Mann) and an up-and-comer fresh off the plane from Minnesota (Randy Reyes). At the audition, they are tortured by the creator, played by Scrimshaw, who is only held in slight check by his personal assistant, February 2nd (Maggie Chestovich).

Scrimshaw¹s script is spot on, loaded not just with funny bits (a list of absurd-but-could-be-real movie titles; a terrible scene from the sit-com; a dancing monkey), but just enough reality behind the characters to give their actions and reactions some real bite.

It doesn’t hurt to have a loaded cast here, led by Middleton’s Todd Bridges by way of Lindsey Lohan creation and Reyes’ far-to-well-scrubbed Lutheran community theater veteran. “The Damn Audition’” only has three performances left Expect to find a line when you get to the theater.

“The Damn Audition” runs at 10 p.m. Wednesday; 2:30 p.m. Saturday; and 4 p.m. Sunday at the Rarig Thrust, 330 21st. Ave. S., Minneapolis. Tickets are $12. For information and tickets, go here.

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