by Camille LeFevre   August 6, 2011

As happens at the Fringe, Camille LeFevre caught a show she'd not put in her itinerary, while waiting for another to begin. She found Rainy Day Cabaret's "Grim Walks Tonight" to be an intriguing, if not quite fully realized big-ideas dance production.

WHILE WAITING FOR ANOTHER SHOW, I DECIDED TO TAKE IN GRIM WALKS TONIGHT by Rainy Day Cabaret. The music seemed promising, and it suited my mood: Four Tet, Nine Inch Nails and the like. I had hopes the work might resemble that of Cathy Wright; she's a Minneapolis choreographer whose dark forays into myth and mysticism have the power at once to compel and repel with their raw, no-holds-barred explorations of humanity.

Alas, no.

Still, there were highlights.

The young Rochester-based group is a mix of striking performers (most notably, the riveting Non Edwards and highly body-modified Breah Ramsey, who perform the show's "Monster Love" with captivating commitment), amateurs (on display in the aptly named "Internship"), and otherwise capable movers.

The show starts promisingly enough, with "Left in the Dust," a fierce and imagistic piece girded by grace and intention. Half of the dancers wear tulle-like fabric gathered around their necks and mouths like clouds; all of the performers wear black. They gesture toward each other with fingers spread, and propel one another through space with equal measures of menace and intrigue.

In the duet "Self Destructive Me," Blaire Hoven and Daniel Klinkhammer (in street clothes) utilize more expansive gestures, that alternately mesh and mirror each other. There's verve and clarity in "Hurt Vicarious," a rather nihilistic work in which the performers cut diagonally across one another like knives, and haul their energy up and down on the stage like pistons.

By the tribal finish, "Inspired by Wrath," however, the tone is wearing thin; the producers' big ideas just don't seem thoroughly thought through. Are we witnessing some iteration of a fairy tale? Is the red-and-black-lace-garbed Contessa a goddess or a sacrifice? Is this mechanistic horde, faces slashed with red war paint and arms wrapped in black tape, a version of toy soldiers, or seed stock for an Armageddon?

Regardless, I am curious what they'll do next.

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Related performance details:

Grim Walks Tonight by Rainy Day Cabaret shows at the Lab Theater in Minneapolis. Shows are Saturday, 8/5 (5:30 pm); Wednesday, 8/10 (10 pm); Friday, 8/12 (5:30 pm), and Sunday, 8/14 (7 pm).

Check back regularly throughout the Fringe Festival for more short reviews on mnartists.org, sent in from our intrepid performance critics on the scene.

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About the author: Camille LeFevre is an arts journalist who writes frequently about visual art and architectures.