Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Giggling at the Guardians of the Fallacy + Downtown's Best New Date Night Restaurant

Brave New Workshop's latest brings humor back to our unending political drama.


Photo courtesy of the Brave New Workshop

Hats off to the Brave New Workshop's (BNW) always-on-point branding, which led me to believe that their latest show was supposed to be a superhero spoof. Think about it though: when is the last time you heard of Guardians of the Galaxy? I thought so (#wonderwoman #trumped #getit?).

Instead, BNW chose to spoof the current political climate (again), relieving all of our exhaustion with the never-ending news cycle with a few laughs. In an era where everyone is offended all the time about something or another, why not celebrate that fact and take it all the way?

Like all their shows, Guardians of the Fallacy: Executive Disorder takes BNW's trademark wry humor and infuses it into a number of pointed, timely sketches. These include Donald Trump singing his own praises in parodies of pop songs; forlorn women spending endless days on the couch with slow jams and photos of Hillary Clinton, hiding from their depressing post-election reality; and a magnificent tour of the future Trump dynasty's presidential library, including a full suite reserved solely for screenshots of his Twitter account. Hillary makes a couple of appearances reminding everyone why they should miss her, and the actors each take turns starring in pieces that help release some of the collective tension and disappointment in the current political reality.

LOVE the BNW's clever branding schemes. Always on point! 

The regular cast is here for this show - meaning Ryan Nelson as the Trump impersonator extraordinaire, Denzel Belin with his signature double take delivery, Tom Reed as the closest thing in the Twin Cities to Andy Samberg, Lauren Anderson with her Hillary wig and guff to match, and the always hilarious Taj Ruler with a medley of spot-on characters that keep you rolling in your seat.

I will say overall that the energy felt a little lower on this show than usual - I think we're all a little drained with this subject matter - but the show was still hilarious. Our friends (who were visiting BNW for the first time ever) absolutely loved this performance and raved about it for hours afterwards. If you haven't gone to a BNW show yet, I'd highly recommend it - Guardians of the Fallacy runs through October, so you have tons of time to go! More information and tickets can be found by clicking on this link.

After the scripted show the audience has the opportunity to check out the cast in a series of improv sketches. I have always stayed for these session and I'd highly recommend you do the same - it's like two shows for the price of one! Pro tip: if you go, make sure to plan some good suggestions for their sketches. The most inventive of the night we went was "Pineapple Surprise," which turned into a musical delight.

Mercy outdid themselves with this gorgeous, summery scallop dish.

I'd also like to mention that a trip to BNW makes a fabulous group outing or date night. This time my guy and I took four of our friends on a big couples date bonanza and we had such a great time! It's so fun watching people discover the joys of my old theater favorites for the first time and our crew really enjoyed themselves.

If you decide to take the group route and want a suggestion for where to eat before, you have to check out the new Mercy restaurant inside the Le Meridien Chambers hotel downtown (previously the overpriced and over-formal Mirin). They have a great (for downtown Minneapolis) happy hour running twice a day every day, but that's not even the best part. In addition to gorgeously cooked food (I had a scallop/corn/pepper/succotash medley that was phenomenal; the regular menu also features duck with potstickers, pork chops, beer can chicken and steaks and oysters), they offer an unbeatable deal of a true party punch.

Two words: PARTY. PUNCH. Yes, you need it. Now. 

When is the last time you ordered a group beverage at a restaurant? Never? I thought so. Remedy that IMMEDIATELY if you go to Mercy, where we got a booze laden and perfectly curated punch bowl that managed to please every palate. For those who have had the IPA vs. cosmopolitan vs. rose wine battle in group settings, this is no mean feat. It was also a whole lot of beverage; although the menu lists it as 6-8 servings we easily got three times that out of it. In fact, that single bowl of punch covered libations for six moderate to heavy drinkers for an entire dinner and pregame moment, and it all worked out to about $8 per person. That kind of price is unbeatable in such a restaurant and general location; I highly recommend you check it out for your next group event. Additionally, Mercy has one of the few (really nice!) off-street patios in downtown, which you can check out any time you dine there. More information about Mercy can be found by clicking on this link.