Sublime Comedy – Heidi Arneson’s visionary “Itchy Tingles” at MN Fringe


Painting by Heidi Arneson.

Heidi Arneson isn’t getting older. She’s getting better. The writer-performer renowned for a career that examines the psyche of girls has created one of her finest works yet. Few adult actors can pull off the portrayal of child characters, but Arneson does so magically.

In Itchy Tingles, Arneson dares to delve into the boundary-free pansexual curiosity of a child. She wants to kiss a little girl and control a little boy. Hilarious stories expressed as the youngest of several children in a house by a lake, are related at points with macabre observations innocently spoken. The effect is paradoxically haunting and hilarious. On the tragic side, a tale of a pet duck makes us present to how unspeakably overpowering the notion of death is to a young child. Oh the coping mechanisms they are impelled to create!

Photo by Vicky Hill-Ricke.

Arneson’s vocal delivery is mystically lyrical, matched with utterly gorgeous live classical guitar accompaniment. She moves with the grace of a phantom. One imagines the ghosts of Emily Bronte and Mary Shelley hovering in approval out there in the ether. Not to mention Isaac Albinez, whom Hauser’s strings channel with spiritual delicacy that honors the vulnerability of a little girl.

Itchy Tingles
Minnesota Fringe Festival
Through Aug. 12
Nolte Xperimental at Rarig Center, 330 21st Ave. S., Minneapolis

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