Last night at RFD in Chinatown, a smattering of Fringe productions presented short segments from their shows, and I have to say that on the whole it was pretty impressive. So as you’re sifting through the festival guide, wondering how on earth you’re going to choose from 120 different productions, here are some standouts from the preview. Keep in mind, however, that last night was only a small handful of this year’s performances. What are you looking forward to? What else do we Fringe & Purgers need to see?

7 (x1) Samurai
David Gaines
Mr. Gaines may hawk his show as “An Epic Tale…told by an idiot,” but during the 7 minutes I witnessed last night, it became uproariously clear that this man is no idiot. Dressed as part street-pantomime part Japanese warrior, Gaines was riveting as he moved seamlessly among his manifold nonspeaking characters. This is serious, sidesplitting, mesmerizing stuff, and to see one man sustain it for 45 minutes is a feat I refuse to miss.

Slave Narratives Revisited
Mosaic Theatre Productions
Talk about a powerhouse: Lary Moten, in two tantalizingly short monologues, had everyone in RFD’s back room transfixed last night. He transformed that space twice in 5 minutes: first into an antebellum southern crossroads, and then into a Montgomery bus in 1956. There were some truly sublime (and deeply funny) moments, and if this is what 5 minutes in a bar feels like, well then I can’t wait to see the real thing.

Check out a few more suggestions after the jump.

Ball & Chain
Journeymen Theater Ensemble
Ball & Chain is a collection of seven short riffs on love and marriage. The Journeymen teased a piece called “Love in the Time of GPS,” a witty flirtation between a man and his green-eyed Global Positioning System. Although each of the seven shorts is written by a different local playwright, if “GPS” is any indication of the quality of humor, Ball & Chain should induce quite a few chuckles.

Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s Roadside Revue Presents: The Oresteia
Spooky Action Theater
I have to admit, I’m usually skeptical of modern takes on the classics. Not so with Dizzy Miss Lizzie’s Oresteia after what I saw last night. This show is sure to be a veritable volkstragedy, weaving Aeschylus’ tale of revenge with a bluegrass sensibility. Plus the tune they played was catchy, precisely rehearsed, and contained the words “vile whore” in the chorus.

I Like Nuts! (The Musical)
I Like Nuts! (The Company)
You know, after seeing only one number, I can’t really tell you what I Like Nuts! (The Musical) is going to be “about,” per se. But I can tell you that it was brazenly irreverent, overtly silly, and that I laughed my ass off. When the woman sitting next to you can’t stop herself from spontaneously singing along to “I like nuts! I like nuts in my mouth!”—well, that’s when you know you’re watching something special.