Blog: Thursday July 21
My Personal Top Ten List
It’s Thursday afternoon. I’ve seen 40 Fringe shows so far. It’s been an average Fringe for me. Most of the shows I’ve seen have been in the good to very good range. Here are my 10 favourite shows so far:
1. CIVILIZED (Venue 23) — The story of how the Canadian government decided to integrate Indigenous people into British Canadian society at the turn of the century — one of their solutions was residential schools. Combine a great script with an actor who can deliver this weighty material and the result is my favourite Fringe show.
2. Tango, to the Pointe (Venue 1) — Combining tango and ballet works surprisingly well in this physically demanding show.
3. Josie & Grace (Venue 16) - I was worried this show might be poor derivative of the hit show JOSEPHINE. It’s not. It’s a compelling story about the 25 year friendship between Josephine Baker and Grace Kelly, with some great songs.
4. The Ballad of Johnny Boy (Venue 2) — This strange yet highly creative musical re-imagines the life of a newly deceased person. It’s one of those rare shows that will both entertain and make you think.
5. Horseface (Venue 3) — Alex Dallas tells us about her bad experiences with men. Her stories are funny and she adds to the fun with her mannerisms and facial expressions.
6. Meagre Joys (Venue 15) — This was my biggest surprise of the Fringe. A group I’ve never heard of before delivered some really funny sketch comedy. Their silent movie is one of the funniest sketches I’ve seen in months.
7. Field Zoology 201 (Venue 5) — This is what I love about the Fringe. Take a simple idea and find as much humour in it as possible. A zoologist tells the audience about his experiences encountering animals in the wild.
8. Blueberries Are Assholes (Venue 6) — Another funny one-person monologue from TJ Dawe talking about the absurdities of life from language to food.
9. Symptom Circus (Venue 5) — A personal look at disability by writer/performer Hailley Rhoda. This is a terrific Fringe show that deftly strikes the balance between comedy and tragedy.
10. The Disney Delusion (Venue 20) — It’s a funny yet honest look at love when writer/performer Leif Oleson-Cormack plans a vacation with the man he loves. Surprising twists combined with a good dose of humour made this a great show.
Erin Scott-Kafadar admits that her wonderful show Tango, to the Pointe is a very costly show to produce. The show is so physically demanding that she wears out her $140 pointe shoes after only one performance. To help cover some of the costs, the group is selling 2023 calendars for $20 after their show.
QR is OK
Most shows still produce paper programs but Everything’s Actually OK: a variety show allows the audience to view their program by scanning the projected QR code on the screen before their start of their show. I did see a few people in the audience using their smartphones to read the program. This is a great idea, because paper programs tend to run out early in the Fringe run and not get replenished, so audiences later in the festival never know the names of the actors they are watching. I hope more groups use this technology in the future.
Quote of the Day
“Failure is not an option. It’s a necessity.”
From The Cause (Venue 22).