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Theatre Reviews

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.

New Shoes

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).