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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Saturday - Terrific Fringing! Great Shows AND Green Onion Cake!

Second last day of a slow Fringe for me and I took in four solid shows.

I started with Port Authority (shout out for being Held Over!! Way to go, local group done good).  It was an excellent piece, well-paced with solid performances. I liked the subtlety of it and it's realness. It has both sadness and humour and makes you think about regret and missed opportunities.

Next we caught The Lonely Hearts.  It too was very well done, a solid script and well performed with an interesting vaudeville-like approach.  It left me a little unsettled, however, as the subject was a bit macabre and the fat jokes were hard to take after a while.  Many strong things to this show, but I think I will be thinking about this one for a while.  It's a matter of wanting the laughs to be unencumbered, I think, but sometimes I felt guilty for laughing.  Does that make sense?  It too is held over - at the Varscona - so catch it if you can and tell me what you think.

Then a well-deserved break to eat green onion cakes and cool down.  We grabbed our festival food favorite and headed to the air conditioned interior of the main box office.  Those first two shows were both in non-air-conditioned buildings and we needed to lower our core temperatures!  It was a yummy break and then we headed off for more shows.

Third on the list was Little Fish.  It was really well done.  Strong singers and actors and a very tight ensemble. I am unfamiliar with the composer and I will admit I cannot recall any of the songs, but while they were happening I was engaged.  I really liked the choreography and how well everyone stayed in the world at all times.  There was no checking out and waiting - it was 100% present from all cast members all the time.  It was nice to see this company (The Plain Janes) do this less traditional musical and equally nice to see something I did not know. I was also impressed with the acoustics.  No mics, but it was never an issue - all the voices were strong and the Varscona has brilliant acoustics. The play itself led to discussions about what it was trying to say and I always love a show that lives beyond it's final notes.  It's the talking about it afterwards that indicated whether it was truly interesting.

Finally we ended our evening with Countries Shaped Liked Stars.  It was beautiful and silly and tuneful and so funny, yet sad (only at the end).  Lovely use of low-tech magic and a commitment to the world that was beautiful.  Both actors were charismatic and engaged the audience beautifully.  And, oh, the music bordered on magical.  There's a whimsy to this piece that is truly lovely and it's great for all ages - it's based on a children's book.

A lovely end to a great day of Fringe-tastic theatre!

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