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Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Terrific First Weekend of That Was Then, This is Fringe...

Just shutting down Saturday night and I have taken in 9 shows and am feeling pretty good about what I've seen. Highlights include the following:

Never Swim Alone - Such a strong script by Daniel MacIvor delivered flawlessly.  Even if you've seen it before, it's worth checking out. The casting is perfect, the acting connected, and the direction tight and sharp. It's as if everyone on the stage is breathing together - they are so in sync. It's down at the French Quarter at Rutherford School. If I gave stars, I would give this one 5!

Bat Boy: The Musical - A talented cast and a very quirky, edgy, out-there musical. I'm a little amazed at what you get with your fringe dollars with this one! Highlights are Nadine Veroba as Meredith (the mother) and Mark Sinongco as Edgar (the bat boy), but this whole cast commits 110% to the camp required and they have the vocal chops to deliver big sound. It's not a show I could direct, but I am glad Amanda Neufeld has the sensibility to do justice to it and make me laugh so hard. Definitely not for kids, it's also at the French Quarter but in the main theatre at La Cite.

Cowboy: A Cowboy Story - It was great seeing this show again and with added elements in the new space. I was laughing from the first few moments on and I continue to be amazed by how in sync they are with the theatre and the film. Fast paced, funny and full of energy - you know they are enjoying doing the show as much as the audience is enjoying watching it.

The Colleen Bawn - The cast of four plays many, many characters and the zig-zag from one to another is half the fun of this piece. It's a fast-paced show that keeps you guessing about how it's going to end. It feels a titch long and some of the cast are stronger at the switches than others, but you're laughing so much at the end, you don't mind so much.

Pacamambo - I didn't know what to expect, but I enjoyed this play that had the feel of magic about it. It's a gentle tale with committed actors who embrace a sense of the mystical to help a young girl deal with the death of her grandmother. Almost fairy-tale like, it feels appropriate for tweens and up.

Letting Go of Alone - Although this show feels like it needs a little more arc and story, everything in it is excellently done.  The songs are sometimes charming and sometimes simply beautiful and sometimes sad and there're also a lot humorous moments in the piece. It left me wanting more, but in the way that I felt it had something more to say, but it didn't quite know what.

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