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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Added Performance of XANADU!


Due to popular demand, SatCo and Uniform Theatre will have an additional performance of XANADU on FRIDAY, AUGUST 24 at 11:00 PM!

Please note that you CANNOT purchase tickets for this performance through Fringe, they will only be for sale at the door!!

To reserve your ticket, please email uniformtc@gmail.com.

Fringe Reviews: JOSEPHINE and TRAGEDY: A TRAGEDY

Josephine
Venue 1: ATB Westbury Theatre

Something drew me to this show right from the start and I am so glad because it turned out to be a real highlight of my Fringe experience this year! I knew a little about Josephine Baker before seeing the show, but I soon realized that I didn't know very much. Her life was incredible and this one-woman show performed by the engaging and charismatic Tymesha Harris leaves you wanting more! It's hard to pack so much into 75 minutes! I left wanting to find out more - searching my wikipedia for details and looking up images online... now I'm looking for a good biography. Now that's the sign of a good show! If this makes it to hold-overs, do try and catch it, because it's Sold Out for the rest of it's performances.

Click here for tickets.

Tragedy: A Tragedy
Venue 3: Walterdale Theatre

Blarney Productions does it again with this quirky, odd piece by Will Eno. A brve news team tries to capture the unfolding event in the wake of a tragedy, but nothing much is happening... still they report... making much of nothing, until that becomes too much for them. The cast captured the style perfectly and it was hard not to laugh, so I did! Thoroughly enjoyable.

Click here for tickets.

WORD OF MOUTH: Fringe 2018 - Wednesday, August 22

Some of these are repeats, but some are new... check out which shows random people in line-ups have recommended this Fringe:

Interstellar Elder: Badass Grandma in Space
Kitt & Jane: An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near-Post-Apocalyptic Future
Hubris
Hotel Vortruba*
James & Jamesy in the Dark
Scorch*
Josephine*
Thunderfoot
Fetch
The Real Inspector Hound*
Red Bastard

Click here for tickets.

Enjoy the rest of the Fringe - plenty to see! All shows are worth a gamble!

Fringe Reviews: THE GREAT GROMBOOLIAN PLAIN, PUNCH UP!, MISCAST and CULT CYLE

Monday was a great 4 show day! It's amazing to me that I can see 4 shows and it's still light out when I drive home! it was also a nice mix of shows, so I felt like I got a great grab-bag of theatre!

The Great Gromboolian Plain
Venue 4 - The Academy at King Edward

This was a very nice piece of theatre about the nature of time travel and sisters and what is real and whether someone is crazy or not. It's well acted and staged, however I wished there was something more in the resolution as it left me with many questions. I did like how we discover that sometimes people do things that may seem hurtful and controlling but they are actually doing those things to protect others.

Click here for tickets.

Punch Up!
Venue 9 - Telus Phone Museum

A terrifically funny show. I think I laughed from start to finish. The script (by Kat Sandlers - who is the playwright on-board to write an upcoming duo of plays, The Candidate and The Party, at the Citadel next season) is quick and fast and clever, and the trio of actors onstage (Perry Gratton, Evan Hall and Merran Carr-Wiggin) are perfectly cast to pull it off. The premise: The Most Pathetic Guy Ever kidnaps the Funniest Man Alive to make the Saddest Girl in the World laugh. I won't tell you if he makes her laugh, but I will say the lengths he goes to certainly made the audience laugh!

Click here for tickets. 

Miscast 
Venue 4 - The Academy at King Edward

As one who has been in and auditioned for many musicals, I know full well that it's sometimes hard to learn that you will likely not be cast in your dream role because you're too tall, too old, too heavy, or too "something". That's what this show explores as eight gifted performers tell their stories and sing a song that they might not normally get to. Well, some of the choices actually seemed perfect for the performer onstage, so perhaps they just need the right opportunity! All are excellent singers and if there is one drawback it's the balance within the space between the band and the singers. Sometimes it was difficult to hear the vocalist over the instrumentation. Always a challenge in a 'created' space. But super fun with wonderful group numbers to offset the solo work!

Click here for tickets. 

Cult Cycle
Venue 35: Théâtre - La Cité Francophone

A new musical about spin class and murder! This show was so much fun. I felt like it embraced the old-school fringe feel of going for the biggest choices no matter how ridiculous or campy or melodramatic and the results were hilarious. Plus, the whole cast is composed of amazing singers who not only belt out anthems but they do so while pedaling at a very high rate. 

Click here for tickets. 

WORD OF MOUTH: Fringe 2018 - Tuesday, August 21st

Although I only saw 2 shows myself, I had some great conversations with people in line-ups today because both shows were Sold Out. I think I managed to talk to a wider variety of people with even more varied interests!

How I Learned to Hug
Fire at the Meth Lab
Stranded on a Island in Nova Scotia
The Importance of Being Earnest
God is a Scottish Drag Queen*
Dueling Divas
The Real Inspector Hound*
Sirens
Heroine
Hotel Vortruba*
Jake's Gift*
The Irrelevant Show
The Soldier's Tale
Josephine

Click here for tickets to all Fringe Shows!

I hope you have room in your schedule to fit in one or two of these!

Monday, August 20, 2018

WORD OF MOUTH: Fringe 2018 - Monday, August 20, 2018

Some new shows today - I confess, I was tired and got into a few conversations about current trends in art and didn't have as many show conversations, but I did get some new and repeat Word of Mouth Recommendations!  Warning: Many of these shows are selling out, so it is wise to act fast for tickets! (Star indicates multiple recommendations)

The Wind and the Rain
Merk du Soleil
Everything's Coming Up Chickens*
Eddie Poe*
For Science!*
Scorch
She Was a Great Dad
Josephine*
The Real Inspector Hound*
Buyer & Cellar
Irrelevant Show
A Briefs History of Time
Business as Usual
Jake's Gift*
Caws and Effect

Happy Fringing!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Fringe Reviews: MACBETH MUET, WELLSPRING, ESCAPED ALONE and XANADU

Macbeth Muet
lafilledulaitier.com
Venue 9: Telus Phone Museum

This show was so good. So. Good. It's better, I think, if you know Macbeth, but really even if you just know the high point of the story this show will blow you away. It's funny and inventive and so incredibly clever. I think it's the perfect way to do Shakespeare, particularly the bloodier plays. I cannot get over the cleverness of their choices. The music made it so accessible and from eggs, to paper towels, to paper plates and lots and lots of fake blood, you will be mesmerized and laughing. I recommend this to everyone!

Wellspring
Venue 13 - Old Strathcona Library

A trio of intertwining monologues from three women who live in a community affected by fracking. While it doesn't add anything new to the issue, this show serves to humanize people caught up in dynamics of health and quality of life vs. energy and economics. I did long for more action and conflict within the story, and it takes a little while for the script to get to the details of each of their journeys, but the three actors are honest and committed to telling their stories.

Escaped Alone
Venue 9 - Telus Phone Museum

I'm still thinking about Escaped Alone. It's a complicated piece that takes a bit of time to wrap your brain around. There's some wonderful acting from the four women onstage (Judy McFerran, Vivien Bosley, Alison Wells and Holly Turner) who sit in a garden discussing the items of their lives. Secrets are revealed, some bigger than others, and the most striking moments are in monologues where inner-most thoughts and feelings are revealed. Interspersed with their conversation are Cassandra-like predictions of a terrible future. This is one to ponder for a while.

Xanadu
Venue 25 - Strathcona High School

It's wonderfully fun, musical and campy, and it pulls out all the stops. I had so much fun at Xanadu. I have to admit, I saw the movie,... when it came out,... in the theatre,... probably more than once... I also clearly listened to the soundtrack and the songs from the show over and over, because I surprised myself by knowing all the words. This production is a really fun ride, and you will be swerving from laugh to laugh by their over-the-top antics. Plus, everyone in the cast can sing and dance AND Roller-skate. I'm once again blown away by the quality of production delivered by SatCo at Fringe.

WORD OF MOUTH: Fringe 2018

I returned to the Fringe grounds today and chatted with quite a few different people about what they would recommend (artists are not allowed to recommend their own shows - although they try...). I was pleased to hear so many different suggestions, as it tells me that there are a lot of good things to see at this year's Fringe.

Here's the Word Of Mouth recommendations from Sunday, August 19, 2018, in no particular order. (stars indicate that the show was mentioned by more than one person):

Interstellar Elder: Badass Grandma in Space
Unscriptured
Stories About Love, Death & a Rabbit*
WASP
TEDxRFT: Improvised Ted Talks
MacBeth Muet*
Jesus Christ: The Lost Years
A Briefs History of Time
Daddy's Boy
Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me, But Banjos Saved My Life
The Progressive Polygamists
The Wilds*
The Real Inspector Hound
2 Queens and a Joker
One Man Pride and Prejudice*
An All New God is a Scottish Drag Queen
The Alien Baby Play
One Man Walking Dead
Hotel Vortruba
Eddie Poe
Jake's Gift*
Xanadu

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Fringe Reviews: LET'S TALK ABOUT YOUR DEATH, DON'T FROWN AT THE GOWN, SIRENS, and CONTRACTIONS

Let's Talk About Your Death
Allspice Theatre
Venue 11 - Nordic Studio Theatre

A show that's both silly and serious, Let's Talk About Your Death, is set in a world where a machine exists that can tell you how you will die. Capitalizing on that is a Dr. Phil-like TV personality who interviews those from the audience who have just found out 'how they will die'. Complete with thematic advertisements and spontaneous moments that neither the actor nor the audience know where they will go, this show turned out to be both hilarious and touching. Knowing about your death turns out to be much more about how you choose to live.

Don't Frown at the Gown (by Darrin Hagen and Trevor Schmidt)
Guys in Disguise
Venue 12 - Varscona Theatre

Another terrific play from the Guys in Disguise, this time tackling the shifting values of the 1960s with regards to the feminist movement as young bride-to-be Susan (Trevor Schmidt) goes to the bridal shop with her domineering mother (Darrin Hagen) and her best friend maid-of-honour Frankie (Jason Hardwick). There they meet the bridal shop owner, Lady Laura Lee (Jake Tkaczyk) who seems to have a few secrets of her own. Filled with laugh-out-loud moments fueled by excellent writing and fine acting, this play serves to be much more as it touches on the restrictions of both following what's prescribed and breaking free from the expectations of society. What works especially well is that it could easily be played by actors of either gender and it would still be funny and moving. In fact, there's a monologue or two in this that I personally want to get my hands on.

Sirens
Atlas Theatre Company
Venue 12 - Varscona Theatre

Billed as a story about a myth-life crisis, this show had a lot of potential - fun premise and strong cast - however, the script itself was not quite up to the challenge. There are funny bits, primarily coming from Louise Lambert in a variety of roles (from solitaire-obsessed Siren, to perky travel agent, to acerbic waitress) and Mat Busby in a small but memorable role. As a couple celebrating their 25th anniversary, Adele and Sam, Stephanie Wolfe and Julien Arnold work hard to push the piece, but the writing just doesn't feel worth it. It's an interesting premise, but relies a bit too much on cliches and generalizations to make you care.

Contractions
Dogheart Theatre
Venue 13 - Strathcona Library

Just how much does your employer get to say about your life? That's the question this show seems to ask. In more and more ridiculous ways, the Manager (April Banigan) demands information and action from her employee Emma (Kristi Hansen). It's sharp and funny and many people will relate to Emma's need to stay compliant and positive despite unreasonable demands from the Manager. Hopefully no-one relates too much, as some of the demands are truly horrific. A solid piece where office politics have severe consequences.

Friday, August 17, 2018

WORD OF MOUTH: Fringe 2018

Every Fringe I chat with the people I see in line or the beer tent and find out what shows they would recommend based on what they have seen so far. It's early, but I got a few recommendations today:

Stories About Love, Death and a Rabbit
Don't Frown at the Gown
Everything's Coming Up Chickens
Tease
For Science!

I'm taking tomorrow off to celebrate my anniversary, so I will be back getting word of mouth recommendations on Sunday!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Fringe Reviews: FETCH and BUYER AND CELLAR

Fetch (by Cat Walsh)
Interloper Theatre
Venue 28 - The Playhouse

My first show of the 37th Fringe was a good choice. A fascinating tale of two Hannah Morgans that plays with possibility and probability. The Hannahs (Lora Brovold and Cat Walsh) narrate their eerily similar yet significantly different lives to relate a story that leaves you wondering what really happened. Guided by an interpretation of the Schrodinger's Cat Theory and a mysterious stuffed dog called Mr. Anderson, you will be drawn into the parallel and diverging stories. It's great story-telling that is unpredictable and engaging. The writing is excellent and the performances compelling. 

Next Stage Productions
Venue 10 - Have Mercy Acacia Hall

I was fortunate to be invited to a Preview of this one-man show about the mall in Barbra Streisand's basement. Gregory Caswell plays the fictional lone employee of the mall which is used to display the many things that Barbra has collected over her life. It's full of funny, laugh-out-loud moments with humour specially designed for the musical theatre lover and for anyone who is a fan of Streisand.  Caswell is charming and believable as the 'real person' in the presence of the larger than life diva and he is the perfect guide to the world of the superstar's mall. He also deftly channels several other characters from boyfriend Barry, to James Brolin, to the great Babs herself. 

FRINGE PREVIEW: Interesting Pairings... Choose a couple of shows that may or may not go together...

I've been spending a lot of time on the Fringe website, researching and reading about the different shows. It will be terrific to buy my program today, but the website has given me a lot to think about, in particular, that there are some shows that seem like they might 'go together' either in contrasting or in comparative ways... Here are some suggestions for some elegant pairings:

Why not pair 50 First Dates with F*ck Tinder: A Love Story? Both are journeys through the world of dating to find love but told from different perspectives. As one who escaped the advent of online dating apps, I think both would likely give me insight into a world that somewhat terrifies me. For those who are  little younger than me, I am pretty sure that both these shows would  resonate for you and no doubt you would have similar stories to share.


If you like Sketch Comedy, why not pair Marv n' Berry Presents: Everyone Panic, Please with Blackout Presents: Show me the Goods! Both are locally based sketch comedy groups with proven track records. I'm sure that bother are guarenteed to make you laugh! I like both Improv and Sketch, but sketch can tend to be a little more consistent as the artists can really craft their show and it's not so dependent on the suggestions from the audience.

There are two shows about polygamy at this year's Fringe. It might be worth seeing both to compare approaches, especially if you are fascinated by this kind of world. I think Bountiful is more of a play, and The Progressive Polygamists is more of a satirical presentation, so they are bound to discuss the issue differently.

If you are a fan of detective stories, you might want to check out The Real Inspector Hound and 2 Sherlock Holmes Mysteries. The former is the highly acclaimed, wild and wonderfully absurd murder mystery farce brought to the Fringe from Edmonton's Bright Young Things and featuring some of Edmonton's brightest and funniest (Belinda Cornish, Mat Busby, Andrew MacDonald-Smith, Louise Lambert, Garret Ross, Troy O'Donnell, Jenny McKillip and Ashley Wright). The second comes from "Masters of the Fringe" John D. Huston and Kenneth Brown who play everyone in this 60 minutes Sherlock Holmes extravaganza.

Family stories? Check out these two one-man shows about Grandmothers: Nonna's Story and My Grandmother's Maid. Stories that look at the lighter side of death? How about Let's Talk about Your Death and Five Stages of Death?

There's at least a hundred more ways to pair shows - but hopefully this has given you a few ideas about where to start! Enjoy your fringing!


FRINGE PREVIEW: Escaped Alone - “It’s hard to imagine you’ll come across a more brilliant play this year.”

Director Amy Defelice completed the Fringe Preview email interview about her 2018 Edmonton Fringe offering, Caryl Churchill's Escaped Alone. Featuring some of Edmonton's finest actresses, it's sure to please...

Describe your Fringe show in 10 words or less. A comedy-drama about longtime female friends, confessions and catastrophes.

Now the longer description... what else should people know about it? This production is the Canadian premiere of a 2016 Caryl Churchill play, after productions in London and New York.  Churchill is considered of the best playwrights in the world, a dynamic innovator.  She wrote Top Girls and Cloud 9.  Time Out Magazine wrote of Escaped Alone that it is “It’s hard to imagine you’ll come across a more brilliant play this year.” There is a stellar cast for the Edmonton production Vivien Bosley, Judy McFerran, Holly Turner and Alison Wells. It is a surprisingly funny play.

What makes Escaped Alone a great choice for the Fringe? It is a 55 minute gem that both amuses and gives the audience much to think about.  It is brilliantly written - our preview audience related to the characters and how they talk.

Okay, you're in rehearsal with an amazing group of people...
    a. Who makes you laugh the most? They all have different senses of humour that amuses me in different ways, but Marion Brant (our Stage Manager) has a fabulously dry sense of humour. 
    b. Who makes you groan? Alison Wells has the most wicked sense of humour (so she gets the prize for making me groan).
    c. Who is most likely to give you a massage? This is  group that can make a great Gin and Tonic at times of stress, rather than giving a massage.

The Official Description: Three old friends and a neighbor. A summer of afternoons in the backyard. Tea and catastrophe. The future. Domestic and wild. [Ms. Churchill is] "the most dazzlingly inventive living dramatist in the English language." She is the author of Cloud Nine and Top Girls.

Click here for tickets.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

FRINGE PREVIEW: Vancouver's Hip.Bang! presents Surveil

Devin Mackenzie from Vancouver's Hip.Bang! answered my Fringe Preview Questionnaire about their Edmonton Fringe production Surveil.  Check out more about this show that's sure to make everyone laugh!

Describe your Fringe show in 10 words or less. A comedy show about being watched.

Now the longer description... what else should people know about it?
Award-winning comedy duo Hip.Bang! (Just For Laughs, Comedy Central, The Irrelevant Show) returns with a new immersive comedy about modern surveillance and invasion of privacy. Please arrive early to sign the mandatory waiver and to prepare your belly for some deep, satisfying laughs. ***** -National Post/Edmonton Journal

What makes Surveil a great choice for the Fringe? This show has it all. A comedy from two trusted veterans, a subject matter that affects us all, and some theatrical techniques that we believe have never been done before.

 Okay, you're in rehearsal with an amazing group of people...
    a. Who makes you laugh the most? We were lucky enough to work with Peter Carlone from Peter n' Chris (Canadian Comedy Award Winners Best Sketch Group) so needless to say he made us laugh constantly and hard
    b. Who makes you groan? We were unfortunate enough to work with Peter Carlone from Peter n' Chris (Canadian Comedy Award Winners Best Sketch Group) so needless to say he made us groan constantly and hard.
    c. Who is most likely to give you a massage? We were fortunate enough to work with Peter Carlone from Peter n' Chris (Canadian Comedy Award Winners Best Sketch Group) so needless to say he constantly gave us massages with his strong, dextrous hands.

Hip.Bang! presents Surveil

Returning to Edmonton are Best-of-Fest winners Tom Hill and Devin Mackenzie in this groundbreaking new work of comedy which fuses the duo's signature style with live technology and surveillance used directly on and with the audience, creating a theatre experience unlike anything seen before. Surveil explores, deconstructs and celebrates the ways our world is watching us in an immersive, multimedia theatre experience that will scare and delight audiences in equal parts.

Click here for tickets.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

FRINGE PREVIEW: Adopted at the Edmonton Fringe!

Olivia Latta, Co-creator and Director of Adopted, took some time to answer my Fringe Preview Questionnaire about the show!  Enjoy!

Describe your Fringe show in 10 words or less. Like a rural Albertan "This Is Us", with more ketchup. 

Now the longer description... what else should people know about it? Adopted is a one-man storytelling show about the realities of being adopted. What makes a family? Is blood really thicker than water? And who are my parents anyways? Equal parts hilarious and heart-wrenching, Adopted explores serious themes about childhood and family, and a love of ketchup.  

What makes Adopted a great choice for the Fringe? You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll definitely want to go for hotdogs. Oh, and remember MSN messenger and all the pop-punk bands you used to listen to in Junior High. Well get ready, cause we'll be bringing you back to those awkward days. Also, this will be the perfect show to bring your dad to, trust us.  


Okay, you're in rehearsal with an amazing group of people...    
a. Who makes you laugh the most? Adam
b. Who makes you groan? Also, Adam.
c. Who is most likely to give you a massage? Gino, my family's cocker spaniel who will sometimes watch the show, sometimes run into your lap, and almost always steal the end of the show by barking at absolutely nothing.

The Official Description: Adopted is a one-man storytelling show about the realities of being adopted. What makes a family? Is blood really thicker than water? And, most importantly, who are my parents anyway? Both hilarious and heart-wrenching, Adopted explores serious themes about childhood and family through both drama and comedy. Minors welcome to shows starting before 9pm.

Click here for tickets.

FRINGE PREVIEW: Cult Cycle presented by Straight Edge Theatre

I email chatted with Director and co-creator of Cult Cycle, Bethany Hughes.  Here are her answers to our Fringe Preview Questions!

Describe your Fringe show in 10 words or less. Hot. Sweaty. Hilarious. 'Spin'cere Spoof. 

Now the longer description... what else should people know about it? This production is amazing and has been such a gift to work on, write, and direct. This insanely talented group of spinners, alongside the INCREDIBLE support from Jeff and Jordan Law (SpinUnity) have been awe inspiring to work with. We have had so much fun to building and creating and spinning.  The hidden secret of this show, is that this entire team had to learn how to spin, actually spin and each actor took multiple fitness classes (barre, conditioning, running, endurance etc.) and attended spin classes to prepare. The work on the character, vocals and lines is hard enough, but this show is also very physically demanding. 

What makes Cult Cycle a great choice for the Fringe? Cult Cycle is a great fringe show because it evokes all the things that make the #yegfringe festival so wonderful to be a part of. It is a new work, it is a different kind of show in the way it is staged and the topic and content are also perfect for a Fringe audience. 

Okay, you're in rehearsal with an amazing group of people...
    a. Who makes you laugh the most? This cast is full of characters, each one of them is hilarious and has had me on the floor at one point. I am torn. I have to say Mark Sinongco and Jaimi Reese are probably the two who make me laugh the most.
    b. Who makes you groan? Shoshana, Stephen's puppy. She has been our unofficial rehearsal mascot for the last few weeks. She manages to bark along to the lyrics
    c. Who is most likely to give you a massage? Jordan Campion. She is an incredibly supportive and generous Stage Manager, and would give anyone her spin tank on her back, if you asked for it, let alone a massage. 

The Official Description: There is a new spin studio in town! Welcome to Cult Cycle where you will burn fat and arise a new you from the ashes. This original musical gives a new meaning to the statement "That spin class was torture". Be prepared to "Get FIT or DIE trying!"

Click here for tickets.

Photo Credit: Taylor Pitman

Friday, August 10, 2018

FRINGE PREVIEW: Some of my Fringe Favourites onstage this year...

Fringe for many of us is always a challenge because there are so many thngs to see and since Edmonton is blessed with such a fabulous theatre community, it also becomes a chance to see our favourites... The trouble is I have so many!!!

Here are a few:

PUNCH UP

The Description: The Most Pathetic Guy Ever kidnaps the Funniest Man Alive to make the Saddest Girl in the World laugh.
Who are my favourites: Ever since I saw Merran Carr-Wiggin and Evan Hall in Gruesome Playground Injuries a few Fringes ago they moved to my Fringe Favourites list! They have wonderful chemistry together and I can't want to see what this show is all about!
Click here for tickets.


TRAGEDY: A TRAGEDY

The Description: A local news team bravely stands in front of an unfolding catastrophe prepared to bring unflinching coverage. But as the night wears on and answers can't be found... they flinch. From the Sterling Award-winning company behind "Never Swim Alone" (*****) and held-over hit, "Legoland."
Who is my favourite: I have never been disappointed by Blarney Productions Fringe shows. This one also features the delightful Luc Tellier and Cody Porter (who always makes me laugh - even when not onstage).
Click here for tickets.

A LESSON IN BRIO

The Description: Teatro returns to the Fringe with a Lemoine premiere, his first all-new full length offering at the Festival since The Euphorians in 2014. Starring Rachel Bowron, Patricia Cerra, Mathew Hulshof, and Jenny McKillop- all abundantly well-equipped to flourish in this sizzling demonstration of mind over matter and vivacity over adversity.
Who's my favourite: Always fun to see the new Lemoine! And Bowron, Hulshof and McKillop are among those I love to see in a crisp comedy!
Click here for tickets.

BUSHES IN THE BASEMENT

The Description: Catherine Ballangagger's life was a perfect Summer day; until her father was killed in a horrible car accident! Now she is forced to share a basement room with her brother Christopher, under the watchful eye of their cruel grandmother! A parody of "Flowers in the Attic" by V.C. Andrews. Warnings: Religious Content, Sexual Content, Adult Language, Cartoonish Violence
Who is my favourite: I'm a big fan of Lilith Fair/Zachary Parsons-Lozinski ever since I first saw him at a Fringe long, long ago! Expect this to be wildly inappropriate.
Click here for tickets.

FOR SCIENCE!

The Description: The Professor and her Lab Assistants need YOU for their research. An absurd investigation of instant gratification and celebration of the scientific method. From the one of the minds behind Toy Guns Dance Theatre *****, Ask Aggie****, and official hold-over, Fools for Love *****. For Truth! For Glory! FOR SCIENCE!
Who is my favourite: How can you not love Christine Lesiak - smart and funny!? Plus it's science-related - I love science!
Click here for tickets.

ONE MAN WALKING DEAD

The Description: The Dead walk! Society has crumbled and ravenous corpses rule... Can a ragtag band of survivors make their way in an undead world? Mark Meer bites into a script co-written by Fringe festival favourite T.J. Dawe. A one-man parody of the zombie TV series spawned by the zombie comic book.
Who is my favourite: Those who know me, know of my love for The Walking Dead, but this also has the man of a million voices, Mark Meer! Sounds like a zombie-riffic show!
Click here for tickets.


Stay posted for more! So many to choose from!



Fringe Preview: SOFIE'S WILD RIDE

Director Louise Mallory took the time to answer a few quick questions about her 2018 Fringe Show - Sofie's Wild Ride!

Describe your Fringe show in 10 words or less. The older women housemates of Golden Girls are back! 

Now the longer description... what else should people know about it? Sofie's Wild Ride has an original script by local Amanda LeBlanc, a huge fan of the old Golden Girls episodes, and is a delightful exploration of living with people you don't necessarily like but definitely care about.  There are a few male characters (all played by Brian Ault) but there are lots of conversations between women that aren't about a man (passes the Bechdel test).

What makes Sophie's Wild Ride a great choice for the Fringe? It's funny!  It's easy to connect with whether or not you remember the characters of the original TV show.  And we're in an air conditioned venue that serves drinks (Billiard Club, 10505 82 Avenue, upstairs/no elevator)

Okay, you're in rehearsal with an amazing group of people... 
    a. Who makes you laugh the most?  Nicole English and her eye-rolling physical embodiment of 83 year old Sofie.
    b. Who makes you groan?  Ana Fassmann and her random comments!
    c. Who is most likely to give you a massage?  We have a great cast full of supportive people, but I'd have to pick Rhonda Kozuska. 

The Description: Wise-cracking Golden Gal Sofie Palermo has gone to the great beyond...or so she thinks. Join Sofie's trip down memory lane with daughter Doralee (a square), best friends Brooke (a sexpot) and Rowe (a nitwit). Does Sofie learn a lesson? Maybe; maybe not. Either way, this 83-year-old is wickedly funny!
Warnings: Religious Content, Adult Language
Duration: 45 minutes

Click here for tickets.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Fringe Preview: Musicals are my jam... So many to choose from!

This is another great Fringe for musicals and musical revues. Since I have spent roughly 67% of my theatrical career involved in musicals either as actor or director, this is where I tend to focus the bulk of my time... Here's a few that look interesting to me:

EVERYTHING'S COMING UP CHICKENS!
The Description: The Janes are back with it's first ever musical revue at the Fringe! The Sterling-Award-winning company celebrates all things theatre, ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime-boldly going inside the world of entertainment featuring musical gems of yesterday and today. "Everything's coming up roses and daffodils and...chickens!" (Gypsy)
Why I want to see it: Well, they quote Gypsy in the description... that right there catches my attention. It's also the Plain Janes who have a proven track record for producing quality musicals for the Fringe. The cast is super solid and I have been enjoying seeing their 'choreography clips' online as they prepare for Fringe.
Click here for tickets.

FOSSEGRIM & NØKK
The Description: Saga loves to learn, read, and make music. But what Saga craves most is adventure. In an epic tale inspired by Scandinavian folklore, Saga journeys deep into the wood where she meets Fossegrim and Nøkk, two shapeshifting siblings with magical powers. Playful fun for the whole family!
Why I want to see it: Although I am Norwegian I actually know very little about my Scandinavian heritage. This might be a fun way to find out more. I think from the description, however, I might need to find a small person to bring with me...
Click here for tickets.

HANDEL: THE MUSICAL
The Description: Hallelujah! Classical composer, George Frideric Handel makes a deal with God to come back for one last performance - all His broadway favourites! How fabulous is that?! Ron Long of Il Duo Fringe fame is back with this one man show!
Why I want to see it: Well, Ron Long is hysterical and a terrific vocalist. If you listen to CBC radio in the morning you may have heard him give vocal coaching - which is much funnier than it should be!
Click here for tickets.



JOSEPHINE
The Description: An Award-winning off-Broadway musical about the iconic Josephine Baker, the first African-American international superstar and one of the most remarkable figures of the 20th Century. "tour de force." 5 Stars-CBC "perfect piece of theatre for the time we're currently in" 5 Stars-Plays To See NYC 5 Stars-Winnipeg Free Press
Why I want to see it: There is something compelling about a musical about Josephine Baker - imagine the life she led! I'm also intrigued to see how they will incorporate burlesque into it.
Click here for tickets.

SWEETHEARTS OF THE 49TH
The Description: From the creators of five star, held-over hits, "Chasing Willie Nelson", "Valentine's Train" and "Forget Me Not" comes a touching musical tribute to WW2 history. Four young women find themselves in front of a microphone, searching for their voices and the learning what it means to tell the truth.
Why I want to see it: Well, if you read the After the House Lights Blog post about my most memorable Fringe experience, then you know it involved "Forget Me Not". Since this is the same creator, I think it's worth the risk! It's also got a stellar cast of local vocalists.
Click here for tickets. 

I've mentioned a couple other musicals in my other preview posts. Check those out for more ideas!

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Fringe Preview: Looking for something a little serious... Here are a few Dramas on the docket that have me interested...

I like a good laugh, a good musical, but I also like a solid drama. Luckily for me, the Fringe has everything! Here's what caught my eye in a more serious vein...

APRICOT STONES
The Description: It's 1980 in Kabul. When Adela is attacked by mujahideen on a trip to the market one day, she is rescued by Azad. The two become fast friends, but soon deeper feelings dance them dangerously close to a fine line that has Adela's devout younger brother questioning her family honour.
Why I want to see it: I've been working with a playwright on a couple of plays about Iran and to support that work I've been reading a lot about that part of the world. I'm thinking this might be another way to access more about it from a different perspective.
Click here for tickets.

CALL MR. ROBESON
The Description: A rollercoaster journey through African-American actor and singer Paul Robeson's remarkable life, highlighting his pioneering and heroic political activism. Features Ol' Man River and other famous songs, much fiery oratory, and a defiant testimony to the House Un-American Activities Committee. "First rate." (4 stars) The Guardian
Why I want to see it: I love finding out more about real people and periods of history through theatre. I've also always been fascinated by the McCarthy era politics (thanks to an American History course I took over 25 years ago), and this description intrigues me...
Click here for tickets.

JAKE'S GIFT
The Description: Jake's Gift is back to celebrate 10 years since it first played at the Edmonton Fringe Festival in August 2008! This surprisingly funny drama tells the moving story of a Canadian WW2 veteran's reluctant return to Juno Beach to find the grave of the brother who never came home.
Why I recommend it: I have actually seen this show before and if you haven't, you probably should. Bring tissues.
Click here for tickets.



CONTRACTIONS
The Description: The company you work for is terrifying. Your sex life is a matter for the HR department. To what extreme would you go to keep your job? The lasses who brought you the Fringe hit The Superhero Who Loved Me are back with a horribly plausible tale of workplace fear.
Why I want to see it: April Banigan and Kristi Hansen. I love seeing both of them onstage, so together feels like a real bonus!
Click here for tickets.



Stay posted for more! I'm personally wishing I had more time to see more shows!

Fringe Preview: New work from Michele Vance Hehir - ONE POLAROID




Award-winning playwright Michele Vance Hehir is bringing another new work to this year's Fringe. Here's her email interview about her new show, One Polaroid:


Describe your Fringe show in 10 words or less. Two unmarried sisters and their nephew celebrate his 20th birthday.

Now the longer description... what else should people know about it? It takes place in a small dying town in Alberta in the spring of 1973. It's a play about family: sisters, mothers and sons. And it's a story of a birthday celebration with punch and cake and questionable 70's music...

What makes One Polaroid a great choice for the Fringe? It's a story about something we can all identify with - our families. The love we have for them, but also the way in which family - who have known you your whole life - always knows exactly what buttons to push. It's a dramedy!

Okay, you're in rehearsal with an amazing group of people... 
    Who makes you laugh the most? Julie Golosky. Because she makes the most expressive faces and will do almost anything for a LAUGH!
    Who makes you groan? Boyan Peycoff. Funny, smart and cheeky.
    Who is most likely to give you a massage? Definitely Jennifer Spencer. 

Description: 1973. In a dying Alberta town, a dysfunctional relationship between 2 sisters unfolds as they wait for their nephew to arrive for his annual birthday tradition of fruit punch, cake and lost dreams. RUINATION/(2017) Liz Nicholls - "...an intriguing little piece, artfully constructed, and acted with commitment."
Click here for tickets. 

Warnings: Adult Language
Duration: 60 minutes

Fringe Preview: AHUNWAR: THE DEVIL'S LONG NAP

I did a little email interview with Daniel Greenways who is from Night Canopy Theatre who are producing Ahunwar: The Devil's Long Nap at this year's Fringe. Here's what he had to say about the show:
Describe your Fringe show in 10 words or less. Two Zoroastrian demons fight back against their own destinies!

Now the longer description... what else should people know about it? 
Ahunwar: The Devil’s Long Nap is a show that takes something mythological and turns it into something human. It takes a story about time and magic and turns it into a story about memory and the unknown. It takes cosmic conflicts and turns them into personal, existential struggles. Ahunwar is set in a mysterious den of darkness, in which a demoness named Jeh awakens Ahriman from a deep, unnatural slumber. As Ahriman recovers his lost memories, he begins to rediscover his past life, but he is not sure he wants to follow the same path again. Things do not go as planned, and the pair start questioning their identities, their freedom, and everything they think they know to be true. Ahunwar is an adaptation of a medieval Zoroastrian myth by local playwright Jonah Dunch, and it’s a pretty wild ride!

What makes Ahunwar: The Devil's Long Nap a great choice for the Fringe? 
Going to a Fringe show is an act of faith. Why not make your act of faith about a bunch of acts of faith? More to the point, it touches on some topical topics as well, such as power and control over others, sexual freedom and bad choices, and the differences between the world of the past and the world of the present. Also, going to a Fringe show is a great opportunity to support up-and-coming local artists. Ahunwar captures that Fringe spirit through and through. Our entire cast and crew is made up of young, local artists currently studying at University (in a wide variety of programs). Many of our cast and crew have also been involved in the Citadel’s well-known Young Companies programs.

Okay, you're in rehearsal with an amazing group of people... 
    Who makes you laugh the most? I think my actors (Braden and Christina) make me laugh the most. I like to work in a space where they feel comfortable following impulses. We had a recording session at one point, and it was a lot of fun when they started playing around with their voices.

    Who makes you groan? The cat, Bert. Bert is the resident cat at our rehearsal hall, and he was leaving us alone until LAST REHEARSAL when he decided to run around the set and make everyone laugh. If you want to see Bert, you can catch him in our production playing the uncredited role of the “inaudible cat that is in a room far away”.

   Who is most likely to give you a massage? Probably Braden, which is ironic considering the fact that he plays the Zoroastrian devil.

Description: An exciting new adaptation of Zoroastrian mythology! Three thousand years after a cosmic war, a demoness named Jeh awakens the devil Ahriman from a deep, unnatural slumber. As Ahriman recovers his lost memories, the pair start questioning their identities, their freedom, and everything they think they know to be true. 
Warnings: Religious Content, Sexual Content, Adult Language
Duration: 60 minutes

Click here for tickets.