I kicked off the Fringe on Thursday night with 2 shows at the Varscona Hotel. The Big Bright is a new musical which combines musical theatre with clowning tropes and explores the impact of advertising and media on self-esteem. Whimsical costumes and biting humour are highlights of this show. Be warned, despite the costume aesthetic, it is not for kids! It was an interesting and out-of-the-box way to explore the issues of self and media. I followed that up with Never Swim Alone - a Canadian classic by Daniel MacIvor. This is a perfect script, and if you haven't seen it, I recommend checking out this tightly directed and well-performed piece.
World's Wife featuring a trio of excellent actresses performing monologues from many women of history. There was much humour in the creative approach to each character and situation complete with musical introduction and clever costuming. I detoured into children's theatre with an original new musical called Baba Yaga. It was very clever and funny and the cast were all delightful singers. I took in Suspension, another new work with an absurdist sensibility and fine acting. It's a hard one to explain, and it's best to see this one with no spoilers. If you enjoy long form improv you might enjoy my next show, The Trip, which gets suggestions from the audience for a journey based improvised story. It's different every time, so you'll have to see yourself what it will be! I always like to check out a few dance shows at the Fringe, as I rarely get to them during the regular season. SWIPE is a stunning piece that kept me entirely engaged - humorous, relate-able, with beautiful choreography. I closed the day off with Local Diva, another new work from an up-and-coming young playwright, this one about being gay and growing up in Alberta.
Girl Brain Takes the Fringe! The laughs kept coming with Triassic Parq, an ridiculously funny musical about cloned dinosaurs in a frictional park (yes, it should feel familiar). It's definitely not for children, but in a good and irreverent way! I refuse to feel guilty for laughing so much, and man-oh-man can they all sing! Speaking of singing, I followed that up with Crescendo!, another new musical, this one about choral singing. As a former choir member I could relate to a lot of it, and the music is lovely. After that I ran to King Edward School to catch Red, the brilliant two-hander about Mark Rothko. It's such a good script and this show is very well directed and well performed. If you haven't seen Red, I would recommend checking it out - it's an ambitious piece for a Fringe show and this company does a wonderful job with it. Finally I wrapped up my day with The Trophy Hunt, a trio of monologues about trophy hunting told from the perspective of three very different concerned parties. It was sharp and funny and visually stunning.
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