So last night’s megastorm managed to hit just late enough into my baseball game that we didn’t get to play much but were too far along to fit in another show before our planned late night outings. Oh well, at least I got noodles!
Girl’s End: Zombie Apocalypse- Venue #6
It’s unfinished. That much is obvious even without reading about it being a work in progress. The last 1/3 of an already pretty short (~40m) show feels flimsy and the ending is at best tacked on. Despite this I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know who likes goofy musical theatre because the songs are great and the spunky performance from one woman powerhouse Jenna Warriner makes it totally worth it. Bring it back as a finish product please folks.
Fruit Flies Like a Banana – Venue #10
The unclassifiable genre for this one is pretty accurate. Music, Dance, Performance Art? Whatever you want to call it, these three multitalented performers from Boston spend an hour barrelling their way through one heck of a show. As a recovering Bass Trombone player myself I had a soft spot for the day in the life of a bass trombone bit, but most bits were great and everything was at the very least interesting. I thought it was hilarious that they pulled out an old radio free vestibule bit that I was pretty sure only my high school friend and I had ever heard of.
4.5/5 (admittedly probably not to the taste of people not into music)
Happiness – Venue #8
This didn’t do as much for me as it seems to for some people. It’s a tale of two self-help product pushers facing the biggest launch of their lives just as their facade of self confidence begins to crumble. The performances were great but something about it didn’t quite grab me, thinking back now though I’m willing to admit I may just not have been in the right headspace for it at that moment.
3/5 (others feel differently)
Gossamer Obsessions: Wilt -Venue #2
This one on the other hand I was in perfect headspace for. Fractured parables for life (and death?) A mysterious (and evil?) apple. Pretty much indescribable but delightfully weird and funny. Not much more can be said without spoiling things. Like “an Iron Maiden made of pillows… the punishment is DECADENCE.” I can get behind that.
In Search of Cruise Control – Venue #1
I was never able to get in to see James Gangl’s previous show ‘Sex, Religion and other Hang-ups’ but I heard pretty great things. His followup is a weird and emotionally charged beast. The story of his transition from guilty catholic teen to giving his nephew the proper sex talk he never got is an entertaining one before a sharp sharp turn into a revelation that shatters (purposefully) the easy ryhtym of the show and suddenly gives new meaning to some of the earlier passages. It’s a testament to Gangl’s skill as a storyteller that he takes the audiences shock and weaves it back into the previous narrative to bring us full circle. It’s one heck of an accomplishment in my opinion and I hope it’s as cathartic a show as it seems to be for him.
DND Improv – Revisit
My cousin has been a fan in previous years and since this was the only night he could hit fringe we checked in for another installment. I stand by my earlier comments about possible staleness (I really do hope they take a year off while the GSAC redev is going on) but this episode was much much better.
Dr. Caligari’s Cabaret of Bullshit
For those who have never attended, the cabaret is a fundraiser traditionally held at midnight and involving a swathe of performers from across the fringe. It’s heavy on the out of town performers and (at least as was explained to me years ago by a performer) is meant as a thank you to the city. This year it was organized by Tara Travis/Penny Ashton and other mainstays. Lighting is provided by audience members using flashlights and a good chunk of the audience is performers who may or may not be on stage at some point. Bits are esoteric and numerous. Last night’s show included mashups of shows, a ‘who’s had the worst fringe’ faceoff between accident victim Fraz and review assassinated Jon Bennett in a bunny costume, rants from TJ Dawe and Jem Rolls, Cameryn Moore and Tonya Miller getting into a feminist sex call faceoff and an opera performance! Honestly you never know what you’re going to see.
Thoughtfully always held at a licensed venue too! If you’ve never been make plans for next year (and don’t do as I did and try to go to work the next day)
Sadly we’re now into the last few days of fringe and the masochist in me won’t let himself skip tonight’s inevitable blue bomber shellacking by the Stampeders so it’s going to be one lunchtime show for me today. Also sleep because I got home from the cabaret just before 2 and couldn’t fall asleep until 3… then had a staff meeting first thing.
Plans for the weekend include catching up on a few fun sounding shows I’ve missed, checking out a few people who impressed me at the cabaret and attending the final (ever?) performance of the current lineup of Outside Joke and indeed probably the final performance of Outside Joke in their current improvised musical format as it’s Leif who is committing more fully to his new life in Edmonton (boo.)
Hope to see you fringing!