Fringe has been amazing thus far, to the point where I’ve had no time at all to write anything til now.
Sadly as is becoming routine I missed the first night of the festival due to a softball game. Thankfully I made up for with a quick hit for two thursday night and a solid day long 4 plays Friday, almost 5 but we got in the wrong line for Jem Rolls and missed tickets by about 45 seconds.
Luckily for us, solace was found at the Cupcakery on Stradbrook as we waited for perennial favorite “Sound and Fury” at the Gas Station (venue #18)
but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Thursday saw us trying to beat the inevitable crowds at T.J. Dawe’s later shows by catching Totem Figures on our first night.
Unfortunately for me my fringe companions chose to tell me the wrong time after having picked up the tickets so it was by the skin of my teeth (and winded and sweaty after having sprinted from Graham and Smith to PTE) that I made it inside at more or less the stroke of 7:14:59. While TJ was his usual rapid-fire, word-spinning self I can’t help but agree with the WFP that the show could easily have been trimmed a bit. Thankfully the seats at PTE are comfy so it’s hardly a bit issue. Dawe seemed to be even more personal than usual, telling us more about his inner self than simply observations and exaggerations of his personal adventures. He’s also apparently not living in Winnipeg anymore which would explain why I don’t randomly see him around these days. 4.25/5
Second up thursday night was “The Spy” a strange and (one might think after the performance we saw) not entirely ready one man 60’s/70’s spy spoof which was hampered by horrible sound and a few other hiccoughs. If the theme catches your eye it might be worth catching later in the week as there were some genuinely funny bits and a smoother more flowing performance would help the whole thing keep it’s zing. 3/5
The rest of thursday night looked a little sparse and we didn’t want to be up til 2:00 AM either so we decided to call it a night and get back out on our day off Friday.
I dragged out my cousin, a relative fringe newbie, and we randomly caught the first show near where we parked… which turned out to be The Movies (abridged) which was a perfectly pleasant (if none to original) mini-ode to movies with the subplot of decrying the force feeding of hollywood blockbusters via giant chain video stores. It was pleasant enough and helped along by some hilarious (and hilariously terrible) impressions and homages. 3.5/5
Next up was “How to fake Clinical Depression” which again had a few good moments but was not particularly memorable. I sadly couldn’t tell you much about it even 2 hours after I’d seen it which is never a good sign. The main actor is likeable enough, but I guess the script just didn’t grab me. 2.5/5
A pleasant beer and a terrible outdoor stage magician/”comedian” later (seriously bud, you’re a total hack and I can’t believe you quit your day job for this) we settled in for dinner and a beer with Chris Gibbs at the King’s Head. The Further Adventures of Antoine Feval a sequel to a much beloved show from a few years ago. As always Gibbs was hilarious and entertaining but also as always there was issues with getting the shows started and the sound system. Please Chris, spend the money on a sound man, or at least beg a friend to help you get going for the first show or two. When you’re already fitting a show you admitted you’d never done in under 70 mins into a 60 minute slot we don’t need you struggling with a sound board for an extra ten minutes and missing our next show. No, you definitely don’t have to have seen the original show to get the most out of this one… 4.5/5
Unfortunately missing Jem left us with the decision to simply head to Gas Station early, so we didn’t get to fit in 5 shows. The aforementioned delicious cupcake along with some brazillian music from a combo outside the Gas Station Theatre left us in the mood for a good evening ending show. The victorian antics of L.A. based Sound and Fury delivered in spades. Their infectious enthusiasm and apparently genuine love of Canada and Fringe circuit is always so nice to see. The show itself (while imo not quite reaching the heights of previous efforts) was amazing and I was happy to see that they got a 5 star rating in todays WFP. There’s no doubt they deserved it, and you should get there early if you want to catch the show despite the annoying seperateness of the GST.
More news tomorrow… time to catch a show.