It’s amazing how much fringing advance tickets let you pack in. I’m still planning on seeing a few spur of the moment shows in the last days of the fringe but being able to pack them close together and not worry about getting in, and doing so for free, is amazing. How much do I have to donate to get one of these golden tickets next year?
Three Men in a Boat – Pea Green Theatre – Venue #4
So incredibly British (for a Toronto based group) and well crafted. I’ve never read Jerome K. Jerome but I have seen various Three Men in a Boat inspired things over the years growing up with a Brit grandmother. I more or less knew what to expect but I wasn’t really anticipating it to be pulled off quite so well. Absolutely great and worth seeing if you enjoy quick word british comedy, but if that’s not your thing you’re not going to be converted here.
Broadway to Obscurity – Eric Gutman – Venue #16 PTE
An exploration of the personal career arc of the performer as he goes from being the dog in a school production to joining one of the biggest shows in the world on Broadway, then abandons it all. Gutman’s story is peppered with great music, a few spot on parodies and an engagement with the audience that many a fringe performer could learn from. For someone on his first fringe tour he seems to be enjoying the experience. I don’t mean this in at all a pejorative sense but this is the kind of fringe show everyone should bring their mom to.
Jon Bennett:Fire in the Meth Lab – Jon Bennett – Venue #9
If you’ve seen either of Jon’s previous shows you know what to expect: a mix of comedy and pathos based on his own experience and augmented by clever use of multimedia. This show is probably his best, and is definitely his most raw. He chronicles his childhood with his older brother Tim, and tries to trace what might have led Tim down the self-destructive path that left him in jail.
Eleanor’s Story: An American Girl in Hitler’s Germany – Shadows Obscured- Venue #4
My early favourite for my personal best play of the fringe. Ingrid Garner presents her grandmother’s story: an American family moving to Berlin just as Hitler invades Poland and her struggle to survive. From dull apprehension to suddenly being marked as an enemy, from seeing her first dead body to struggling with the aftermath of the bombings and the Russian invasion, Garner fully inhabits her role. We watch as this young girl becomes a woman under circumstances that would appal anyone and yet survives and rediscovers life even as she realizes she no longer fits in with her fellow American children she left so many years before.
I was absolutely blown away by this play and I’m hoping to grab the book on which it’s based soon. If you enjoyed Spiral Dive/Letters from Wartime etc. this one is for you.
Overheard in line:
“Why can’t she do the show without the projector?” (Well I guess we’ll see after we see the show won’t we idiot)
Eleanor’s Story was fantastic, I’m so glad they fixed the tech issue in time for the play to go forward.
Graham Clark Reads the Phone Book and 6 Guitars