I honest to god have no idea how I managed 4 more shows Thursday with the ridiculously small amount of sleep I got after getting home from the cabaret and taking care of everything/getting up for work at the regular time. I probably should have just taken off an hour for more sleep instead of checking out a so-so show at 3:30.
One complaint in general for the fringe this year is that for this show the volunteers at the door were incredibly slow. Venue 1 is one of the bigger houses (275) and CKS is a popular (darned close to sold out even at lunch.) Advance tickets must have been sold out or close to it as well… yet fifteen minutes before show time as the doors open we have one volunteer checking the list slowly, scanning for the name, not finding it, scanning again, finding it, slowly stamping two tickets and tearing them, finally moving on to the next person. Unsurprisingly the line to pick up advance tickets stretches around the corner and is NOT moving. Meanwhile the volunteer doing regular ticket sales is just sitting there. It was honestly getting to the point where I almost pulled out the super pass and got 2 new tickets just to make sure I’d get in (if it hadn’t been so obviously close to a sell out I would have, but I didn’t want to be a douche.) Eventually as it was 3 mins to curtain and the line was still 20 people deep someone else started stamping the tickets so at least we got that part out of this volunteer’s process but yegods it took forever. I wish this was an isolated incident but this has been the case for any busy show I’ve seen at venue 1 this year, Chess was also particularly bad.
So Dearest Winnipeg Fringe, if we’re sticking with this ticket pickup method for next year I’d like to ask the following for busy shows in large venues:
- Train your volunteers to split up the duties better, no reason cash sales guy couldn’t have been ripping and stamping tickets ahead of time when not busy, most venues do this and it’s particularly important in these cases.
- When advance tickets are sold out for a 150+ seat venue maybe consider sending a rover over 15 mins before that showtime to help out?
- Not to be impolite about this but perhaps your faster volunteers could be at bigger/busier venues? If it’s the first time someone’s done ticketing maybe assign them to Son of Warehouse or Cinematheque?
- In the same vein, most of your volunteers are on the mature side and don’t have the greatest eyesight anymore, maybe print your advance ticket lists with better spacing and a less eye-strainy font size?
On to the review nonsense…
Channelling Kevin Spacey – Wolf and William – Venue #1
This one is from the same folks as Becoming Banksy and definitely shows the same comic sensibility while also having the tightness I thought was missing from the newer show. Same m.o. as well with the one actor playing the lead and his companion playing every other character. In the show sad-sack Charlie decides that he’s been channelling Kevin Spacey’s sad-sack roles and decides to go to the opposite extreme and loose the raging ID of Pacino’s middle period. What really sells it is his Pacino impression as he’s quite good at getting that set of the jaw and raging crazy eyes look.
Hey 90s Kids You’re Old – Hole Punch Prods – Venue #10
Packed for a half priced afternoon show with an enthusiastic crowd (that to be quite honest seemed to lean on the too young side for a lot of the references) the Planetarium Auditorium A/C still manages to be overpowering and chilly. A few of the sketches are quite brilliant and most are decent to good but a bit of pruning or at least some extra work might have elevated this to a can’t miss show. Unfortunately the sketches that miss the mark do so rather badly and drag down the rest of the laughs as a result, though iIt’s hard to be too harsh when the ending dance number is so enthusiastic.
Oni – Mochinosha – Venue 26
It’s quite a climb to get to venue 26 and given the heat and humidity in the stairwell I was prepared to die of heat stroke during the show. Thankfully once you’re in the room itself things are much cooler and you can settle in to see a delightfully weird shadow puppet extravaganza. Nothing is hidden in the venue so you’re able to see the two performers work the puppets or simply concentrate on the screen as you wish. It’s naughty and silly but also beautiful as the intricate hand made puppets tell the story.
Butt Kapinski – Venue 26
Later that night at the same venue I caught film noir audience participation extravaganza Butt Kapinski. This one is a weird and delightful show but pretty much anything I can say about it would spoil the experience/surprise so just go!
Overheard in line:
- One lady upon reaching the top of the first 3 flights of stairs and finding a new set to climb: Oh my god, there’s more, I should have brought a water bottle.
Butt Kapinski – Just a ton of fun with an inventive and hilarious performer.