The Buzz

Red Bastard: Lie With Me

Red Bastard—Asper Centre for Theatre and Film – U of W

We were dancing around the house with delight when we saw that our favorite bastard was finally returning to Winnipeg. His last show was one of those performances so titilating, provocative and different, that I could never forget it. Eric has created a delicious, devilish persona that scares you back a bit; and yet, his understanding of human nature and warmth perk through and draw you in. He has created a show that is so different from the usual Fringe fare, that it really is a must see and such a welcome change. The premise is to make you question your morality and just where your boundaries lie, and how much do you really lie. He interacts continuously with the audience and the success of the show grows with the honest input of the crowd.

We were blessed with a really special volunteer whose openness really brought the show to a new level. This young man had a female partner in the crowd, yet he was willing to feed Eric chocolate and be fed, share a messy mango, close dance and even kiss him. Eric lovingly washed the young man’s hands of the mango juice and tenderly dried his hands. You could see the actor’s appreciation of the extraordinary lengths this young man was willing to go to and his open heart just melted the audience as well. This again, was an experience that will never leave me. This is Fringe at its finest and if I can, I will take this in again. In 30 years I have never seen a show twice in one festival, but I will make an exception. My top show this year! Bravo Eric!

Lisa Campbell


Jezebel, at the Still Point

Bumble Bear Productions—The Rachel Browne Theatre

Perhaps Jezebel was tired, or maybe she’s just lazy, but for the amount of time she spent obediently out of the way (albeit in the middle of the stage but that was clearly on purpose) I was almost convinced she was trained, despite what the program says. That coupled with her frankly stellar comedic timing, at least at my show, I was almost tempted to double check with the performer. Ultimately, the show reads as a love note to man’s best friend, and even though I am a cat person at heart, I not only completely empathized but totally understood the lengths at which she would go to keep her pup around. Wonderfully physical, funny and light-spirited, dog lover or not you’ll walk out feeling happy.

Arden Pruden


Traveltheatrics

Standing Room Only Theatre—Planetarium Auditorium

I love to travel and if you add up all the miles I logged by plane, it’s almost enough to get to the moon. Despite all my travels, I don’t think I’ve enjoyed getaways as much as performer Keara Barnes. In her show, she relates her memorable journeys around the earth, told with enthusiasm and mirth.

A solid presenter, Barnes delivers her memories with acuity and precision. In each of her adventures, she takes on her own persona, and that of her companions, complete with the requisite accents. The characters are cute and fun, and her expressions are bold, but not overdone.

It’s an interesting story that leaves me with the lesson that vacations build memories; it’s with those memories that we relive our highlights. Thanks Barnes for sharing your insights.

Ray Yuen


JESUS CHRIST: The Lost Years

Monster Theatre—The King’s Head Pub

It is always a sure bet to see anything by Fringe veterans, Monster Theatre. They can be counted on to deliver and this is no exception. The amusing premise of covering the obscure years of Christ’s life from thirteen to thirty is cleverly done. Energy, intelligence and humour abound as these two gals throw their hearts and bodies into showing us what might have been during those lost years. This is what real professionals look and act like. Lots of thought and rehearsal went into this and it shows. Completely engaging and enjoyable, I would make sure to treat yourself and take this gem in.

Lisa Campbell


2 Sherlock Adventures

THEATrePUBLIC—One88

The two gentlemen drew upon their experience to deliver snappy quick dialogue and constant action. Despite multiple character shifts distinguished only by the hand off of a deerstalker I never had trouble discerning who was who and when, thanks to their physicality and distinct and consistent character voices. They would however benefit from slowing down, or at the very least articulating better, as sometimes I did miss dialogue, and they ran nearly ten minutes short, giving them the chance to take a breath. While I had admittedly already read one of the stories, I never found myself getting bored by the story, even though I knew the end. Funny and fast, the hour it takes certainly doesn’t seem like one.

Arden Pruden


Space Hippo

The Wishes Mystical Puppet Company—John Hirsch Mainstage

This company has been around for a few years and if you’re familiar with their work, they bring life to shadow puppets by manipulating cut-outs onto a screen. There’s normally a ludicrous plot that acts as the basis to comedy.

The formula stays true to Space Hippo (obviously). The cute puppets and execution brings reminiscence to childhood memories of adults relating monster stories. This show features plenty of monsters,
bolstered by the sinister voice and evil laughs. Fun as always and well worth a watch!

Ray Yuen


421 Is Dead: A Stormtrooper’s Story

Leaf Productions—The King’s Head Pub

I wished I was dead numerous times during this thing. If you want to see two adults playing with milk crates and going “beep beep”, go ahead. The fact that these two thought this was ready to go on tour from Victoria shows lack of judgement. If I had paid, I would have asked for my money back. Charles Ross has a well-earned reputation from his popular one man Star Wars shows but this doesn’t cut it for me. There were numerous people in Star Wars T-shirts in the crowd. But even they weren’t so wowed when I talked to them after the show; and other non fans were just as befuddled as I was as to what we had just seen. With all the wonderful choices this Fringe, why would you subject yourself to this? The program promises a plot that was not delivered. They will do well because of the popular venue and Charlie’s rep, but save yourself and beam up to something else.

Lisa Campbell


Caws & Effect

Mind of a Snail Puppet Co.—West End Cultural Centre

This was a show I had the exciting opportunity with which to randomly choose a time slot and a location and see what happens. I had absolutely no idea what I was walking into with this production from Mind of a Snail, aside from a blatant clue that there were birds involved.

What I experienced was an journey through a bird’s eye view, beginning with a crow giving birth (the science of which I am still unclear on) but I’m certain most episodes of labour and childbirth aren’t nearly so entertaining.

The story follows the life of crows starting out in a nest, and the struggles of survival, encountering challenges, and finding their way through the world it as it changes around them.

What makes this performance unique is the large scale shadow puppetry, physical theatre and the use of projectors with vibrant and colourful stencils used to tell the story. Speech bubble slides are used on the projectors as the main source of dialogue and not a single opportunity for a bird-related pun was missed. The soundtrack for the performance was recorded and produced by the cast themselves, and is absolutely gorgeous.

The other neat thing about this show is that without a lot of dialogue as the story progressed visually, it allows the viewer to see the images presented and create a story in their minds as they interpret what they are seeing. I’m nearly certain that most of us will have a general understanding of the story, but each of us will come away with a different understanding. Its a show that makes your imagination soar and find meaning in a way relevant in individual ways.

The time it must have taken to create the material alone must have been extreme, and the resulting product is visually impressive. Its the perfect blend of odd, unusual, beautiful and different. I always love a good story, and their method of storytelling is comical, stunning and extremely well done. Definitely worth checking out!

Calantha Jensen


Josephine, a burlesque cabaret dream play

PKF Productions—PTE – Mainstage

This show was the sensation of 2017 and it’s turning out to be the must-see of this year as well. So what do I possibly have to say about this show? Nothing I can say would persuade or dissuade you from seeing this show, so I’ll keep it very brief.

With exceptional acting, superb singing, an engaging topic, spot-on delivery and a charismatic star, you have all the components to build the prototypical show—and here it is. This is a professional-calibre show that has won over every audience to date—and it will continue to do so. Buy your tickets early.

Ray Yuen


EVERY STORY EVER TOLD

Ryan Gladstone—The King’s Head Pub

I have been a fan of Ryan’s since he first started coming here with Monster Theatre many moons ago. He has matured into a family man and this show is a relating of variety of fairy tales and legends, in Ryan’s engaging, humorous style. The Rocky movies are also a reoccurring theme. There is nothing serious here, other than the obvious love he has for his children; the reason for his choice of subject matter this go round. I can only say you will enjoy this and leave with a feel good glow and a softer outlook of the world. Come early and experience the wonderful food the King’s Head is known for with the show for a complete night out. Well done!

Lisa Campbell