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The Buzz – Reviews
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Studio Accelerando—The Rachel Browne Theatre
Creative, family-friendly, and FUN: this is a Journey that everyone should go on! An idea to adapt the Jules Verne classic into a physical theatre piece was well-developed and flawlessly executed. What more could you want at Winnipeg Fringe?
Well, if you’re a budding actor still hung up on his line count, you might also witness a valuable demonstration of “it’s not what you say; it’s what you do”.
There is a rich soundscape, despite being presented in mime. In addition to musical selections and voice-overs by the Director (Colin Bruce Anthes), the performer (Robert Feetham) continually provides his own sound effects, in what might be described as the Foley equivalent of beat-boxing.
A programme quotation that “the human being is richer than the greatest stage effects that exist” tells us in advance where this company is coming from. With no scenery to speak of, Mr. Feetham’s unwavering commitment to creating each and every moment of the story pulls us deep beneath the Earth’s crust, where we share in The Professor’s fears and exhilarations at the fantastical creatures encountered there.
Saw Toe Productions—The Fountain – Portage Place
Sarah St. John is a woman on a perilous inner journey and searching for a cure in the healing waters of Lake Manitou. She has survived serious health crises in the past and now faces treatment for a malignant lump in her breast. “Brown Wasp” is brought to life by Megan McArton who reflects with gentle humour and ragged stoicism on the realities of aging and the myriad challenges both great and small that she must navigate. This tender, intimate, and determinately hopeful play was a perfect gift to an appreciative audience. We were glad it was the only show we saw that day so we could savour it more thoroughly.
The Disney Delusion
Prosperity Mule Productions—The Studio at Le Théâtre Cercle Molière
I’ve done some crazy things for love, or rather, attempts at love. The cumulation of the whacky things I’ve done do not close to the outrageous things that Oleson-Cormack has done in pursuit of a relationship.
Feverish, funny and fantastical, this adventure delivers entertainment on all fronts. Love it.
The Truth ™
Still Your Friend—The Output at Video Pool Media Arts Centre
With humour and flair Adam Bailey draws upon personal anecdotes and historical references to get to The Truth.
Does the truth set us free? Should we correct someone when their truth is less than accurate? When does the truth matter and when is it unwarranted? Adam has a gift for words and weaving thought provoking tales. If you’ve ever said or received a “well, actually…” then this show is for you. Entertaining and recommended.
Charming & Rose: True Love
R-G Productions—MTC Up the Alley
When the first word that comes out of your Fairy Godmother’s mouth is “shit,” you know things are amiss—and there’s a lot amiss going on around here.
The opening dance segment led me to believe for a bit that this was going to be a dance show, since it went on for a fair number of minutes. The dance acted like a prelude and overview of the show to come, and it already gives you the sense that this is not a typical feel-good kind of fairy tale.
With names like Prince Charming, Fairy Godmother, and the concept of being raised by wolves, you expect a ludicrous comedy and satire that mocks all things traditional. Instead, what we have is a drama worthy of the most horrifying and shocking of Shakespearean tragedies. Metaphors underscore the dialogue and storyline of the darkest side of hideous and heinous human behaviour and human expectations.
Gabe Mollica: a Solo Show About Friendship
Gabe Mollica—The Cinematheque
As the write-up in the guide says, this tale relives Gabe’s relationship trials. Amusing and comical at times, Mollica had a hard time engaging this audience. There were some giggles at the right moments, but I felt a definite disconnect between his tale and the listeners’ emotions.
For me personally, I found “you know” a distraction. It’s not as blaringly obvious as some people who say it after every sentence, but Mollica says it enough where it was an irritation. It wasn’t nails-on-the-blackboard irritating but mosquito-in-the-ear irritating. I know; it’s nit-picky but if you want to tickle the audience, you shouldn’t irritate them.
The Dungeons ‘n’ Dragons Improv Show XIII: The Loom of Annihilation
The DnD Improv Show—The Gas Station Arts Centre
It’s no wonder that the show constantly sells out, huh. A solid mix of high level improv skill, fantastic guests from other Fringe performances, and just enough structure and random rules to satisfy folks coming in for the D’n’D tagline. With nightly performances ensuring story continuity, there’s a great opportunity for anyone who really wants to keep following the show over the entire run, and for people who just want to check it out one night, there was more than enough context and explanation to ensure that no one was lost. For any fan of improv and fantasy roleplaying it’s a classic for a reason.
Dr. Caligari’s Framily Reunion Cabaret
Dr. Caligari’s—Tom Hendry Warehouse
Editor’s Note: The Cabaret was a one-time performance held Tuesday Night
This one time annual treat put on by various performers is always anticipated by Fringe diehards. It’s so wonderful to see the big spirited collaboration by some of our faves; and be treated to a glimpse of those we may have missed, or not been able to catch yet. My highlight was to get to see my beloved Merkin Sisters who didn’t appear together this year except as a special treat at one of Stephanie’s shows. Another highlight was the cast from ‘Are You Lovin’ It’, and their amazing screen puppetry show.
Melanie Gall wowed those who not aware she’s a superb opera singer. Another cool moment was Tymisha Harris and Chase Padgett’s rap duet. Al LaFrance always pleases, Jon Paterson made the show run smoothly. This isn’t meant to be a polished show, but a fun, zany chance for performers to let loose together for a good cause.
Bravo to all the talented, kind performers who gave up their valuable time to entertain us. I’m sorry I can’t name you all!
Drawing Board Productions—The Cinematheque
Compellingly personal and deeply funny, Bedwetter ties exploration of a topic that many people experience but few discuss, coming of age, and comedy sketches (with a few Britney songs to boot). With extremely solid and evocative lighting and audio, the show is impressive in a technical sense, and while the puns can get purposefully corny the writing is earnest enough to pull even the most uninterested into the narrative. A very solid example of the comedic – but serious! – personal storytelling that Fringe is known for.
Bossy Flyer—MTYP – Mainstage
Cast member Taylor Casas gave an intro prior to the opening where he called the show “circus.” While there are definitely circus elements to it, it’s more acrobatic than circus.
When I was younger, I was a gym-rat. I hit the gym everyday (every day of the year except Christmas Day, and only because the gym was closed), four hours each day. I benched over 300 pounds and one of party gags was to have people sit on my shoulders while I did push-ups.
Now watching HER do it with both the other actors on her back makes me appreciate just how much training and effort these dancers put into physical training and conditioning, not even counting the time they dedicated to the actual choreography and movement of the routine.
The routine itself is gorgeous from start to finish. They go through the movements with ease and elegance, deftly and dextrously. It’s beauty in its purest form and one of my favourites of this Fringe.