The Buzz – Reviews

AWAY, NOW – The World’s Most Desired Destination

Paul Strickland Presents—The Fountain – Portage Place

Paul and Erika are the smiliest, friendliest, folks you ever want to meet. I’ve adored past performances by both of them. That makes this all the harder. I was not impressed. This duo is capable of so much more. I wished I had as much fun watching this as they obviously did doing it.

The title comes from the answer during the pandemic as to what most people respond when asked where they are dying to go. Away, now! The puppetry was the highlight of this for me. So skillful, amusing and obviously took a long time to craft and perfect. And the rich pattern of the suitcase / drum makes a perfect backdrop for this scene. Perfection!

I wish I was as in love with the rest of the show. If you need to repeatedly tell the audience when to clap, you’re already losing us. These two are capable of so much more. Too much repetition, along with a fuzzy storyline, left me disappointed and underwhelmed. These two are so talented; and need to better display this. Doesn’t mean I won’t be there next year.

Lisa Campbell

Bushtits, Shih Tzus and Private Dicks: All’s Fur in Love and Noir

Theatrically Obsessed—The Rachel Browne Theatre

I hadn’t really planned to see this show. But it was a hot afternoon, the kind of day where everything sticks to you like a blue-bottle hitting flypaper. My dogs were barking and I needed someplace to cool down and venue 8 seemed like just the place. Ok, enough with my poor excuse for noir speech. Boy am I glad I stopped on in.

This is a great fast-paced comedic romp. Trevor Matheson plays the lead who when he puts on an old movie memorabilia Fedora he bought transforms into a film noir detective. Melissa Dorsey frenetically plays all the other 12 characters. Each is identified by certain props or wardrobe and voice changes and often involves her running off set then running back on as someone else. Even more amazing is that in real life she is a new mom to 4 month old twins.

The timing of everything is amazing, they make use of a door and frame on wheels which gets moved around the stage, opened, closed and walked through a lot to set up different rooms in scenes. Kudos also to the tech, because whenever the hat is put on or taken off the lighting changes. Those changes really make the show as the switches in realities come with some really funny consequences. If you want a fun and hilarious break from some of the more serious shows out there, this is the ticket.

Murray Hunter

Monster Makers

North Kildonan Community Players—John Hirsch Mainstage

I love monster shows; I love horror; and I love to be scared (although I’ve never seen a Fringe show that truly scared me—many are disturbing, but nothing downright scary). To be fair, the performance delivered on everything it promised in the guide write-up. It was my own fault that I expected to see a “monster show” when it was a show about monster-making (duh—shudda read the title better).

To be fair, I can only review part of the show because a medical emergency halted the performance after Act 2. Perhaps a mob-full of monsters appear in the final act?! The cast promised a final Act full of excitement and frenzy. They and MTC offered comps to all the patrons to re-see the show. Alas, as a reviewer, our schedules are very tight, and I will not have the opportunity to visit this show again

To this point, the acting was very professional and the singing superb. There was a lot of energy and fun through the scenes and the trip through time was fun.

Huge compliments to the excellent reactions of the audience, the staff at MTC, and the cast for the professional way they handled the crisis. Last word was that everything would be ok. Big cheers for that.

Editors Note: There was an update sent out over Twitter saying the Audience Member had Heat Stroke and was at home recovering.

Ray Yuen

The Stakeout

big word performance/ jem rolls—Planetarium

Tight comedy wordplay at its finest paired with a psychedelic dramatic conceit. Andrew Broaddus and Martin Dockery have fantastic chemistry, a prerequisite as they trade banter and established social roles rapidly over the course of the performance. Conceptually the main themes feel complex enough to encourage a re-watch to fully digest, but frankly I’d consider that a positive should the show be brought back to another Fringe. Probably closer to 60 minutes than 75, but that’s the downside of the Fringe time block structure.

Josh Fidelak

Symptom Circus

Chronically Ch(ill) Productions—Planetarium

What a punch in the face – wow.

I had no idea what to expect walking into this theatre. The guide write-up is about as accurate as can be, but it doesn’t give many clues on what to expect. What we got was a straight fist to the throat of emotions.

Most of us (all?) have insecurities, deficiencies, and oddities—and socially, many try to hide those facts to the best of their abilities. Rhoda bravely peels off all those clown masks to give us a frank look into her world.

As I age, I realise that my body gradually but surely loses strength, endurance and constitution. Some days, I miss what I had and fret what’s to come as I physically continue to deteriorate with the passage of time. Leaving the theatre, I’m thanking every good fortune out there for the health that I have.

Ray Yuen

God Is A Scottish Drag Queen (Best Of)

Mike Delamont—MTYP – Mainstage

When you have a theme that is completely unique, totally engaging, and you change it up enough to keep it fresh, you have a winner. This is evident in that he can stage off-season shows in the Peg, and sell out. Almost everyone is familiar with Delamont, and makes sure to book in advance. I was fortunate tonight to experience him through fresh eyes. I was seated in front of a large group of teenagers; who had never seen God before. Their howls of laughter were very amusing; and Delamont commented on their youth, took no responsibility for his content, and said it was now their parents problem!

If you aren’t familiar with a sermon from one of the funniest guys in Canada, you darn well should be. He Is God, as far as a lot of us are concerned; and I’d rather you experience him yourself rather than have me explain his genius.

Lisa Campbell

Romeo & Juliet

Indifferently Reformed—John Hirsch Mainstage

Shakespeare was never my thing in high school. Tried as I could, I could never understand the meanings behind Shakespearean English—I can decipher metaphors just fine but it’s hard to do that when you physically don’t know what they’re saying. In the modern era with the ease of adaption and access, I’ve been able to enjoy Shakespeare’s work in modern English and experience the works for the first time.

That’s why I hoped out of this performance but since they used Shakespearean English, most of it went over my head. Plus, the troupe conform the length of the play to fit the 75-minute time limit. Instead of paring in some areas, they sped up the pace of speech. I already had trouble interpreting what they said—add fast-speech to it and much of it felt like a foreign language to me.

The acting looked genuine and heart-felt. They put a lot of emotion into the performance but for me, I could only enjoy it so much without the basic understanding of the language. If you can enjoy Shakespeare in the Bard’s tongue, this is for you. If you need someone to translate for you, this might not be up your alley.

Ray Yuen

African Folktales with Erik de Waal

YAP Theatre—Kids Venue

With smoothly flowing lines and just enough poorly timed “forgetfulness” of character names of animal attributes, any and all children are kept solidly at the edge of their seat. With a 45 minute run time very well suited for the target audience of the show, a truly impressive level of engagement with the crowd and enough South African words to call the show educational, this is a must see for anyone with kids.

Josh Fidelak

Wait, So Do I Make Out With A Pan?

Buried Seeds Productions—MTC Up the Alley

Are you queer?

If your answer is “yes,” you should see this show—you may be able to relate.
If your answer is “maybe,” you should see this show—it might answer some of your questions.
If you answer is “no,” you should see this show—you might learn something.

Ray Yuen

A Toast to Prohibition

Melanie Gall Presents—Tom Hendry Warehouse

As always, Ms.Gall is a sure bet for top quality entertainment. I still remember the excited buzz about her from her very first show here. I haven’t missed one since. She shares my love of history; and besides being treated to the loveliest voice at this year’s Fringe, you will actually learn something. Her total professionalism shows, as the heat in the Warehouse tonight was unbearable. And we weren’t under stage lights! Every minute was charming, engaging, and humorous. Imagine gangster Al Capone actually writing a love song, which was really quite charming. Melanie treated us to many other popular songs of the time, interspersed with a her tale of a strong woman running a speakeasy as the last minutes of Prohibition tick away. I’m of the opinion that until we appreciate the past, we can’t really understand the present.

This would be a perfect show to bring an older loved one to; as the venue is usually comfortable, and this wonderful production would really resonate and be quite nostalgic. I brought my Mom and Dad to her Vera Lynne show years ago and they still talk about it fondly.


Lisa Campbell