Arts

From our reviewers with love, info you need to Fringe another day

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Vue helps you decide which plays deserve a Goldfinger and which ones get a Doctor No




It takes a special kind of person to spend a weekend scurrying from one
makeshift stage to another, pressing on untempted by the beer tents,
fuelled by little more than hurry-based curries and overpriced lemonade.
Our reviewers had no Bond-esque gadgets to shield them from the mediocre
weather, the unrelenting flyer-givers or the inane line banter. Instead,
using only their wits and will, they gave up an entire weekend to see every
single show at the Fringe this year. It’s not pretty, but
someone’s got to do it.
What is pretty, though, are the lovely little pictures you’ll see
attached to every review. Rather than submit to the pressures of the star
system, Vue has chosen to fully embrace this year’s Bond theme and
rank all 131 plays at the Fringe according to how they stack up to six
actors who have played Bond. Naturally, of course, the rugged Sean Connery
is the gold standard, followed by the dashing Daniel Craig, the dependable
Roger Moore, the swarthy Pierce Brosnan, the misunderstood Timothy Dalton
and finally the unfortunate George Lazenby. Just as when it comes to
picking your Bond, though, tastes are going to differ: consider these
reviews a suggestion, but don’t be afraid to buy a ticket and make up
your own mind.


Reviewers:
David Berry (
DB), Jonathan Busch (JB), Eva Marie Clarke
(
EMC), Chloé Fedio (CF), Mike Garth (MG),
Brian Gibson (
BG), Scott Harris (SH), Jared Majeski
(
JM), Ross Moroz (RM), Alyssa Noel (AN), Carolyn
Nikodym (
CN), Joel Semchuk (JSK), Murray Sinclair
(
MS), Jay Smith (JSM), Iris Tse
(
IT)

5 of a Kind (9)

If there were a reality show like Confessions of a Matchmaker for theatre, it
would be called The Dramturg and its first victim would be 5 of a Kind.
Inspired by playwright Hugh Kemeny’s adventures at the Birmingham Pride
celebrations, the play follows Canadian Evan (Sam LaCroix) as he travels the
UK gay scene. The problem isn’t the pointlessness of some of the plays
characters—sadly, one of the production’s best actors, Alex D
Mackie, plays one of them—but the endless and frequent scene changes
that involve lights going down and furniture moving. Kemeny wrote short,
staccato-like scenes that move the action along, but the constant changes (I
lost count of them all) painfully and awkwardly slow things down.
There’s also a bunch of telegraphing—for instance, Evan takes off
his glasses before he says the line, “How could I have been so
blind?”—which turns the play into something far more juvenile
than the subject matter might lead you to believe. CN

The Acting! Hacting! Schmacting! Review
(9)

The energy of Aimee Beaudoin and Christoff Lundgren is, to be sure,
unsurpassable. Unlike many of the productions I saw at the Fringe, the pair
understands how to make full use of the stage. As they move from our gracious
hosts to their various other roles, their acting chops are a feast for the
eyes. Too bad, then, the two mini-plays presented are rather pointless; you
get the feeling that some of the stuff being said is just to get a
laugh—that it isn’t real dialogue that moves the action along.
Some of the show’s laughs, though, are genuine—like hearing the
story of Fred the Carrot’s conception. The pair are backed up by band
Die Gretzky Die and the Fabulous 99s, as well as Christopher Schultz (Fred
the Carrot and John) and Alyssa Hudson (Fatgirl and Internet Fairy).
CN

African Folktales with Eric de Waal (Stage
12)

Hailing from South Africa, de Waal’s energetic performance is a great
mix of culture and entertainment. Using hand puppets to represent the
animals, de Waal gives them each a different voice and several animals come
together to tell the stories. De Waal lets the kids sit right on-stage with
him and encourages a little participation from them. His act has enough
repetition for the kids to really get into it, to the point where de Waal
eventually lets them become part of the story. Lively, fun, entertaining and
educational, de Waal gives a great show anyone will enjoy, kid or adult.
JSk

Alice (12)

This stage production of Lewis Carroll’s trippy children’s story
from Grant MacEwan College theatre students has a hard time capturing any of
the wonder or delight (psychedelic or otherwise) of its source material. The
play’s four student actors ought to be commended for doing their best
to somehow distinguish between the dozens of characters they must alternate
between throughout the course of the play, but without costumes of any kind,
really (save for a strangely prop- and costume-heavy prelude), the kids in
the audience—even the middle-aged ones—had trouble figuring out
who was playing who based only on an actor’s accent. RM

Alec & Doris Fix Us! (6)

Reviewing improv comedy is not an exact science,  especially when
performed at midnight for six people, three of whom are reviewers.  This
show needs a large, enthusiastic crowd upon which to feed. Laughter would
have propelled the self-help, relationship counselling premise—as it
is, the lack revealed a piece that falters awkwardly in the echoing silence.
Despite Julliete Eroed’s charm and inventive wit, it seemed that the
Protean Jacob Banigan carried most of the impetus. Some moments were
brilliant and others fell flat. So, in awarding a rating, I give the show
pass in the knowledge that the experience will improve or falter depending on
the audience. EMC

Andromeda and Alexia’s Astronomically Amazing
Adventure (12)

Winnipeg native Rachel Fordyce returns to the Fringe circuit with her
extremely alliterative children’s play. The tale begins with the young
Aleda, who decides to go AWOL one afternoon to see if her mother will notice.
Thanks to her space-time-reality machine, however, the plot quickly veers
into very elaborate science fiction. Harkening to the low, low tech era of
Mister Dress-Up-style children’s entertainment, Fordyce entertains with
puppets made out of paper-cut-out faces on vanity mirrors; the villain is a
pair of scissors. Inventive stuff that tries to counterbalance a very
complicated plot: this won’t appeal to the very young. JSm

Any Second Now (2)

It took about 20 minutes, but a promising script degenerated into a morass of
cliché and lost its audience. To be fair, Joanne O’Sullivan
shows definite promise as a comedy writer, and she’s a dab hand at
making with the one-liners. However, her tendency to dwell on minutiae, and
propensity for resoundingly self-congratulatory conclusions turned an acerbic
view of adulthood’s dubious pleasures and definite struggles into
something vaguely resembling the love child of Pollyanna and Dr Phil. Laser
surgery, speed-dating, the Slurp Ramp, funny. “Life is about to begin
any second now” platitude, not so much. EMC

archy and mehitabel (3)

If a promiscuous alley cat and a cockroach with the soul of a poet are an
unlikely pair of friends, so too is the attempt by MacEwan Theatre Arts to
convey it onstage. Archy and Mehitabel is a musical production based on the
works of early 20th century newspaperman Don Marquis. The lighthearted story
is interesting enough, but the presentation is forced and lacks the talent
and direction necessary to pull it all together. Even the captivating stage
presence and stunning vocal stylings of Rachel Bowron, who plays Mehitabel
the cat, cannot save this production from mediocrity. CF

‘B,’ or Unless You Steal Her Pen
(7)

I’ve noticed an odd tendency towards gratuity whenever youth conspire
to self-produce a Fringe play. Typically it’s either the haphazard
addition of “fuck” to every second line or so or a gleeful
propensity for full-frontal nudity, but in this production by recent U of A
theatre students it’s all about sticking it to the city’s
draconian smoking bylaw. Everyone smokes all the time in this ’50s
office murder caper, and it almost distracts from some pretty inspired
performances, especially from Matt Schuurman as both a love-struck office
drone and a hard-boiled detective. Towards the end, the bodies pile up and
the whole thing sort of devolves into lunacy, but ‘B’ is worth
checking out for the spot-on accents (the two best of which come from the
aforementioned Schuurman) and terrific physical comedy. RM

Back to Methuselah (3)

An adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s 10-hour epic, Back to Methuselah
is a satirical look at human progress, from creation in 4001 BC to “as
far as thought can reach” in 31 967 AD. The burden of immortality is
alleviated when Adam and Eve create death, but fast-forward to the future and
the burden is no longer living, it’s death. Steve Weller plays Shaw,
who narrates as three actors travel through time and space, portraying a
variety of characters. Myla Southward steals the show, as she juggles five
roles with convincing passion. Both funny and moving, Back to Methuselah is a
good Fringe pick. CF

BADABOOM! (4)

Two words: puppet burlesque. Two mostly-French-but-somewhat-German scientists
doing a case-study of burlesque, complete with cue-card slides, provide the
segues between a series of crass skits, ranging from a parody of the Janet
Jackson-Justin Timberlake Superbowl wardrobe malfunction to a
puppet-on-puppet female wrestling match to a co-joined twin balloon
striptease. Crude jokes from cheesy accordion-playing host Stan, drawings of
boobies that were funny in elementary school, cringe-worthy audience
participation and all the sensuality that stripping hand puppets can offer
makes this a play that you might like, if you like that sort of thing. At
least they do the “Who’s on First” bit. SH

BALD EGO (10)

“Who needs jokes when the audience is this funny?” asked British
bloke Paul Thorne during his meandering one-man comedy show. Certainly, his
audience was giddy and easy to please. Good thing, because his jokes about
terrorism, religious fundamentalism, regionalisms (including our mosquitoes
and politeness) and sex are pretty safe humour. Sure, he’s an affable
guy, and it’s nice to see comedians chuckle onstage. And everyone was
happy. The show’s just short on content. JSm

Bang Bang You’re Dead (11)

You think your life sucks, but it doesn’t. You think girls don’t
like you, but they do. You think you’re no good at sports, but you are.
If you think like this, you will have much in common with the main character
from Bang Bang You’re Dead. Josh has killed his parents because they
wanted to teach him discipline. Then he killed five of his classmates for a
number of ambiguous and unimportant reasons. This play tries to answer the
question, “Why Josh, why?” In essence, this play teaches that
consequences can reach much further than you think. But it’s only 35
minutes, begging the question, “Is it worth paying $12 for a half-hour
play?” JM

Be Prepared (7)

Matthew Bellwood’s barren stage setup for Be Prepared dovetails with
his introductory statement that a story doesn’t have to be big or
important to be significant. He then goes through 10 very human anecdotes
drawn from his northern-English life in Leeds, from tales of unrequited love
to conversations with a taxi driver. Bellwood’s philosophical
imagination often soars, conjuring up mythical eagles and designating his
mother as an African boatwoman. The storyteller’s lively hand gestures
are tempered by his British restraint, which can turn his voice monotone, but
also humours his descriptions of “rather nice” gay sex and drug
use. MS


Beowulf (11)

The exact translation of this Old English elegy has been debated for
centuries. I mean, it has been over 1000 years since it was supposedly
written, leaving some room for interpretation. This adaptation by Blake
William Turner, which replaced Flowers For Dennis, tells the epic tale with
the casual panache of a humble warrior. The fight scenes are
well-choreographed and the character of Grendel, the infamous beast who
terrorizes the Danish countryside, made me think of Frank Gorshin (the
original Riddler character from the Adam West-era Batman). This play
isn’t included in the official program, but I encourage everyone to
seek out the next performance. JM

The Big Stupid Improv Show (11)

At the last moment, Nicola Gunn’s The Lost Property Office was replaced
by a troupe of actors performing the Big Stupid Improv Show. In saying that,
I thought I would take the time to tell you all about a character I met
during said improv show—Uncle Grandpa. Uncle Grandpa is a precocious,
jive-talking African-American senior citizen who busted my gut and found his
way into my heart—just one example of the pleasing unpredictability of
improv. The thing with improv shows is that they feed off the audience
energy, and they’re a bit chaotic. If you go into the Big Stupid Improv
Show not expecting everything the actors say to be comic gold, but reacting
when they it is, you’ll have a great time. JM

BITCHES: Part 1 – A Woman’s Fury
(8)

BITCHES is essentially two plays that, severely truncated and separated,
would probably be quite decent, but stuck together and stretched to a
thoroughly unnecessary two hours become vaguely annoying before devolving
into mystifying. What starts off as a pleasantly dry (though hampered by
gratingly broad performances) office satire inexplicably turns into an
over-the-top slasher play with a twist ending so poorly conceived it reduces
the first hour and a half to little more than over-extended, mildly amusing
set-up. Writer Jason Chinn certainly has potential as a satirist (if not a
shocker), but this play is still a good editor away from working even as
parody. DB

The Bold & Spiky Show (10)

British poetic duo Steve Larkin and Rob Gee return to this year’s
Fringe. Though Larkin’s initial spoofs of poetic pretension, full of
mixed metaphors and highfalutin phrases, deserves applause, his serious stuff
is, well, bad. Gee, who alternates his solo poems with Larkin’s,
manages to keep the audience’s attention, but his storytelling skills
win him more laughs (and fewer yawns) than his poetry. Both Gee’s story
of his father and the one about his “paraliterary raids” to
British banks are great. So is the narrative about how more soldiers die from
post-conflict suicide than during the wars. Yet the poems wouldn’t even
hold up on the page. One of Larkin’s lines: “This cruelty to true
love brought us down / like an innocent young kitten drowned.” Cringe.
JSM

Boom! (5)

The boom of the title supposedly refers to Alberta’s booming oil
economy. Yet all the Albertan allusions feel like superfluous afterthoughts,
clumsily tacked onto the central storyline. Once you strip away all the
“Deadmonton” jokes and references to stabbings and prosperity
cheques, the story is really just a pedestrian coming-of-age story concerning
a 30-year-old dental hygienist (Anna-Maria LeMaistre), eager to start a more
exciting life. Despite suffering from an unfocused plot that isn’t
Alberta-specific enough to deserve its title, the acting is great and the
song-and-dance numbers provided fun interludes—even if
LeMaistre’s impressive voice can be a smidge too exuberant for the tiny
venue. IT

The Bridesmaid (6)

That slurping sound you hear is the echo of sphincters tightening as
Seattle’s Keira McDonald lambastes the deeply held beliefs surrounding
wedded bliss. This worm’s-eye view of matrimony delves beneath the
satin, tulle and foundation garments to illuminate the secret lives of
bridesmaids. Swigging from a bottle while castigating the hypocrisy of her
born-again-virgin best-friend, McDonald unleashes a screed that is satirical,
wincingly hilarious and utterly profane. From dubious amorous encounters to
catatonic despair, this collection of video loops and scurrilous storytelling
will alternately leave you crying with laughter and squirming in nervous
discomfort. McDonald is a sublime performer, capable not only of scathing
commentary but lyrically understated poignancy. EMC

Brie, Baguette and a Broad: a Cabaret
(2)

If cabaret is not your glass of wine, duck into the beer tent while Edith
Piaf lovers revel in mezzo-soprano Mireille Rijavec’s performance.
Brie, Baguette and a Broad caters strictly to the opera and musical theatre
crowd, leaving tag alongs to writhe in their seats as Rijavec reveals
“the truth about love” through popular pieces (“Diamonds
are a Girl’s Best Friend”) and French favourites. As an
accomplished classical singer, Rijavec’s talent shines through most
brightly when she sings in the language of love. With a minimal set and very
little dancing or acting, she relies on her greatest asset to keep the
audience engaged. AN

Caberlesque! (10)

Oh Sugar Puss, you wonderful and naughty grrrl! You and your cohorts can
sing, and Prairie Fire dances exquisitely. Indeed, I doubt that Caberlesque!
can be beaten musically. However, writer Jeffrey Pufahl has let you down.
Quelle domage! This trip into the murky depths of European cabaret is cheeky,
makes a lot of the right noises, but is at its heart hollow. What should be
satiric is cooked to a tawdry gloss, what should be empowering feels
exploitive and the passion is precious. I wonder what this show would have
been like had the empowering natures of these forms been truly celebrated.
EMC

Chance Moments (11)

In author Charles Netto’s Chance Moments, we follow (in a confusing
quasi-reverse-chronological order) the relationship between Richard and
Sunflower (it’s OK, her parents were hippies). You know that feeling
after you see a play where whatever it is you just watched didn’t
“feel” like you were watching a play? It’s a good
feeling—a feeling that was lacking after this piece. Maybe there could
have been more appropriate costuming, maybe the dialogue was too easy.
Whatever the case may be, it still doesn’t answer the question,
“How many times can you ‘bump’ into someone in New York
City?” or change the fact that it’s annoying to watch couples
fight—even in a play. JM

Charming Charlotte (8)

For all the melodrama writer/performer Alexander Forsyth pours into his
script—incest, child molestation and suicide make for a hell of an
hour—little of it seems to be soaked up by the actors. The benefit of
excessive drama is the range of emotions it offers, but leads Forsyth and
Tatyana Rac only seem capable of histrionic guilt, one more than either
Larisse Campbell or Jake Prins offers. Without believable portrayals of
passion, anger, confusion and bliss, among others, Charming Charlotte is just
implausibly bleak. A twisted frown without the attendant moodiness.
DB

The Churchill Protocol (8)

Mixing charmingly silly absurdity with timely (if slightly thick) political
observation, this play from Ottawa duo Patrick Gauthier and Kris Joseph is
almost note-perfect Fringe fare. Gauthier brings the right mixture of
exasperation and desperate curiosity to his muckracking journalist, out to
find out what perfectly stone-faced, utterly ridiculous colonel Joseph is
hiding at a near-arctic military base. The politics aren’t nearly as
subtle as the comedy, which causes a bit of lag, but there are more than
enough laughs to leave you guffawing your way right through the down times.
(DB)

Cinderella The Wizard (12)

Aunt Hermione, half wizards, magic spells … not only does this version of
Cinderella have a modern twist to it (with the old fairytale staple replaced
by a Swiffer WetJet), it also seems to bear a hint of resemblance to another
immensely popular children’s book. That aside, the setting of the story
is quite original. The Cinderella story is actually a story within another
story and interludes such as a mid-show casting call and encouragements to
golf-clap make it an engaging play. Cody Michie absolutely steals the show
with the dual role of Bernie, the exasperated stage manager, and Ming, one of
the YM/Seventeen-reading catty stepsisters. IT


The Circus is Coming to Town (10)

Allison Lane conceived this one-woman show to portray to her live-in
boyfriend the exact dimensions of her family’s dysfunctionality. In
recounting the exploits of Lane’s obviously FAS brother, and how the
family responds, however, Lane’s psychological portrait is both
touching and very funny. Nonetheless, Circus suffers from being overly
casual: the script could be tightened up, Lane’s delivery could be
polished and the ending note is simplistic. What really struck us is how hard
it is as a female comic: Lane’s jokes from the mouths of men would have
had the audience in tears. JSM

The Cody Rivers Show: ‘Flammable People’
(5)

In what is essentially a 60-minute skit show that has no unifying thread
beyond the bright green jumpsuits worn by Mike Mathieu and Andrew Connor, the
play progressed through a series of high-energy song and dance numbers,
repetitious ramblings about the Dow Jones and seemingly random stories of an
Elizabethan soliloquy-sprouting schoolgirl and a boy’s trip to the
aquarium. Though disorienting at first, Mathieu and Connor’s exuberant
performance manage to tie everything together in this surprisingly
intelligent and delightfully weird sketch. IT

Copyright Infringement (1)

What St Albert troupe Epiphany Symphony lacks for in stage etiquette, they
make up for with six tough pairs of balls (and one of them’s a girl).
They crunch together five predictable but nonetheless engaging improv
sketches with a sexy earnestness that doesn’t spare the childish
vulgarities. At times, it’s too high energy, as though the cast
polished off a case of Red Bull before the show. That’s also where
it’s the most enjoyable; these kids cooperate well, and conduct enough
charm to deliver enough Fringe kookiness to please their crowd. Sure,
it’s exactly what you might expect, but Copyright lets Fringegoers
relax and put their feet up without hassle. JB

The Countess Margo (1)

It’s Jane Austen meets Xena: Warrior Princess in this production by Red
Deer college alumni troupe, Laughing Rouge Theatre. The title character
(Kayte Parnell), a ballsy sword-swinging lass, finds herself wooed by the
handsome Artemis (Darren Hopwood, also the writer). But Margo’s
mysterious vile sister Marie (Mandy Stewart) barges her way in and
complicates the young lover’s affections for each other. Soon enough,
the stage combat leaps into the red zone and everybody, including merry
servant Raphaella (Sheena Pruden), gets down with the action. There’s
not a drop of irony in the house, as Margo takes itself rather seriously.
There’s hardly any room for the tiniest chuckle, even though only
metres away people are juggling coconuts and chowing down on elephant ears.
Nonetheless it’s a proud, sincere piece of work, but it’s far
from being the escapism that it thinks it is. JB

The Creation of the World and Other Business
(11)

We briefly witness the creation of the world, but it’s the “other
business” that’s the most interesting. Written by Arthur Miller
(Death of a Salesman), Creation is a comedic retelling of the book of
Genesis—where temptation was created, murder was committed and, erm,
creationists were appeased. The delightful full-frontal nudity of Adam and
Eve prior to their expulsion from Eden was tasteful and effective—much
like the scene where Lucifer is masturbating in his pants while God
delicately cuddles a tiny rabbit. Creation spews brutal honesty on the
ridiculousness of religion, good and evil. There were no taboos in the
beginning of time, and there certainly aren’t any in this performance.
JM

Crooked (10)

”Childlike” can imply an unfortunate tendency towards dichotomic
naïveté, but it can also mean behaving with a kind of reckless,
haphazard innocence. The characters in Catherine Trieschmann’s Crooked
are childlike in the latter manner, somewhat confused and often selfish, but
still always acting with the best of intentions. They’re captured
exceptionally well by this cast, particularly Kisa Mortenson as a precocious
young teenager who becomes a “holiness lesbian” after finding
Jesus and kissing a girl on the same night. The subtlety of both performance
and writing keep things from getting too precious, and keeps the slightly
over-dramatic ending thoroughly affecting. DB

Cuckoos (1)

After being seduced at the gym, an unfortunate “back-door”
experiment leaves Tito and his exceptionally erect penis stuck in an older
woman, Beatrice. Lucky for them, or so they think, Tito’s pop is a
gynecologist and resolves to pry them apart. The result is an unravelling of
secrets and Oedipal misunderstanding. The script is over-written—not
only the absurd plot but also the insufferable dialogue; it’s a shame
for the dynamic troupe that could afford to creatively expand beyond such a
limited text. But it’s a local production, so I look forward to seeing
more from the promising and energetic cast and crew. JB

CYRANOSE (4)

Los Angeles-based comedy troupe Sound & Fury return to the Fringe with a
hilarious performance of the classic tale of Cyrano de Bergerac. With a
relaxed approach, painful puns and impeccable timing, the trio puts its own
peculiar twist on the story, jumping from witty quatrains and song-and-dance
numbers to improvisation and swordplay. Consistently funny back-and-forth
audience interaction, a stable of recurring jokes that they pull out more
often than their swords and amusingly deprecating comments and double-takes
that fly from off-stage create a mirthful atmosphere for an audience left
with aching sides. Even the requisite jokes about Canada kind of work, if
only by a nose. Order your tickets early. SH

Decameron (3)

What do severed heads, skull puppets and a human transforming into a horse
have in common? Sex, apparently. As South Africa’s Erik de Waal takes
the stage in Decameron, he promises the audience a night of titillating
stories that will get them hot. But while his booming voice is captivating,
and his hour on stage wrought with tales of carnal pleasure, this one-man
storytelling show is not sexy. Based on the tales of a medieval Italian
author, an important lesson on gender roles comes through: men think with
their dicks and women are only good for sex. But if you’re satisfied
with a set of slightly-amusing and highly-suggestive stories, de Waal tells
them well enough. CF

The Diary Project (11)

Five cast members read aloud both real and imagined diary entries. We hear
the perils of pooing in public, the inner workings of a 13-year-old girl, the
perennial crazy bus-stop story and a surprisingly informative dos and
don’ts list for dating. Through interpretive dance, loose choreography
and dictionary definitions, we learn how our inner secrets are intertwined
with people we don’t even know. Kudos to Cam Boyce, a talented
multi-instrumentalist who provided every note of music and sound through his
Mac, his sax, his guitar and his violin. I would consider this to be a foray
into more experimental theatre, though I wish they didn’t repeat so
much from the dictionary. JM

Dickens of the Mounted (6)

Frank Dickens, son of Charles, ate yellow snow. The famous author’s
progeny, after spending his inheritance in the spirituous founts of London,
journeyed to Canada in 1874 and joined the North West Mounted Police. Canada
Post was slow, mosquitoes massive and the rolling prairie in the throes of
inexorable change. He really fouled it up. However, as presented in this
gorgeous production, Dickens’s fils was an affable bumbler. Wit and
affection are palpable in Kristian Bruun’s finely honed performance and
Brad Lepp’s clever staging. Utterly beguiling, Dickens of the Mounted
is a heart-warming journey into a little known slice of Canadiana.
EMC

Die Roten Punkte (9)

If you’ve failed to understand the appeal of the White Stripes, or even
if you did understand it but something about Jack White and his
sister/ex-wife Meg drove you nuts, then Die Roten Punkte (The Red Dots) will
have you laughing your ass off. The “best band in the world”
hails from Berlin and has come to the Fringe to give you one of the most
irreverent concerts you’ll ever attend. Drunkenly slamming away at the
drums (and many men) is Astrid (Clare Bartholomew). She is joined by her
clownishly made up “brother” Otto (Daniel Tobias), who pouts with
every strum. He tells the audience that they play “punk rock, but
it’s safe, too” before going into a series of songs that all
sound the same from the band’s albums. The pair pokes fun at many rock
band clichés, even enticing the audience into a round of devil horns,
and the between-song banter might have you wishing all bands were as good at
being bad as Die Roten Punkte. CN

Die-Nasty! (8)

With all of its usual chaotic splendour, Die-Nasty bursts back onto the
Fringe stage! This year the regular cast mills around Fringetown, with the
Mayor, the Dancing Man, Mr Todd Fringe Executive and an assortment of
buskers, charlatans and con women looking to work within the new Fringe
rules. While direct references to real-life Edmonton abound, the usual
assortment of cheating, lying, dying, drug use and loose sex were all front
and centre; enough to ensure a hilarious, energetic and fantastic Fringe run
for all involved. JSK

Dishpig (10)

Prostrating himself for employment, the wide-eyed and jobless Matt (Vancouver
actor Greg Landucci), admits, “I’m a fast
learner—I’ve had all sorts of shitty jobs!” Dishpig, the
theatrical collaboration between Landucci and TJ Dawe, is a pitch-perfect
portrait of one of those shitty jobs: the professional dishwasher. Set in a
restaurant inhabited by whitebread fellows like Dave, Mike, Jonathan (who
dreams of someday becoming a server), Murray and Zach, everyone’s in
love with Gemma and their own superficiality. (The deep kids read Kerouac and
Hunter S Thompson.) Landucci’s performance is impressive, especially
his performance poetry re-enactment of his first night
“scrubbing-scrubbing-scrubbing.” JSM

Eat My Brain (11)

This zombie play is driven by its characters, its profanity and its shotguns.
There’s the insensitive fearless leader, the sassy girlfriend, the
sweet naïve girl, the psychotic potty-mouth and the funny guy who says
“dude” a lot. After sitting through director Brett Lemay’s
tale of five friends fortified deep in the woods, away from the plight of the
walking undead, I realized that this is not a zombie play—it’s a
play about zombies. Zombie movies have gore, zombie theatre has imaginary
zombies. The story was progressive, but I was still confused as to why no one
who got bit by a zombie turned into one. JM


Effie’s Burning (8)

Maralyn Ryan is quite likely the finest actress Edmontonians get to see on a
regular basis, and she puts her talent on full display here, creating a
sympathetic and nuanced mentally challenged woman, even while spending half
the play underneath gauze (the result of a house fire her character may or
may not have started). Lora Brovold is no slouch as the put-upon doctor
trying to figure out what’s lying beneath, and the palpable empathy
that develops between the two of them makes even the slightly over-the-top
ending hit home. DB

El Muchacho (1)

Doe-eyed maidens, dough-witted men … sharps and flats abounding; this
Mexican re-working of The Mikado is a cheesy enchilada. In its favour; an
enviably cohesive chorus, trilling winsomely through some of Gilbert &
Sullivan’s best ensemble pieces and some witty asides. Unfortunately it
lacks the original’s subtle wit, which, despite its exotic locale, is a
deft skewering of the civil service, bureaucracy and elitism. Topical humour
is de rigueur, but this adaptation eschews suppleness of wit in favour of
broad stereotypes. And despite a few inspired turns, some emphatically flat
vocalizing is a further detraction from this production’s charms.
EMC

Fear of a Brown Planet (2)

Nile Séguin’s one-man comic show revolves around race. After a
fairly unfunny and unnecessary preamble contrasting theatre with stand-up,
the tough shots at stereotypes and bigotry start coming. Some are wryly
astute—“racism is like the social Snuffalupagus”—and
others are politically sharp and pointed. The stand-outs, like an imaginary
Rwanda sitcom (I Dream of Jeannie-cide), implicate the audience. No lazy
jokes here and the show gives the lie to Séguin’s earlier
ridiculing of stand-up as anything more than comedy—the best material
here does make you think. Too bad, though, there aren’t more recent
issues tackled here (Michael Richards?) or more jabs at Canadian racism.
BG

Fish Cat Bird (4)

Like an hour-long take on an old Kids in the Hall skit, Fish Cat Bird takes
aim at the easy target of the absurdity of the middle-management corporate
rat race. At FCB Inc, the employees are over-the-top excited and frenetically
committed to the company—rapt

F ?rappé (4)
An emotionally downtrodden Zoë is forced to confront the unhappiness of
her relationship with her jerk-of-a-boyfriend Tom during an afternoon of
drinking gin with likeable, creative Daniel, who stops by to return the purse
Zoë left in the café where he works. Despite fine performances by
the three, other than round after round of booze, not much happens on stage.
Too much of the dialogue isn’t terribly compelling or goes nowhere as
the two sit in the living room talking nervously and watching The Antiques
Roadshow, their smitten advances jarred only by Tom’s abrasive
appearances, as the play saunters towards its hard-to-swallow ending.
SH

The Fugue Code (9)

He will rise again, if Alex Eddington has anything to say about it. There are
many folks who would love to see Johann Sebastian Bach return to our realm,
to compose again; Eddington’s one-hander aims to tell us why in this
send-up of The Da Vinci Code. With the kidnapping of composer Augusta Miriam
Barnes, musicologist Sinclair is thrust into a world of intrigue and secret
incantations, a world that finds us wondering if Bach’s wife Anna
Magdalena was more than just muse in the great composer’s
work—even if you had only the vaguest thoughts about the man before.
The show is complex, but not incomprehensively so—Eddington gambles
wonderfully with our intellect and our notions of what we think we might find
interesting. It is in the 10 or so characters, however, that Eddington acts
out that it gets a little muddied. In one late-in-the-play scene, he hops
from character to character at such a pace that it becomes obvious that some
are far more realized than others. CN

Futures (8)

The cast and crew behind Futures are certainly eminently capable folk, they
just seem to have a little bit of trouble turning competence into greatness.
Set in the near future with the world on the brink of apocalypse, the play
follows a spy, a scientist, an environmental terrorist and the evening news
as the United Nations convenes a conference on how to save the world. The
production is showy but effective, the writing is heavy but astute, the
performances are efficient but not terribly empathetic. You certainly
won’t be disappointed, but you probably won’t be enthralled,
either. DB

The Ghost Righter’s (3)

Unabashed that it’s grammatically incorrect, a no-bullshit producer and
three cast members are working on the pilot of reality TV show called
“The Ghost Righter’s.” Their goal is to right the wrongs of
the spirits who haven’t crossed over—but first they have to find
them. Playwright Matt Alden plays the self-important would-be host of the
show, who hopes his fake British accent will lead to his big break. The show
is rounded out with a stuffy parapsychologist and a young outcast who can
actually talk to dead people. It’s a critical look at reality TV, at
times a little obvious, the engaging performances and chemistry between
characters on stage makes this show worth your time and money. CF

God’s Eye (9)

While Marty Chan’s latest calls for two actors, it is basically a
one-hander. Anne-Marie Felicitas plays Norman, a middle-school boy who is
trying to make sense of the world around him after his father has a
debilitating stroke. That isn’t to say that Mich Cheladyn, who plays
the father, isn’t compelling to watch as he sits silently in his
wheelchair. With the slightest of movements, he conveys the pain and shame of
a father who can’t be there for his growing son. But it is Felicitas
who carries the action, finding that place that captures the
naïveté of youth without playing down to it, without insulting
it. As she flits around the stage, you can see director Wayne
Paquette’s hand in the full realization of this play. As Norman takes
this journey—how illness forces us question our belief
systems—the audience goes along for the moving ride. From start to
finish, God’s Eye is a joy to be a part of. CN

Hamlet (1)

Picture this: a “cyberpunk” take on Shakespeare’s greatest
work, featuring a backwards-capped and PDA-toting Hamlet, a cast comprised
mostly of exceedingly nervous pre-teens, a too-often clumsily changed set
that was probably supposed to look “sparse” but comes off a
little shabby and Ophelia re-imagined as a malfunctioning android who sings
(I swear to God) the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Bullet With Butterfly
Wings” with new lyrics (“the world is a cyborg …”).
Seriously. I suppose this troupe from Zocalo Theatre Arts School ought to be
commended for ambition, but unfortunately there’s no “E for
effort” in Vue’s Fringe rating system this year. RM

The Headshot of Dorian Gray (C)

“‘Tis the season,” notes Walter at one point in this romp
through the world of Thespis. He isn’t referring to things Fringe,
but rather to it being Audition Season—that time of the year when
nervous young actors attend the cattle calls, and hacktors such as he decry
the need to audition in the first place. David Belke creates an instantly
familiar world for all you mavens and stalkers out there—and the cast,
especially the wonderful Glenn Nelson, turn in great performances. However,
even Jim de Felice’s incisive direction cannot mask the hard truth that
this play is too long. Underdeveloped linking scenes rob the truly
scintillating portions of their punch. EMC

Here After (1)

The nature of maternal loss is dramatized in a well-performed one-woman
melodrama starring the extraordinarily talented Elinor D’Angelis.
Alice, a wife and mother, shares a conversation with her husband’s
ashes before continuing on with the journey of finding her missing
15-year-old son. She wanders about an unidentified city in England
encountering a range of downtown folks, all played with an accomplished and
exquisite range by D’Angelis. A synchronized video projection is an
unfortunate distraction from the performance, robbing some of its physical
and emotional subtleties and nearly spoiling a devastating turn of events in
the conclusion. JB

Homeless (2)

Boomtime in Alberta (real or fabricated) leaves many people wondering why
homelessness in Edmonton exists at all. Jeremy Baumung’s heartbreaking
performance responds to that naïve query by laying out the different
faces of homelessness and chronicling their struggle to survive. He tears
from one character to the next (personalities he presumably encountered while
working the trenches at an Edmonton shelter) in this solo effort, but the
audience will hardly notice he’s the only one on stage. Engaging from
start to finish, Homeless will leave you with the unsettling feeling that we
are all 12 steps away from the gutter. AN

Hooked (7)

Gregory Caswell gives a strong performance as James, better known to the
world as Captain Hook, in this alternate view of the Peter Pan tale. Strong
performances aside, the play could have benefitted from being a little
funnier. The scenes where humour is used often fall flat; the dramatic scenes
are good, but not entirely engaging. For those truly interested in the
back-story of how Captain Hook lost his hand, look no further. There is an
equal chance of kids or their parents being bored. MG

Hooray for Speech Therapy (2)

Some personal account stories beg to be told, while others are best left in
the past. The tale of a stutterer’s struggle through decades of speech
therapy falls somewhere in between. In Hooray for Speech Therapy, Kurt
Fitzpatrick’s speech impediment gives rise to some comedic moments, but
his delivery of those memories is far too over-the-top. Also problematic is
his tendency to wander into irrelevant asides that distract from the core
story. (Think the best parts of Family Guy gone wrong.) He does, however,
offer interesting insight into a topic most people are too PC to ask about.
AN

Hot Pink Bits (2)

We don’t need another scantily clad vixen spewing predictable innuendo
to remind us that sex sells. In Hot Pink Bits Penny Ashton, New
Zealand’s burlesque poet does just that, but provides the numbers to
back it up. In between leading the audience through the $89 billion global
sex industry, Ashton tosses out prize bundles of condoms and lube, presents a
singing penis sock puppet and encourages a collective orgasm. The laughs are
overwhelming and cheap, with inane “banana split with whip cream and
nuts” jokes, but she sprinkles in just enough historical facts and
interesting tidbits to keep eyes from rolling. AN

House of Sod (4)

When the relatively successful Olek returns after a summer of work to his
small, turn-of-the-century Ukrainian-Canadian village with his new
bride-to-be, Olena (a, gasp, gypsy!), his scheming passive-aggressive Baba
Olha goes to extraordinary lengths to ensure the two don’t make it down
the aisle. Jonathan Durynek does a good job as the increasingly exasperated
Olek, whose happy homecoming descends into a comedic hell as a result of his
Baba’s Machiavellian efforts. Despite a couple of confusing turns, the
quirky cast of characters and some amusing dialogue (which I’m sure is
even funnier if you happen to be Ukrainian) makes for an enjoyable show.
SH

How to Fake Clinical Depression (5)

Turns out all you have to do to fake clinical depression, and your way into a
well-compensated anti-depressant clinical trial, is to bone up on medical
texts and remember that anxiety is not one of the symptoms of depression.
Steven Morocco paints a funny picture of an aspiring actor going through the
different stages of a drug trial as if it’s an audition. While his
performance can be too self-conscious at times and the transitions between
each scene still need smoothing out, the play is entertaining enough that it
won’t lull you into a catatonic state like a double dose of Prozac and
Zyprexa. IT

If Tap Shoes Could Talk (7)

In line with the play’s title, co-writer/actor Annie Mayer’s
talented tap dancing inspires a fair amount of this entertaining New York
City tale. Along with triggering repeated audience applause, the tap solo
sideshows glue together this story of transformation, as a home-based
publisher of entertainment listings overcomes his fear of the outside world.
His assistant falls in love and helps humanize a straight-laced professor,
with their romance sealed by a non-tap dance on a subway platform. Mayer and
partner Michael Walsh are expressive and genuine actors in handling the
play’s four characters/caricatures, although their command of accents
is a little spotty. MS

In the Bag (6)

Sheila Forsyth is sincere in her examination of childlessness—the
hopes, dreams, societal expectations surrounding parenthood and the crushing
disappointment of failure. This solo production seems inspired by personal
events, and comes across as overly introspective art therapy. Eyes focused on
the ground, Forsyth roots through a plethora of purses, each representing a
stage of her life, while castigating “the army of fecundity”
surrounding her. It’s a topic that can produce dramatic lyricism, like
last year’s Cloning Mary Shelley, but here Forsyth indulges in much
finger-pointing and little action, either dramatic or proactive.
EMC

Indulgences (3)

Chris Craddock’s Indulgences is a compelling play about free will and
piety. God is merciful, forgiving a wide range of sins from simple lies to
the most horrendous of crimes: murder. But there’s a price to pay, and
The Salesman (with a direct line to God) can protect you against eternal
damnation. But when two like-minded men undertake a social
experiment—trading lives after meeting in a bar out of mere
curiosity—the demand for these soul-saving indulgences goes through the
roof, and The Salesman begins to question his servitude to God. Despite a
whole lot of heart, the script proves too ambitious for this cast and crew,
and the production ends with a bittersweet taste of disappointment.
CF

The Irish Ghost of Grandin School (D)

After a flawless Irish dance by Helen Cashman, Tim Marriott enters playing
the Ghost of Grandin School, who starts talking to an invisible night
watchman. As the Ghost, Marriott’s monologue is the history of Catholic
education in Edmonton, complete with a historical who’s who of the key
players. Marriott explains the difficulties Catholics faced and the give and
take between the French and the Irish. For what is basically a history
lesson, Marriott’s passion is undeniable. His delivery is flawless and
the anecdotal dogma is funny. Marriott also uses several Irish accents, all
while maintaining his own. A very interesting and well-told story.
JSK

JEM ROLLS up (A)

Jem Rolls is a funny man. Jem Rolls will haunt you—or at least his
words will. He has, within his bag of poetical tricks, an “entire
oeuvre of nature poems” and they’re things of comedic beauty.
Among them a “sound poem,” guaranteed to rattle the eardrums and
leave the more pretentiously literate in the city scarlet with recognition,
and the requisite teen-angst poet offering. Funny. However, this master of
the flying iamb, with his whirling hands and trembling intensity, also
delivers sharply observed social commentary and witty asides that
intriguingly contrast with his concluding Dionysian evocation of his
audience. EMC


JESUS IN MONTANA: Adventures in a Doomsday Cult (3)

“Did I really just hitchhike to Montana and accept an 80-year-old
pedophile as my saviour?” This is the sobering question that Barry
Smith must ask himself after dedicating three years of his life to an obscure
cult. A true story: Barry takes us from his childhood in the Bible Belt when
God first spoke to him, to his 20s spent in a drug-induced haze and finally
to the reincarnation of Jesus himself. A PowerPoint presentation guides the
audience through the particularly complicated parts—the proof of
Jesus’s return—as Barry stands under a spotlight in a corner of
the stage delivering his hour-long monologue in dry comical fashion. Even an
impromptu technical difficulty couldn’t distract from this compelling
story. CF

Kafka & Son (6)

Clotted black feathers, a white plume, a spinning silvery cage, a grating,
rasping chuckle—each is a brushstroke in a horrifically beautiful
nightmare. Alon Nashman, in this adaptation of Franz Kafka’s letter to
his domineering father, never stoops to sentimentality in this memorable
performance. Kafka senior might be a hypocritical bully, but the bookish son
is self-righteously parasitic. That uneasy tension flavours much of this
unsettling production imbuing Kafka’s words with the echoing rattle of
a pebble tossed into an abyss of inarticulate love between two disparate
personalities. Chilling, unexpectedly, grotesquely funny at times, Kafka
& Son is pure, unadulterated, surreal goodness. EMC

Kiwi Joker (2)

The topics are old-school (pets, driving, sex) and the jokes sometimes
dragged out, but Mark Scott’s stand-up is affable and shambling, with
seemingly throw-away jokes among the best: “I was in Montreal and went
to the washroom, and the sign said ‘Wet Floor,’ so I did.”
Midgets, cold-blooded killers, and some daffy improv comic songs (a NZ trend?
HBO music-comedy Flight of the Conchords also stars two Kiwi jokers) pop up
to keep things wacky, while a bit packaged around Germans in Speedos is
balls-bustingly funny. Funnier than three Moores, but not tight or buffed
enough to be four Craigs—let’s say three-and-a-half GoldenEye-era
Brosnans. BG

Lay Down and Love Me Again (8)

The conceit that ties these stream-of-consciousness monologues
together—performer James Howell is Kevin, a man in his bedroom who
really wants to put on a show for an audience but can’t get out of his
pajamas—is cloyingly theatrical at best, but actor/writer Howell has
both a gift for turns of phrase and a scattershot, smirking charisma, and his
thoughts on everything from funerals to psychotherapy are more often than not
worth a listen. The play is so dense it practically demands to be read, to
both its credit and its detriment, but Howell wins more than he loses; and
his absurd, chicken-throwing finale is a deftly amusing touch. DB

The Lemonade Maker (3)

Darryl Pring is fat—and he knows it. He even wrote a song about it. But
his plan to tell the story of Fatty Arbuckle on the 2007 Canadian Fringe tour
was thwarted by a Hollywood lawyer. He tells this embittered story with
natural stage presence, maintaining throughout that the fact that he
didn’t acquire the rights for his adaptation of Fatty’s story is
not his fault. Indeed, he’s not to blame for anything that’s gone
wrong in his life. He suffers through hardship after hardship, taking lemons
and making lemonade. But there’s also a hint of self-realization: he
might just be his own worst enemy. The performance of original songs is
particularly entertaining. CF

Letters from Battle River (H)

In 1929, Dr Mary Percy transplanted herself from England to the wilds of
Northern Alberta. Her voluminous correspondence, along with archival film and
photographs, forms the background of this biographical show. Simply staged,
and directed by David Cheoros, Letters is a solid hour that pulls few
surprises, but relies on the dynamism of the performer to animate the
material. Heather D Swain, brings a certain dry wit to the proceedings, but a
slight lack of energy and too much of a low-key approach sapped the show of
some energy. However, there are some engrossing stories and quiet laughs to
be had at this warm and genuine show. EMC

Lineage (4)

A group of booze-guzzling Americans at an anthropology conference in Paris
provides the backdrop for this drawn-out tale of long-simmering
mother-daughter conflict between young professor Michelle and her
academically legendary, but not terribly pleasant, mother Lucasta. After
discovering that she has just slept with her mother’s former lover,
Michelle enlists brother Geoff and flamboyantly gay friend Simon to get
revenge on her for a lifetime of perceived injustices. Clocking it at about
two hours, with numerous lengthy set-changes and an intermission, the play
drags on through a series of conflicts, crises and reconciliations that
aren’t terribly believable or particularly engaging—before coming
to its unsurprising conclusion. SH

Lobster Telephone (C)

Taking a cue from the popular master of absurdity, Panties’
Productions’s Lobster Telephone trades off between fake scenes from
Salvador Dali’s life and thoroughly off-the-wall sketches.
There’s a tendency towards left-field head-scratchers more than the
kind of Pythonesque absurdity that demands laughter, but when they’re
on, as in a mispronounced restoration drama or the nagging voice of
guilt’s nagging voice of guilt, they’re golden. The play is
further helped by the fact the cast, particularly Mark Meer, are the kind of
improvisers that make you hope something goes wrong. DB

Lounge-zilla! (9)

There’s one thing that is certain in this send-up of the lounge act,
and that is that Fiely A Matias certainly knows how to play an
audience—which is perfect, because its participation is paramount to
the success of his schtick. Joined by piano-man Scary Manilow (Dennis T
Giacino), Matias is crude, rude and a total queer diva, hamming it up through
songs about fag hags and stalking and wonderful imitations of Céline
Dion and Barbra Streisand. The show travels the well-worn path of
queer-comedy-for-the-straight-audience, but, as the audience I shared the
show with illustrated, there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s
well done and makes you laugh so hard you cry. CN

Love and Drollery (4)

A series of dialogues and soliloquies on the topic of love by some of the
most famous names in the game, including Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and
Sir Walter Raleigh, provide the only dialogue in a bar where everyone has a
better pick-up line than you. The four-member cast does an okay job of
delivering the classic lines in the modern-day bar setting, and some of the
19 mostly familiar scenes work well (especially “may i feel said
he” by ee cummings), but too many fall flat with surprisingly little
passion or longing evident on stage given the material. SH

Madagascar (6)

Coralie Cairns, Vanessa Sabourin, David Ley … Fringe casting doesn’t
get better than this—director Wayne Pacquette has crafted a production
that tops many a regular theatre season offering. Oedipal, disturbing,
mysterious and taut, Madagascar is a psychological and moral
thriller—an intense cerebral ride that completely engages. Set in Rome,
around a disappearance, the play conjures up the ghosts of a dysfunctional
family through clean, sparely elegant characterizations on the part of this
crack ensemble. Emotion implodes rather than washing over the spectator in
furious waves, and the resulting distance between audience and actor
engenders a strange fascination. EMC

Maggie Now – Part I (F)

An admirable attempt at a Roddy Doyle-meets-E Doctorow Irish-American
historical family epic. The cast is fine, but the epic is as skimming as
sweeping—some deaths are lightly whisked over, another becomes the
longest scene. The main figure, Patrick Dennis Moore, is a bit of a patsy who
barely even reacts to events. Those events, and novelistic exposition, come
at the expense of drama and emotion. Characters’ asides are fine for
explaining thoughts, but not as a substitute for theatre—why announce
“Suddenly he burst into tears” instead of showing it? In the end,
some deft historical details are buried beneath the play’s blizzard
pace. BG

Maggie Now – Part II (F)

Much slower than Part 1, Part II dwells on the romantic prospects of
Patrick’s daughter Maggie in 1917 New York. The story bogs down in
romantic sentiment. The intermittent lyricism and comic characterization of
Part I is now almost entirely gone, though a curious thread of
breast-obsessed humour survives. The actors’ narrative asides are now
even more distancing—it’s as if the audience is watching a
book-on-tape. The ponderous, lovey-dovey melo-mance overwhelms the period
themes of religious division, reincarnation, and women’s growing
freedom. The cliffhanger at the play’s overdue (and still non-)ending
is at least somewhat intriguing. BG

Manners for Men (10)

“It is ironic,” drawls the geeky Frank (actor and writer Justin
Sage-Passant) in a British accent, “that vomiting in public is
considered acceptable if necessary but defecating is not.”
Frank’s insight is personal: since childhood, he’s been
ostracised for the actions of his weak anal sphincter. Additionally excluded
from mainstream masculinity as caregiver to his ill (and abusive) mother,
Frank hates sports, lager, and pokes fun at the “cocksure
swagger” of other men. The writing is impeccable—perfect rhythms
of humour, pathos, and wit. Jonno Katz’s direction is similarly
laudable. JSM

Mark Twain’s Is Shakespeare Dead? (A)

Keir Cutler’s take on the age-old question surrounding
Shakespeare’s works is a must-see for anyone curious about the subject.
With a light and carefree mood initiated by some casual audience
participation, Cutler delves into history to present several facts proving
not only that Shakespeare didn’t write any plays, but who in fact did.
Cutler’s use of humour and his informal tone make what amounts to a
history lecture replete with laughs that culminates into moments of deep
understanding. JSK

Matt & Ben (1)

A number of fantastic elements fall into place in an accomplished piece of
theatre about the early days of the two handsome and eager screenwriters,
Matt Damon (Belinda Cornish) and Ben Affleck (Jocelyn Ahif). Yes, you indeed
read every part of that sentence correctly; its those crossed wires and
contradictions that make Matt & Ben as Fringe as it gets. One day, as the
“dudes” work on their weak-willed adaptation of The Catcher in
the Rye, a screenplay titled Good Will Hunting falls from the sky.
That’s about all you need to know from the marvelous script, originally
produced off-Broadway and now skillfully brought to the local stage by some
fabulous girly talents. It’s packed with issues of intertextuality,
gendered absurdity and cultural critique and countless laughs. So far, my
personal favourite. JB

Me, Ray Charles and Sammy Davis Jr (7)

I wasn’t moved. Despite some really great

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