It’s been a couple of days now, and I’ve begun detox and reset procedures after this year’s particularly rough Fringe experience. Eleven days, 45 shows taken in (counting six repeat performances), all shows reviewed and posted later the same night they were seen, one night excepted. Countless beers and energy drinks downed, several awesome connections made, 2 cd’s purchased, 4 posters stolen (SO sorry), 6 Fringe pins purchased, and only late for work once. So what did it all mean?
Well, a cavalcade of nutty good theatre of all stripes, for the most part…I saw reg’lar plays, one-woman and man shows, cabaret, dance, improv, burlesque, mime, and whatever the Hell you classify Daniel Nimmo under. And as long as I’m lazily segueing into classifications, it’s time to get the first ever LIST OF LISTS post underway. Let’s start with the good stuff:
MY TOP 5 FAV’RIT SHOWS:
#5 – SHADOWS
Margo Mac and Sarah Finn nail it with the strongest classic theatre of the Fringe, and easily become the quick fan fav’rit of the festival. I didn’t get to see this one a second time like I wanted, but have no doubt it will return in a different veune somewhere, sooner than later. It’s just too good not to be back.
#4 – THE PETER N’ CHRIS SHOW
Okay, this one caught me totally by surprise. I was definitely not expecting the sharp, smart, razor-sharp funny writing and brilliant physical choreography that I was treated to. Carlone and Wilson are twisted little geniuses, and I thank them for the much needed laughter. Apples everywhere!
#3 – THE DUCK WIFE
An inuit legend brought to stunning life by acting, gorgeous dance routines, awesome action and a dynamite live rock band (who even get into the action on-stage by the end). Maybe the greatest pure spectacle I’ve been treated to at any Fringe so far…or anywhere else.
#2 – 7(x1) SAMURAI
David Gaines could have charged a hundred bucks for this one-man clown-and-mime retelling of Seven Samurai, called it a workshop, and it would have been worth every penny. When it was over, I would have sworn there had been dozens of people on stage. An absolute privilege.
#1 – THE SPUTNIKS
A simple tale of Jewish Intelligentsia escaping the iron curtain, Ellison Zasko’s portrayal of the journey of Boris, Tatianna and Katya Sputnik captured my poor little heart from the first gummi bear. One woman, a chair, and an utterly real word I’ll never forget. This is theatre.
-A DAY IN THE LIFE OF MISS HICCUP, Yanomi’s deliciously offbeat clown performance, with easily the best bit of costuming at the Fringe.
-MEN TELLING STORIES, a simple, terrific comedy gem about men who aren’t assholes, and how to be one of them. Brothers, it’s been too long.
-THE LAST GODDAMNED PERFORMANCE PIECE. Jayson Mac strikes again, balancing wicked humour with aching drama.
-PURELY CABARET, Lindsay Suthereland Boal belting out a cabaret concert to stir the spirits and rouse the blood. Nice outfit, too.
-ARCHY AND MEHITABEL, with gentleman Jeff Culbert playing an anarchist cockroach and vixenish alley-cat, and capturing me for every subversive moment.
-CACTUS: THE SEDUCTION, Jonno Katz doing what Jonno Katz does best…reinventing comedic theatre for his own twisted purposes, and bringing us along for the ride. The only bit of crowd-surfing I’ve yet seen at a Fringe.
-and MULTINATIONAL GRAPE CORPORATIONS, european-style guerilla theatre at it’s most insane.
But wait, there’s more..! Here comes list #2…
4 SHOWS I WISH I’D SEEN:
#4 – THE LAST STRAIGHT MAN IN THEATRE – I actually saw an early version of this show last year, but apparently it’s been refined since then, and I never made it in to check it out. Which bums me, since I got to befriend Kurt and Alison over the course of the fest. Next time!
#3 – SAUCY JACK – Because, from the people I’ve talked to who HAVE seen it, it’s a show you’ll never, ever forget. And that is a smashing top hat.
#2 – G-MEN: DEFECTIVES – Now I cannot lay claim to completing my Sterling Lynch hat trick at this year’s Fringe.
#1 – SIX : AT HOME – Held at what’s considered the coolest venue at the Fringe, SIX…regularly sold out and got great buzz. And now I’ll never know.
I’m running out of ideas for now, so let’s finish up with a personal thing…
TOP 3 2010 FRINGE MOMENTS (for me):
#3 – the Blogger Wine and Cheese – Okay, it was a dull party, but I was invited! For the first time, my participation in the fringe was just slightly more than mere spectator, and it felt nice. also, that cheese was pretty much all I had to eat that day.
#2 – The ‘secret’ cabaret show – A tradtion in other Fringes that Ottawa is only just starting to embrace (so I’m told), this specil late-night event at the SAW featured several performers putting on brand new bits of whatever they could scrabble together, from songs to skits to stand-up, and it was all pay what you can. The hot fudge on top of the sundae that is Fringe.
#1- People recognizing me! – And not just reg’lar folk, like delightful Aussies Bridget and Charlie…even though this terrible blog/chud of mine is only a month old, the likes of Sterling Lynch, Nadine Thornhill and Barry Smith were approaching ME at the Fringe to comment on my so-called ‘work’. And boy, did I ever dig that feeling. After many years of writing to no one in partiular and to no avail, I think I may have finally found someplace that, dare I say it…fits. Which, for a Visitor like me, is saying something. We shall see.
…and that’s it for now. I may go back and add more lists to this entry as I see fit, because I’ve got one or two picking fights in my head. And if anyone out there has any additions of their own they’d like to make, drop a line. In the meantime, I’ve got writing to do, and plots to hatch. Shine on, you crazy diamonds,