I was all set to skip Luna Allison’s show. I really was. I mean, come on…it was WAY off site, somewhere off Main Street….in some girl’s BEDROOM? Sketchy, folks, sketchy. Plus which, the sheer travel time would mean I’d have to skip TWO shows to see her one. And I’m all about the volume, if you hadn’t cottoned to that yet, so I wrote her quirky-sounding show off with nary a lament in my soul.
Then, last week on the opening day of Fringe there was a media thing in the courtyard. I attended, and among other people milling about, I actually MET Luna Allison herself. She walked up and introduced herself, sporting her costume from her show, and chatted me up a bit. Within a few minutes, I was sitting down, making frantic rejiggerings to my laboriously-constructed Fringe schedule to ensure that I could absolutely, positively see her show. Because Luna Allison is just that charming, people. I’m talking weapons-grade charming, and I am grateful indeed that I bumped into her that day. Because if I hadn’t I would have never seen FALLING OPEN last night, and that would have been a really stupid move on my part.
Taking place in Luna’s own home (a bit of a hop from the Fringe courtyard, true, but worth the trip) on the third floor of a cozy looking building, Falling Open stars Allison herself in a show she created, with the help of Director Lib Spry. And it’s a doozy. Dressed as an oversized living doll, Luna tells a story of sexual abuse over two lives…beginning with George, the disturbingly sympathetic victimizer and moving on to his idealized child fantasy, wrestling over a lifetime with the fallout of George’s assault. With the aid of some screen projection and sound bites, but mostly thanks to Luna’s charismatic and fearless presence, FALLING OPEN is one of the most mesmerizing and powerful things you’ll ever see, never making the mistake of lapsing into heavy-handedness. Luna’s a wondrous performer, and I feel dopey for only having discovered her now. But then, I never said I was smart. She’s rumoured to be taking this show on the road soon, and more power to her. It’s one that deserves to be seen.
Wandered away from Luna’s pad chatting about the show with Miss Emily Pearlman and others, afore finally wending my way back to the Courtyard. I’d decided to make it an easygoing nite on myself, chilling in the light rain with some friendly palaver and more than a few beers. And it was pretty fun! Got to wish my Fringe-Buddy Richard Hemphill a happy birthday (and while I’m at it, a happy graduation to Othello’s smooth Tim Oberholzer to boot!), got a sweet ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL poster from Famous Actress Nancy Kenny (side note: the Visitor LOVES getting Fringe posters and putting them on his wall…help a nerd out, won’t you?), and won a pizza thank to my tweeted review of Katie Hood’s amazing THE ANIMAL SHOW. A good night.
And the best part was that I got a nice fun buzz on before making the late show of CANUCK CABARET! Brought together by the considerable talent and charm of Paul Hutcheson and Sharon ‘Prairie Fire’ Nowlan, and featuring a host of diff’rent guest stars every night. The show was a nice, raucous good time, from Paul’s variously heartwarming and hilariously filthy stories to Prairie Fire knocking out some of the best bits in her considerably amazing burlesque repertory (including that glorious light-dance that gave me chills last year in BURLESQUE UNZIPPED). tonight’s guest stars were dancer Megan O’Shea, giving a dynamite dance performance clad in naught but bubble wrap; PICK YOUR PATH’s Ray Besharah working some quick improv magic and making it rain indoors; and Nancy Kenny, performing an extra-sexy version of her Derby Dance from RDSMS. It was a dandy fun show, Paul and Prairie make a great tag-team, and CC made for a great end to my night.
…or was it? Could it be that this wasn’t the last Cabaret show of the evening? Could there be some….oh, fuck the secrecy, already. Yes, it was SECRET CABARET SHOW night at the Ottawa Fringe, and as i had the day off work come the morning, I figgered I’d come on along and see what was what. And hey, it turned out to be, as expected, one of the best shows of the whole Fringe. From Tania Levy and Samira Rose’s opening Ukelele jam, the ball started rolling fast and never stopped (well, y’know, until it was over…you get what I’m saying). Peter ‘n Chris teamed up with Elizabeth Blue for a five-minute action movie, Cory and Tony belted out a few sweet tunes, Al Connors called a killer game of Improv Foursquare, and Mikaela Dyke, Nancy Kenny and Brent Hirose recapped every Fringe show ever told, 2011 edition. All this plus Jimmy Hogg, Rob Gee, Katie Hood…and more, but forgive me for omissions, the bar WAS still open during all this and I have a reputation to maintain. I was still conscious by the end of it, splurged for a late cab home, and loved every minute of that fine Fringe day.
There’s more to talk about…the great news of the surprise resurrection of the GLADSTONE THEATRE (thanks to Plosive and Seven Thirty Productions), my new Fringe pet peeve, and wondering if I should be compiling a Fringe-crush list like everyone else, of if I’d just creep people the fuck out that way. Some of us should probably just keep it to ourselves, am I right? Probably. But in the meantime, I’ll keep blathering about everything ELSE right here, same Fringe-time and all that. Peace, love and soul, Fringers,
Kevin and Winston