Gotta be quick-smart about this post…on a deadline, as my internet place only opened at 10:15 and I”m seeing a show at 12:15, and the venue is just a shade north-notheast of fucking nowhere. Thanks for the workout, Victoria Fringe, I may need new shoes before this is over!
So what’s new? Aside from my near elation at actually fulfilling my promise to myself and having breakfast overlooking the ocean today (okay, the harbour, but I’m from Ottawa, close enough!), and my disappointment at having to miss the invite-only Fringe Brunch this AM (Monkey bread! Sigh.), there’s some Fringing to gush over. A four-show night last nite, dontcha know?
Started off at someplace called the VCM Wood Hall for THE RETURN OF LOVE by Mur Meadows. Set in a future where all touching has been outlawed for our own damn good, one romantic soul, Doctor Dipuc, yearns for a return to the kind of intimacy you can only get with a little skin-on-skin action. The presence of the smoldering Doctor Spencer, a fellow prof at the Lotusland University for Sexual Technologies, and quite a fan of the preferred techique of robotic sexual recreation, may be a factor in Doctor D’s passion. It’s a smart and satirical show, looking at the hysteria over STD’s and the delicate balance between sex and intimacy in a very fun way…okay, it’s a bit talky, but the direction is solid enough to keep you interested for the most part. I wish I had some actor names to mention, as all the players were uite solid, but again, Victoria doesn’t seem to care for programs. Anyone can feel free to drop some of that info here in a comment or something…seriously, are Victora thespains all publicity-shy or something? Weird.
From there I dashed off to the Langham Court Theatre for a pair of shows…up first was LOVE LETTERS FOR GEORGIA by Ellen McGinn, and Raving Beauty Productions. This was one of the shorter pieces at the Fringe, but definitely one of the more memorable ones as well. A beautifully theatrical piece about aging Georgia (an absolutely wonderful Miss Danda Humphreys…and I know that because this time they GAVE ME A PROGRAM, hint hint) having increasingly odd arguments with several Baroque and Renaissance painting that have a habit of coming to life around her, while her put-upon daughter (Rhonda Hemstreet) tries to cope with it all. Willful Georgia shines as the centerpiece of this truly engaging show about death, love, and saving baby Jesus from downing (or not). Props also to Elizabeth Brimacombe and Linda O’Connor as whimsical, pestering saints. Very great stuff.
Stuck around the venue for show #3 of the nite, STRUWWELPETER, from the gang at Suspicious Mustach Theatre. A young company from town, the SMT kids put on a pretty terrific, short show, based on the mad 1844 children’s book by Heinrich Hoffman. Framed around a pair of bored children (Lucas Hall and Christie Stewart) who stumble upon the book while supposedly packing for an unwanted move away from home, the suspicious tome, labelled ominusly with the words DO NOT READ, proves too much temptation for the kids to ignore. Delving into the book starts turning all-too real, with a trio of shades (Chelsea Bunyan, Randi Edmundson, and Phillip Van de Ruyt) helping the children live out the stories, like it or not. With such gems as Shock-Headed Peter, Little Suck-A-Thumb, the man who went out shooting, and other increasingly dark and grisly tales, things get weird in a flash. STRUWWELPETER is a nifty and nasty piece of work by some talented up’n comers, who keep everything fast paced and visually engaging so that the time breezes all-too quickly by. A good, inventive nite out.
It was getting on by then, but I still had a little wind left in me, and decided to see just how quickly one could make it from Langham Court to UVic on foot (answer: 30 minutes, as the Fringer flies). There was what appears to be a rare late show on…I’m getting the impression that everyone in Victoria really needs to get up early tomorrow, forever…and that show was a personal fav’rit of mine from the OTtawa Fringe, Katie Hood’s THE ANIMAL SHOW. I happily treated myself to a repeat viewing, and was glad I did. KAtie’s stremlined and tweaked the show since last I saw, and it flows smoother than ever. Still packs an emotional wallop, and Miss Katie does some of the best characterizations I’ve EVER seen on stage.
THE ANIMAL SHOW is Fringe at its finest, gang, and you should indeed run screaming to go see it while you can. Me, I’ve gotta wrap this one up and run screaming (or pangting and gasping) to Fairfield Hall, as my full Saturday of Fringing approacheth. And I can’t wait. Peace, love and soul, Fringers, and I’ll see you at the club,