Victoria FRINGE-COMA 2011- Day FIVE

I DID have Fish ‘n Chips, thank you very much, and it was tasty as Hell.  Nice one, Old Vic.  You done filled my belly.

Now, I didn’t get a lot ELSE done yesterday, besides picking up a back issue of WRAPPED IN PLASTIC at one of your fine comic shops, because reading decade-old writeups of episodes of TWIN PEAKS is, occasionally, my ‘thing’.  Hey, it killed the time, awright?  Until I finally made the return trip out to Langham Court Theatre (quite a nice spot, really) for another triple-venue-bill…it seems to be the way you just have to do business at this Fringe.  Lord knows the jogs between venues are starting to take their toll.  I came here for a theatrical workout, not an ACTUAL one!

But my spectacular calves aside, the play’s the thing, and the first one of the evening was Monster Theatre‘s HOUDINI’S LAST ESCAPE, by Ryan Gladstone.  Starring Christopher Bange as the legendary escapist Harry Houdini, and Tara Travis as his Wife and partner Bess, the play tells the tale of Houdini’s origins and rise to international fame, even as the seeds for his untimely demise were being sown in prophecy.  A lavish show painted in broad comic strokes, LAST ESCAPE is at times deliriously funny, eerily dark, and always entertaining.  Bange makes a fine egomaniacal leading man, and Tara Travis is wonderful, alternating between defiant sexuality and brilliantl goofiness at the drop of a hat.  And the magic tricks ain’t half bad either.  Add to this the fact that I got picked to be the on-stage assistant for the final, death-defying escape, and what else can I say but Bravo!

Outside then to await the second show…hmm, getting a little chilly out.   Well, never mind, I’ll be fine.  And before long, we got ushered right back inside for more Fringe goodness, this time THE PINK SHOELACES by Meghan Bell.  This one seems to be a local, student-driven production, and due (once again) to the Victoria Fringe’s allergy to programs, I really don’t know much at all about anyone actually involved with the show (although I’m pretty sure I recognized Christie Stewart, doing double-duty from STRUWWELPETER, as the female lead Anna).  It’s a shame, because the cast is pretty strong in this story about the horrors of trying to fit in to High School life.  Anna, the new girl in school, has to wrestle between the popular klatch, and openly mocked Remy, her first new friend in the school (and the butt of every nasty joke the posh kids can think up).  Now, sure, I was disappointed as Hell that this song wasn’t included in the production:

…but there was some lovely accompanying guitar going on, by Director Chris Ho.  Like I said, I was really happy with all the performances, the script was smart, the characters had sometimes surprising depth, and though the show lingered dangerously in afterschool special territory, there was enough originality and wit going on to carry it above.  It’s a good show, with a pleasant lack of easy answers.

Back outside again and…shit, it’s REALLY gettin’ chilly now!  Man, when the sun goes down on Victoria…BRR!  I decided I couldn’t take no more, so I made the jog back to the Hovel/Hostel for a change into some warmer duds, than started hotfooting it back.  Happily, before I could get TOO annoyed at the extra marathonning I was getting in, I ran into the terrific twosome of Katie Hood and Gemma Wilcox, also on their way to Langham and my final show of the night, GIVING INTO LIGHT.  Even more happily, they let me hang out with them!  Talented AND generous, folks.  After getting inside, and listening to the umpteenth time to the official waste of time/pre-show speech, the show got underway.  And this piece, a solo show by performer Alison Wearing, was a perfect gem of a show to end off the evening.

pic by Joseph Samuels

Telling Allison’s story of her journey into Motherhood, which led her to the City, the country, and even as far as Mexico, Alison weaves a stunningly poetic path with such seemingly effortless grace it was like watching a painting, or a sunset.   The script was utterly gorgeous and universal, and Allison’s presence on stage, whether storytelling, singing or dancing,  was never anything less than assured.  She gets into some character work in the later acts that are highly entertaining as well, and…hell, it’s just all bloody marvellous.  It’s a luminous, revelatory show, and I’m probably a better person for having seen it.  Very cool beans.

I parted ways, sadly, with Katie and Gemma then, got a lift back to the Fringe club with  Drew from FORTUNATE SON and Ben from MY FIRST TIME, and proceeded to enjoy Cameryn Moore’s SmutSlam event (Yay Suzanne!  And damn, that story was kinda sorta hot…phew!) before scuttling back ‘home’.    It was a fine li’l day in the Vic, and I’m hoping for even better today.  Why the Hell not, eh?  Peace, love and soul, Fringers,

The Visitor

PS  Only 21 people like me on Facebook, and that makes my borrowed cat Winston very sad.  So like away! Make a cat smile today.


  1. I saw Allison in Hamilton for Confession’s of a Fairy’s Daughter. By far one of my favorites. I hope I get to see this one too!

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