Victoria FRINGE-COMA 2011 – Day EIGHT

This is gonna be a tricky one.  I’ve caved in, abandoned the cushy, if expensive warmth of my internet cafes, and joined the 21st century with a spanking new ‘netbook’, from which I’m currently attempting to write this entry, with the aid of Serious Coffee and their magical, wi-fi airwaves.  I’m still adjusting to the setting, not to mention the teensy keyboard, so bear with me, folks.

So as previously mentioned, the solitude of my Victoria vacation is starting to wear on me.  Which is probably why I went and splurged on a shiny new toy for myself, because that DOES cheer me up something fine (I got stuff for other people, too, so I’m not COMPLETELY shallow).  What else cheers me up is Fringe, so I’m rather tickled I took in three cool new shows yester.  Let me now ramble about them, as I am wont to do from time to time:

First up was THE TROUBLES, which dragged me kicking and screaming back to the faraway Fairfield Hall, in the rain no less  But why the Hell not, sez I, and gentleman Jeff Culbert agreed, showing up for the show from ResoundingScream Theatre as well.  The brainchild of writer and performer Stephanie henderson, TROUBLES tells the story of Molly, a proud Irish gal who takes us on a theatrical tour of the violence plaguing her homeland, even as she seeks to get away from it all.  Several characters are introduced to help with the telling, each encounter seeming to grow more violent than the last.  If it drives home one point, it’s that the conflict in Northern Ireland is one almost devoid of ‘sides’…there’s just one muddled, bloody middle, and everyone is stuck inside it.

Stephanie doles out a brash, powerful performance as Molly and the others, in what looks like a downright exhausting hour (with a few video projection aids along the way).  And though there are no easy answers given during the show (on account of there aren’t any to be had), it’s a fun and challenging ride along with her.

The sun was shining when I emerged from the hall, a good enough sign for me.  I made my way back up towards Metro Studio, to catch the show that LIZARDBOY disintegrated itself to make possible…RED, courtesy of SXS Productions, and one Sebastian Samur.  A last-minute replacement show, and I’d say we lucked out (no offence,Lizardboy, you looked cool too).  A one-man retelling of Little Red Riding Hood,wiry physical performer Sebastian morphs between flittering Red and the prowling, scheming wolf with a little help/hindrance from the audience, who are outfitted with bells that can switch Sebastian between characters at a ring (at certain times).  It’s a tricky gimmick that works like a charm thanks to the clever working of the script and Sebastian’s near-flawless physical performance (his wolf is an absolute delight to watch skulking about).  A terific damn show, with some blood’nguts for the kids.  Check it out!

After that, it was a short trip down to St.Ann’s for the last show of the day, but a hotly anticipated one (and judging by the size of the crowd, I wasn’t the only hot anticipator on the island), Rob Gee’s SMART ARSE.  I’d caught his dynamite show FRUITCAKE two times at the Ottawa Fringe this year, so I knew this would be a good damn time, and of course I was right.  Telling poetic tales from his childhood, his Dad’s, and other stories inspired by some part-time students of hisback home, Rob crafts an hysterical and surprisingly poignant portrait of the kid in all of us.  I especially loved the story from his Father’s POV, of his tough early  life growing up in a post-war orphan’s home.

That, and the tampon joke.  Oh, and the double deep-fried kabob pizza…mmm…

Yes, Rob combines the puerile and the heartfelt with masterful charm…what a goddamn treat to be on the island with both him AND Jem Rolls at the same time.  This is a glorious privilege, friends, don’t squander it.  SMART ARSE is the dog’s bollocks, and no fooling.  See it if you can!

Awright, that’s it for me…I think I’ve managed to do this thing correctly, tiny keyboard or not.  I’ll spare you the post show goings on, many drinks with Ben, Kathleen, and me finally meeting Ingrid Hansen (squeee!), and instead go off and get excited about the fantastic lineup of shows I got planned for tonight.  Gonna be awesome, and I hope to see some of you out there.  Peace, love and soul, fringers,

The Visitor


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