…Okay, okay, this is WAY late, I admit it. In my defense, the 2011 Victoria Fringe IS quite over now, so a day or two tardy isn’t going to matter much as far as these writeups are concerned. Also in my defense, I was so hungover on vodka the day after Fringe I couldn’t even have written my own name, much less a post. The next day was lost to travelling, and here I am, back at the Ottawa head office of the Visitorium, getting ready to tie a nice, wordy ribbon around my Westy-Fringing experience (almost)
Flashing back to that last Sunday in town…had an early breakfast and bloggery, then made it out to Langham Court one last time for SONNETS FOR AN OLD CENTURY by Jose Rivera. Director/actor Holly Jonson was kind enough to extend a personal invite to yours truly, so getting there was the least I could do. Sorry I couldn’t make it earlier, actually, because this was a goddamn powerful show. Starring Jonson along with Aleisha Kalina, Mily Mumford, Bill Nance, Austin Obiajunwa, Alan Penty and Shaan Rahman (also, if I’m not mistaken, in PINK SHOELACES this year), the play is mostly a series of monologues. Occasionally interconnected, they are the final words of what I’m taking to be the recently departed, from all walks of life, conveying perhaps what they failed to get across in life. Ranging from mad ramblings to desperate apologies, earnest longings to simple words of wisdom, SONNETS is a solid hour+ of emotion, well performed and haunting. I don’t know if this show is touring, but I can tell you that there was some serious talent up on the stage (Mumford, Jonson and Obiajunwa particularly impressed, but everyone was spot-on). One of the monologues seemed to maybe drag on a LITTLE too long, but that’s about my only nitpick. A great show, that left me reeling in the good way.
Off then to the Wood Hall, this time for FORTUNATE SON. Again, least I could do after actor Drew Stanilard gave me a ride back to town earlier that week. Peter Boychuk’s slice of Canadian history-play is directed here by fran Gebhard, and stars Drew (as Justin Trudeau) and Michael Armstrong as Cal, Pierre Elliot’s advisor and friend. We join them on the heels of the elder Trudeau’s funeral, where Justin’s speech has all of Canada abuzz, and Cal is overcome with visions of a succession along family lines.
The marvellous back and forth that ensues is something to see, especially with two slam-bang actors like Drew and Michael at the helm. Drew’s reticent, angsty Justin contrasts just so with Armstrong’s boisterous and bullheaded Cal, desperately trying to keep the Trudeau legacy alive. There’s a lot roiling beneath the surface of this script, and it’s sweet meat for the lads to dig into. Well staged, nicely paced, a solid telling of a shockingly interesting piece of Canuck lore. Who knew?
Down, down then to the Even Centre for a comedy double-bill to counteract the Death-themed plays I’d just enjoyed, but gotten slightly bummed out by. Up first was sketch comic Andrew Barber and ONE MAN’S TRASH, a collection of his outrageous character performance work, interspersed with some pre-taped sketch cips…like this one!
Along with wackier pieces like that, Barber trotted out a host of misfit characters (some of the names I’m forgetting..well, most of them…sorry!): A miserably failing stand-up comic, a snooty, clueless ‘actor’, and my personal fav’rit, Steven Grundlebauer, angrily belting out his #1 dance hit ‘Do you wanna Fuck, or do you wanna Fight?’ Barber’s a funny, charming cat, although he does tread rather dangerously long in the ‘awkward pause’ section of comedy, and it starts to drag the tone down a bit. There’s a lot of talent on display at TRASH, though it might not quite be a solid show yet…with talent and imagination like he has, though, it won’t be long.
Stuck around the centre for SHLONG FORM IMPROV, a troupe from parts unknown who make their mark combining the element of both short and long-form improv (get it?) into their performances. And while it’s always hard to review an improv show, I’ll give it a try…they’re real good!
There, that wasn’t so hard.
One final show of the day, AND the Fringe left, so I decided to treat myself…it was time to experience LITTLE ORANGE MAN again, it was, and damn but that was one of the best ideas I’ve had all week. Ingrid Hansen moved me even more this time than last, everything flowed perfectly (even a tickle in her throat was woven wonderfully into the show itself), and I’m more convinced than ever that my hyperbole from my previous review wa, if anything, an understatement. In fact, since I can’t really add too much to what I’ve already said, let me just sum up my thoughts upon second viewing this way: AC..? Go FUCK yourself (Edited, because the dude I’m dissing keeps finding the site by ego-surfing himself on google, and I just can’t have that…Kathleen, YOU know who I’m talking about, though ;)).
And that was all she wrote, and this time, me too…it was off to the Fringe Club for the final par-tay of the festival, with awards handed out, drinks being drunk, and dances being hipped and hopped all over. I had a swingin’ time (what I remember), saying far too many goodbyes, and finally meeting Steph Henderson of THE TROUBLES, Jayson MacDonald of GIANT INVISIBLE ROBOT, and cheery venue manager Heather from Langham Court! Things moved from the club to somewhere else with a smoke machine, then off to another location with what I hazily recall as being a fridge full of vodka, and…
…well, I’m sober again NOW, thanks very much. I have more to say on this Fringe experience, which will be in my upcoming Roundup post. Many thanks to give, joys, regrets, memories, fav’rits…and yes, crushes too. It’s a Fringe post, after all.
So I’ll see you all again soon (figuratively), once I compose my dark and terrible thoughts. AND I’m behind on a PRETTY LITTLE INSTINCTS post too…it never ends! But it turns out, that’s a good thing. Peace, love and soul, Fringers,
The Visitor (and Winston, again)