…except that it TOTALLY isn’t. There was no day four, for me (of if there is, it’ll be tomorrow). I had to miss Fringing tonight, on the sad account of the death of my awesome Brother-in-law’s Mom Joanne, who passed this week after an epic battle with ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Naturally, missing a day of Fringe is NOT really the issue here…heck, circumstances aside, I could probably use the break. But I just thought I’d take a moment at the top of this post, as long as my blog is enjoying its highest-volume traffic EVER, to mention why I wasn’t there tonight, step out of character for a moment, and post this link:
That leads to the English language page of the ALS Society of Canada, and if you have the time, inclination, and means, Joanne would smile down on ya if you could make a donation of any kind in the interests of kicking ALS’s ass, because it SUCKS.
Thanks for your time. And now, Back to the matter of mad media bloggery, and the reviews I did NOT get written last night. Not that I needed to, considering the fucking crack job TEAM VISITORIUM is getting down to…and that’s with our two relief hitters still waiting in the wings! Fringe Festival, you are going DOWN! LEt’s get to it:
– ALIEN PREDATOR: THE MUSICAL by Betty Jane Horton and Bryan Cook (Go Fly a Kite Productions).
When I was an honest-to-gosh kid, and not just one at heart (aka: irresponsible old jackass), PREDATOR was kind of an obsession amongst me and my pals. It, along with DIE HARD and ROBOCOP, were the defining action movies of my childhood. So I couldn’t resist a modicum of curiousity when the gang behind last year’s OPEN BAR: THE MUSICAL decided to mount this musical homage to one of Arnie’s Holy Trinity (TERMINATOR and CONAN THE BARBARIAN being the other two…discussion on the matter is now CLOSED). The story is essentially a clone of Predator’s, with just a dash of ALIENS for good measure: A scientist essential to the Cameron Corporation (nice touch) is lost in the Brazilian jungle, and a crack team of commando mercenaries is hired to bring him back alive. Only something is out there, past them trees…
Running through the modest, two-bush jungle the company could afford, our valiant band does battle with interplanetary evil while singing new songs inspired by the classic macho-flix of old…”It’s Game Over, Man’, and ‘Get to the Chopper’…all fine attempts at new standards. A very much shame that the musical accompaniment was so loud you could hardly make out a word they were singing (tho it did seem to get better as the show went along…hopefully just a tech bobble that can be tweaked) *UPDATE* Bryan has told me that the sound issue is being addressed even now. Good news!* And while I always try and be positive on this blog, sometimes I just have no choice but to say something, so I hope to hell this is what you were going for, guys, but…the dialogue was rather hilariously bad. Though the show DOES admit its campy nature up front, so I may be fretting over nothing. There were a few good performances…Will Lafrance gave good work as tough Captain Ash in the opener, and later as one part of a hilarious homoerotic duet ‘When a man loves a man’. And Mike Kosowan of GRIMPROV is pretty damn funny as the bottle-glasses wearing PHD everyone is looking for. Most of the others were better singers than actors (tho Jonah Lerner made a memorable Predator), and the songs weren’t as memorable as one would have hoped. Honestly, the show is kind of a mess…quite often literally, as blood splats across Arts Court Theatre with increasing regularity. And where else ya gonna see that, honestly? APTM won’t win any awards, but anyone who writes a song called ‘If it bleeds we can kill it’ has at least a lot of my respect and love. Fringe at its Fringiest, folks. Go if you dare, and have yourself a silly-ass time.
– 100 FIRST KISSES by Mark MacDonald.
I was heading up to Studio 311 the other night for a show, when as I approached the door someone ran up and grabbed my arm. It was the hardest working man in show business Nick Alain (on a rare night off). He had just come from a show in Studio Leonard Beaulne. What he told me, madness in his eyes, was ‘You HAVE to see 100 First Kisses!’
Ladies and gentlemen, you don’t argue when Nick Alain runs up and tells you shit like that. I rearranged my schedule and saw it the very next day. And once again, Nick Alain was right on the fucking money.
KISSES is the story of a girl struggling to write an essay on her ‘first time’…something. Could be anything she wants, and she runs through a few ideas, before she realizes what she WANTS it to be about: her first kiss. Only trouble? She hasn’t had it yet. What follows is some extraordinarily simple, but brilliantly sweet theatre, with maybe the most wondrous gimmick I’ve seen in a while, and it works SO WELL!! I won’t give it away, but suffice it to say, if you see this show and don’t feel a warm glow in your heart, then you likely don’t have one. Also, why are you reading my blog, Mister Cheney?
Starring Mary Armstrong, Hilary Peck and Alex Brunjes, KISSES is now my pick for sleeper hit of the 2012 Fringe. I’m already WAY late on the word of mouth train for this one, and I couldn’t be happier. Also, the counting shoulders thing? I gotta try that.
– SPACE MYSTERY…FROM OUTERSPACE! by Jeremy Doiron (Dead Unicorn Ink)
This is a little weird for me…I’ve been scooped on my own blog. Avid readers (that’s all of you, right? RIGHT??) will know that Team Visitorium special agent Sister Street Fighter, aka Danielle Savoie, has already written about DUI’s latest romp, but I feel like I should add my two cents, since I did SEE the show, I’m home bored, and Tom Charlebois TOTALLY stole the role of Doctor Grimm from me, and I must have…my…REVENGE!!!
…sigh. And I wish I could take that revenge by trashing the show and saying it sucked, but it is not so. In fact, I’d say this show is a marked improvement over their last show, PLAYING DEAD. And I liked me some PLAYING DEAD, folks.
SM…FOS! is an homage/sendup/mashup (or ‘homsenmash‘) of two distinct but much-beloved genres: film noir, and 50’s era sci-fi. Imagine if Humphrey Bogart’s Sam Spade hitched a ride with Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, and you’ll have the first idea of what this show is all about. Starring Jake William Smith as the soliloquy-loving gumshoe Rick Derringer, commissioned by dangerous dame Selma Widowmaker (Marissa Caldwell…uh, WOW…) to find the aforementioned Dr Grimm (Charlebois, making glorious hash of the scenery as a good villain should) and his meek assistant Bunsen (Arras Hopkins). A space jaunt is required, bringing space captain Hammerfist (Mike Doiron, and his no less important co-star ‘codpiece’) and his first mate Patty (Sylvie Recoske…yay, more DUEL alumni!) into the picture. A few giant lizards and lasers later, and you’re knee deep in one of the funnest shows of the Fringe.
Anchored by live music from Braunson Lalonde, and Adrienne Epprecht (who provides the memorable theme song for the show), and aided by DUI’s penchant for amazing puppetry, this is a show that almost has to be seen to be believed. While a few setups are almost TOO juvenile or cliched, more often than not they hit the mark admirably. The car scenes are particularly inspired, and show that the gang is getting as adept with their storytelling as they are with their toys. A company on the rise, and it’s a goddamn treat to watch them climb.
Calling it a night…back to the Fringe tomorrow night, universe willing. And a certain Ottawa premiere that I almost can’t WAIT for. The start of week 2 is gonna be off the chain, folks, and I hope you’ll all come along with us! Peace, love and soul, Fringers,
The Visitor (and Winston)