— DEAD WRONG — A MAC SUMMER NIGHTS DREAM —THE FAT GUY SHOW —
This one’s going to be a little odd…I had a great day of fringing, to be sure! The whole Saturday off, and I caught no fewer than six straight shows! But yes, I DO work at 8 in the morning tomorrow, and to boot I will not be taking any shows on Sunday. A bit of unmissable personal business awaits. So, my plan is to split today’s batch of shows into two days worth of posts…three tonight, three tomorrow (depending on how energetic I feel, of course…maybe I’ll cram 4 in tonight before I crash), and not necessarily in the order I saw them, because that’s just how I’m feeling tonight, awright? Awright.
– DEAD WRONG by Katherine Glover. I did a brief interview with Katherine Glover a few weeks ago about her new show, having caught her last piece BURNING BROTHELS at the Victoria Fringe last summer. The new one sounded as serious as a heart attack and twice as hard to ignore. I finally made my way to Academic Hall to catch it today, and I was right on both counts. Based on true events, the story centers around a young woman (Glover) who is recovering from a brutal assault, still shellshocked even after sending the perpetrator to jail. And just as she’s finally finding a kind of piece, the unthinkable happens, and new evidence is discovered that seems to prove that she, in fact, identified the wrong man.
Things go from bad to worse, in one of the starkest, most honest representations of a real-life no-win scenario I could imagine. Glover takes a stripped down storytelling approach to her show, allowing her character to let us know, in her own words, what she’s going through at every stage of the nightmare. And it’s amazing, and frustrating, and scary and HOW CAN YOU BE MISSING THIS? I get that the gravity of the subject matter might be keeping some people away, but, well…man up, Ottawa! Schedule a nice, light comedy right afterwards (I recommend 100 FIRST KISSES…more on that later), and settle in for the most intense hour of this year’s Fringe so far.
– A MAC SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM by Caithream Celtic Dance Fusion. So I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, the other dance show of this Fringe (after the wunnerful HETEROLLECTUAL)…but it sure enough SOUNDED cool, so what the Hell. A Scottish-themed dance interpretation of Billy Shakes’ MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, featuring an all-female cast and using a multicultural blend of dance styles from across the world? Folks, guess what..? It didn’t just SOUND cool. This show, I’m giddy to say, was quite unexpectedly fantastic.
Directed by Andree Charlebois and Jenn Macquarrie, and featuring an ensemble of 9 highly impressive dancers, MAC SUMMER shifts Billy Shakes’ classic to the Scottish Highlands in a five-act dance-stravaganza (with intermission!) that just keeps on ramping up the fun. Director Macquarrie guides us along as Puck, and pretty much the only speaking role in the whole show. Gorgeous choreography and innovative dancing shine in scenes involving furious scrapping between star-crossed lovers, a travelling tap troupe practicing their routines (Emily Keenan’s Flatbottom successfully steals a scene or two…that’s the name of the character by the way, I wasn’t…let’s just move on, okay?), and the dances of the Faeries as they accompany their King and Queen. I had an utter blast, and consider this one of my lucky finds at the Fringe this year. Make it one of yours (PS…kudos to Caithream for having some plus-sized dancers in the show, who by the way happened to fucking RULE.)
– THE FAT GUY SHOW by Chris Bange, If You Can’t Beat’Em Productions. So I had totally blanked on the fact that I did, in fact, see Chris Bange before! It was last year in Victoria, when he co-starred (with Tara Travis) in the great HOUDINI’S LAST ESCAPE…damn, but I thought I recognized him at the beer tent! He’s actually the one who recognized ME first, which tells me that Chris Bange is a classy mofo indeed. So I was then doubly excited to see his one-manner, THE FAT GUY SHOW at Studio Leonard Beaulne. Incorporating a lot of his love of magic from ESCAPE, this show tells the semi-tragic tale of wannabe magician ‘Mister Fuzzy’, a big-boned, lovable schlub of a magician who’s a whiz with card tricks and sleight of hand, but a loss with the ladies. Only his undying love of Neil Diamond seems to keep him going some nights.
TFGS is a seriously funny and very endearing show by a crazily talented performer, and Bange has a lot of fun with his material and his audience. There may be a slight, TINY amount of audience participation going on in this show, but nothing to worry about, I assure you. And you know what’s better than seeing a killer comedy at the Fringe Festival? Seeing a killer comedy at the Fringe Festival with Zach Counsil in the audience. He has the most recognizable and infectious laff this side of Brian Carroll, and he ain’t shy about letting it loose. I goddamn love it. Brush up on your Neil Diamond, dust off your sense of humour, and go and see Chris Bange before it’s too late.
That’s it for part one of Day Three…part two to follow tomorrow under the total bullshit post-title of ‘day four’. Don’t believe it..there IS no day four. There is only FRINGE. Peace, love and soul, Fringers,
The Visitor (and Winston)