Here it is at last, folks, the one thing that makes those terrible, terrible months of sunshine and humidity bearable (I’m a cool weather person, so sue me)…FRINGE! It’s been 5 years now since I wandered into my first ever Ottawa Fringe Festival show and had my life turned upside down in the best way I could have ever imagined…I’m still riding that rocket and it gets faster all the time! Fun side note…Shane Adamczak, one of the stars of that first show I saw, Weeping Spoon’s GREED, is currently tearing it up at the Montreal Fringe with his latest solo show, ZACK TO THE FUTURE!
But the Courtyard is getting prepped, flyers are being handed out, Facebook invites are being reposted fast and furious…the madness is almost upon us! And I find myself occupying a rather new set of circumstances going in this time around, which is just making it even more exciting and cool. There’s an amazing looking slate of shows coming with this year’s Fringe, and if you can’t find a shitload of awesome to enrich your soul HERE, then I hope whatever you sold it for was worth it.
– OLD FRIENDS
Unlike my Fringe-virgin status in 2008, I know a fair amount of names going in to 2013. And boyoboy, am I looking forward to their shows. Like dynamo Kurt Fitzpatrick, who’s back in town with CATHEDRAL CITY (after tearing it up with the great LAST STRAIGHT MAN ON THEATRE a few years back). Or a wonderful late addition to this year’s event, the lady Cameryn Moore herself with SLUT (R)EVOLUTION. Cameryn’s a one-woman army when it comes to flyering lineups, so expect to see plenty of her and her parasol around the Fringe grounds. And yay, Emily Pearlman is back! She’s got a new boy-partner this time ‘round in the form of upstanding young lad Brad Long in WE GLOW from theatre 4.669 and director Kevin Orr.
Nitro-powered storyteller Martin Dockery is back after crushing houses with last year’s WANDERLUST, this time with two shows to blow your mind with, THE PIT (with partner Vanessa Quesnelle) and THE BIKE TRIP, his tale of the accidental creation of LSD. As a Leary fan, ya know I have to see THIS one. And Jeff Leard, star of last years GAMETES AND GONADS is back with another solo piece THE SHOW MUST GO ON.
A few of Ottawa’s most beloved ladies are back in Fringe! Jessica Ruano, after conquering Europe, is in town with SAPPHO…IN 9 FRAGMENTS starring Victoria Grove in a show that’s gotten raves on two continents. Jen Capogreco takes to the stage alone in NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH A WRITER. Bronwyn Steinberg brings her expanded SubDevision piece OCCUPY ME from last year to this year’s Fringe. And Nancy Kenny has taken off the skates and polished her French for DOLORES, a site-specific bit of wonder in the kitchen at St.Pauls. Only 17 seats per show, so feel free to use that advanced ticket option, hey?
And there’s still more! Rich Hemphill strikes back with DIE ZOMBIE DIE!, Bear and Company tries out some original material with WINDFALL JELLY, and up’n’coming comedy juggernaught GRIMprov is ready to give you laugh pain with GRIMPROV PRESENTS (special guests nightly!). Dead Unicorn Ink returns with furniture-based theatre in CHESTERFIELD, Glassianogets grim’n’gritty with DISILLUSION, and Fireflood Theatre brings violence to center stage (yay!) with THE FIGHT. Oh, and how could I forget that May Can Theatre is back, this time bringing HAPPINESStm to Fringe crowds! As well as another show, but…more on that later.
– OTS REPRESENT!
It’s no secret that I’m heading into Ottawa Theatre School in the fall (although it would be perfectly understandable if nobody reading this actually gave a shit), and I’m psyched to see so many of former students making an appearance at this years Fringe. Like Victoria Luloff and her show THE DAY WE GREW WINGS, or Caitlin Corbett with MORNING STAR. Holly Griffith co-stars in Tim Oberholzer’s THE VANITY PROJECT (with Tim, Tess McManus and Nicholas Amott), and Nick Fournier and Jonah Allingham will both be appearing in…but more on that later. Did I miss any OTS’ers out there? Shout out!!
– NEW PEOPLE!!
I’m not so worldly in the ways of Fringe that I don’t still get introduced to tons of new talented peeps every year (and I hope I never am), and this year’s got a big crop I’m excited to catch. Like the gals of Hopegrown Productions with AROUND MISS JULIE, already getting good buzz at Montreal Fringe. Or Andrew Wade with his Alice-in-Wonderland riff THE HATTER (tea included!). Fringe goes operatic with the arrival of Toronto’s Opera Five and LA VOIX HUMAINE, and the vid for RibbitRepublic’s BE A MAN already has some serious buzz going for it:
Inside scoop is that Harrington and Kaufman are an act not to be missed, whether in their two manner CABARET TERRARIUM or Kaufman’s solo NHAR MOVES. And RED BASTARD and ASK AGGIE are bringing Bouffon action to the Fringe, keeping Lovebug Louie’s energy going from last year. And you know I love -love me a one woman show, so I’m super-stoked for Emma Zabloski’s KEEPER, Colleen Osborn’s BOTCHED, and Veenesh Dubois’ UNDER THE MANGO TREE. Also looking forward to Zeb West’s INNOCENT WHEN YOU DREAM, and Bzzt! Trap Door Theatre’s THE FRENZY OF QUEEN MAEVE.
– YOU KNEW THIS WAS COMING..!
I’ve never been one to shy away from my hugely unprofessional bias, so it should come as no surprise that I’m saving THE TRAGICALL HISTORIE OF NICK WADE (AND OTHER FUCK-UPS) for last. Teaming May Can Theatre with Backpack Theatre, we’ve assembled the hottest gang of young theatre toughs this town has ever seen! Cory Thibert, Tony Adams, Jonah Allingham, Nick Fournier…oh yeah, and a slightly-youngish-looking old fuck who answers to the name of ME. Our magical director Mado Manseau has been whipping us into shape, the lads have been hitting the band practice for months, and sound designer Lewis Caunter is gonna impress like Hell with his incredible work. A rock’n’roll comedy drama, a tragedie in five songs, you ain’t seen (or heard) nothing like NICK WADE at the Fringe for a long, long time. And did I mention our venue, T.A.N.Coffee at 317 Wilbrod in Sandy Hill, will be licensed..? Come on out, have a beer, buy an advance ticket, and of course, Fuck the GVMNT:
There’s plenty more, there’s SO MUCH MORE..! But I have miles to go before I sleep kids, so check your Fringe guides and plan your madness-fueled days of theatre carefully so as not to miss a trick. I’m still gonna try and see and review as much as I possibly can, tho with me being IN a show I’ll be more limited than previous years. Since I won’t be doing the whole ‘media pass’ thing this year, if you want me to review YOUR show, find me in the courtyard, slip me your password, or Hell, just ask me nice, I’ll probably show up. 🙂 I will sadly not be reassembling my amazing Team Visitorium this year, although as it turns out I just might have a partner of sorts on the blogging front after all. Stay tuned! Hope like Hell to see you all out at the Fringe (and in the audience for NICK WADE..!), and save me a spot in the beer tent. Peace, love and soul,
Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)