Fringe-Coma 2013 – Halftime (P)Review

I’m taking a rare couple of waking hours to myself in order to get a bit of writing done this Fringe, here at just about the halfway point.  Everybody check yourself and the person next to you…are you breathing all right?  Not too overheated from your stay in Studio Leonard-Beaulne? Devastated after being turned away from SAPPHO?  Are you still emotionally dazed, wondering why the Red Bastard said those terrible things to you??

If so, fear not…there’s still more to come!  We’ve got lots more Fringe yet to go, and according to the numbers it’s been a record setting opening weekend, so pat yourselves on the back, staff, volunteers and artists!  Ya done good.  From a personal perspective, I’ve now actually acted in three performances of my debut production THE TRAGICALL HISTORIE OF NICK WADE (more on that later) and my deepest thanks to our beautiful, enthusiastic audiences…tell your friends!  I’ve also racked up a viewing count of 16 shows, well off my usual pace I know (and only a handful reviewed..!  For shame, Visitor, for shame…), but I’ve seen some sweet pieces of theatre that’ll stay with me for a long time.  The list so far:

The Day We Grew Wings
Red Bastard
Superhero Showdown
the Vanity Project
le Voix Humaine
Innocent When You Dream
Ask Aggie: the Advice Diva
Under the Mango Tree
the Bike Trip
Sappho…in 9 Fragments
Die Zombie Die
We Glow
the Show Must Go On

Not bad for someone performing in a show as well, I hope…and more advance apologies here, I just have no idea how many more remotely-timely reviews I’ll be able to get out during this Fringe.  Trying my best, but killing myself ala my usual reviewing tactic of staying up too late and never getting any sleep seems unfortunately unacceptable while I’m part of a cast, and especially when I’m the newbie of the group.  Shit, acting is HARD, guys.

The glasses do most of the work for me, really.  Pic by Karl Claude.
The glasses do most of the work for me, really. Pic by Karl Claude.

As for some of the shows above that I hadn’t gotten to writing about yet, here’s some quickie word of mouth for all y’all…SUPERHERO SHOWDOWN was good family-friendly puppet fare with smart, sassy puppeteer hosts courtesy of Rock the Arts.  Definitely your show if you want to bring the little ones out for some theatre.  EMISSIONS, billed as ‘the climate comedy’ was a pretty slick and deftly produced show, with some great work onstage from Jen Vallance and Drew Moore as a skewed environmental Adam and Eve, and a great supporting ensemble to boot.  The whole show left me a little bit distant, however, as issue plays traditionally do in my case. Lot of fun, tho.  UNDER THE MANGO TREE was a sweetly done one-woman show from Veenesh Dubois, the tale of her life growing up in India while her beloved papa tried to make his fortune in Canada.  It’s a heartfelt tale, though I’m sorry to say it never drew me in as much as I wanted it to.  And Martin Dockery’s BIKE TRIP was storytelling at it’s most manic and mesmerizing, hilarious and touching, wise and absurd.  Pure joy.  SAPPHO lives up to the hype.  Amazing production with an incredible lead in Victoria Grove.  Fucking unforgettable.  DIE ZOMBIE DIE may be the pinnacle of Fringe Zombie humour…they had me at the popcorn vendors.  WE GLOW was such a perfect spotlight for Emily Pearlman and Brad Long, and such a great use of th Senate Chamber space, that I still have to pinch myself.  Just great.  And THE SHOW MUST GO ON is more high-energy greatness from Jeff Leard, with hilarious retellings of adventures on the children’s theatre circuit.  Phew!

The lads of BE A MAN.  They'll be back!  Pic by Myka Jakoubek.
The lads of BE A MAN. They’ll be back! Pic by Myka Jakoubek.

BE A MAN.  As most Fringe fans have heard by now, Anthony Hall of RibbitRepublic got schmucked by a car after their show’s opening night, and now they’ve had to cancel their run.  It’s a rotten shame, as I know I wasn’t the only one dying to see their show.  But happily, their misfortune has been suitably challenged by our other Fringe artists, who after holding a fundraiser in one of the Be a Man timeslots, have now set up fundraising Story Slams in the others.  The shows will take place in Arts Court Theatre, with all funds going to help the lads get back home and recoup as much of their costs as possible.

Tue 11pm: Cameryn Moore’s Smut Slam: Tales from the Sexual Bucket List
Saturday 4pm: Jeff Leard’s Catastrophe Canyon: Tales of Sudden Calamity
Sunday 2:30pm: Chase Padgett’s Altered States: Stories of Intoxication

These promise to be dynamite events, folks, and for the best cause of all, helping out good guys who need your help.

Hopegrown Productions, being all starlike!
Hopegrown Productions, being all starlike!

TAN TRIPLE HEADERS: Are you ready for it?  After a few days break, the TRAGICALL HISTORIE OF NICK WADE gang, as well as HAPPINESStm are ready to mount our final assault on Fringe starting this Thursday night through Sunday…but we won’t be going it alone!  The mad talented ladies of Montreal’s Hopegrown Productions have just hit Ottawa, after a great run in Montreal that landed them a Spirit of the Fringe award (can’t wait to rock the courtyard with them), with their show AROUND MISS JULIE.  They’ll have a couple of nights with our shared venue T.A.N.Coffee to themselves on Tuesday and Wednesday, but starting Thursday you’ll be able to catch all three shows, back to back to back, every night!  If you’ve been having a hard time talking yourself into making the trek out to our outskirts venue (really not as far as you think, guys), here’s some incentive to make a night of it.  Enjoy some fine brewed coffee and snacks, beer by donation (bar starting up again Thursday…don’t forget to tip your bartender!), and enjoy an evening of kick-ass theatre by some devil-may-care up and comers!  And by golly yes, I’m counting myself in that group now too.

photo: Karl Claude
photo: Karl Claude

And if you’re not convinced, we’re even getting some press!  Here’s the New Ottawa Critics review of Nick Wade:

Plus the Apt 613 writeup:

And of course, the Saint himself:

Plus, a lovely lady named Ruth left an awesome comment on the Fringe NICK WADE page (which you can too!)…Tony, get that chalk back out!

All right, that’s enough promotion…I suck at this stuff anyhow.  Come see my show or I’ll be sad, and who wants that?  And if not, then for Fringe’s sake, go see someone ELSE’S show.  Fringe comes, after all, but once a year, and now I’m off to a show.  See you there!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s