A few years back in 2011, I took a major Theatrical road trip to Victoria to cover their Fringe Festival for the Visitorium. It was a smashing success, and over the course of the fest I met and befriended Montreal theatre bloggers Al Lafrance and Victoria Laberge of the awesome BLOODY UNDERRATED. We had a time, and one of the results of meeting them was that I suddenly found myself on a Montreal theatre media list that I get merrily inundated with around Fringe time. For the last 3 years the good folks at the MONTREAL FRINGE FESTIVAL have been inviting me to come visit for some reviewing fun…and I’m happy to say that, this is the year I finally am able to take them up on it.
From the 13th to 16th of June, I’ll be heading over to see what Quebec does with a Fringe festival, and also how drunk I can be and still write reviews. I’m still trying to manage a show schedule…I really need a hard copy of that thing in my hands, ya know what I mean? But boy, are there some amazing looking shows in their lineup. Here’s just a few of the things I want to see, am curious/excited about, and some I absolutely refuse to miss.
GOD IS A SCOTTISH DRAG QUEEN II from Delcon. I got sold-outted on Delamont’s first blasphemous stand-up show in both Victoria and Toronto, and I swear I’m finally gonna see him in action this time around!
PALEONCOLOGY from Moon Dinosaur. Kira Hall’s one woman show about dinosaurs and cancer looks awesome and, quite frankly, she had me at dinosaurs.
4.48 PSYCHOSE from Peregrination Productions. This show was intended to be the 3rd play of the season for the graduating class of Ottawa Theatre School this year, so it holds a bit of a special resonance for me. Can’t wait to see it tackled, in French even!
WATCH OUT WILDKAT! From Sex T-Rex. One of the best improv troupes on the damn planet is back, with a Western. So yeah, you wanna see it.
HIGH TEA from Life and Depth. Comedy duo James and Jamesy have crazy good buzz following them around, and this follow-up to their smash 2 FOR TEA should be a guaranteed good time.
AIDEN FLYNN LOST HIS BROTHER SO HE MAKES ANOTHER from Theatre Howl. After rocking Ottawa with the wonderful MATCHSTICK last year, Nathan Howe and the gang are back fringing with their latest, and I’m all excitable to see what they’ve come up with now!
CROOK OF MY DREAMS from Generation Goat rocket. A Vaudeville-style musical crime caper , created by sisters Phina and Sophie Pipia!
LOTUS from Hopegrown Productions. I got to share a venue with the ladies of Hopegrown last year when they brought the great AROUND MISS JULIE to Ottawa Fringe. The new one looks terrific.
MY PLAYWRIGHT SISTER. Johanna Nutter returns with a follow-up to her acclaimed MY PREGNANT BROTHER and this time she’s brought her Brother with her for what just might be the most personal show at this year’s festival.
BANANARAMALLAMADINGDONG from Flapjack Cadallac. Two dudes and a dame doing wacky sketch comedy, possibly with bananas, which are a good source of potassium. Who could ask for more?
12 TONGUES from Radiant Moxie. I saw Yana Kesala’s delightful UKRAINIAN DENTISTS DAUGHTER in Victoria and it was a definite highlight. She’s a fun and engaging performer, and the tale of her new show sounds fantastic.
THE QUITTER from Al Lafrance. It’s Al, for fucks sake!
…and so many more, like IMO (IN MY OPINION) from Jess Salomon, SHIRLEY GNOME: SHE’S PRESENTING from Heartichoke Arts, REAL DEAD GHOSTS from Shelby Company out of NYC, HOUSEBUM: A SUPERHERO ON TRIAL from Mask vs.Title, IN MEMORIAM: THE WAKE OF CHEDDAR FANDANGO from Sermo Scomber Theatre, THE DYSMORPHIA DIET, TALKING COCK, OVER IT, SHADOW WALTZ, STRAPLESS, DRAG UEEN STOLE MY DRESS, SENSE GENTLE, tons of amazing dance shows, cool ass French productions, Sam Mullins, Keir Cutler and SO MUCH MORE! Argh, why am I only going for 4 days??
CROSSOVER!! With schedules between cities a little more back to normal this year, there are once again a host of crossover shows that will be hitting both Montreal AND Ottawa Fringes. Here are a few I might just try and catch in MTL and get the jump on everyone back home…
JEM ROLLS – ONE MAN TRAFFIC JAM. Jem Rolls is a Fringe legend and a goddamned masterpiece of a spoken word poet/performer, and I can’t wait to see him again after too long an absence.
ME AND MY MONKEY from Bradley Spann. This solo story of growing up in South Central in the 70’s, indeed with a monkey, has me WAY too intrigued to risk missing.
IREDEA from Woo Me Myth. A live, Philip K.Dick-inspired sci-fi rock opera, from the same mad geniuses who created THE DUCK WIFE. Miss this one at your peril!
THE DEVILS CIRCUS from Wishes Mystical Puppet Company. Evil magic puppets…kind of what Fringe is all about, in the end.
LES CHERRIES. In Montreal with LES CHERRIES ON FONT DE L’OEIL, and then hitting Ottawa with CHERRY ON TOP, I get the feeling this a cappella chanteuse trio is gonna steal some hearts, and knock some socks off.
KITT & JANE: A SURVIVAL GUIDE TO THE NEAR POST-APOCALYPTIC FUTURE from Snafu Dance. I’d pay good money to watch Ingrid Hansen do her taxes. Seeing her and co-star Rod Peter jr. as hyperactive 8th-graders in this stand-alone sequel to the legendary LITTLE ORANGE MAN? It’s almost too awesome to contemplate.
YOU NEED TO SEE THIS!! And here are three shows I’ve already seen (more than once in some cases) that the rest of you would be fucking nuts to miss…
WOLVES>BOYS from May Can Theatre. May Can are hometown heroes here in Ottawa, slowly building an amazing rep as tireless creative forces over the last few years (especially this year, when they’ve challenged themselves to create a new special theatre event every month of the year…so far, they’re on par), and they’re ready to spread their wings and take this country by storm. WOLVES is probably their strongest show yet, and you’re gonna love them more than candy.
SPITTING IN THE FACE OF THE DEVIL from Bob Brader. I caught Bob Brader’s autobigraphical one-man punch to the gut back in Victoria, and I still feel the goddamn chills from it. Directed by the amazing Suzanne Bachner, this is powerful, powerful medicine. You need this show.
ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL from Broken Turtle Productions. Recently revamped after several years of great reviews and delighted audiences, Nancy Kenny is taking her feel-good hit on a major road tour, AND filming a major feature length documentary about the Fringe circuit while she’s at it(read all about ON THE FRINGE here!). I recently re-reviewed the newest iteration of the show, check it out if you care to. But more importantly, check out this show. You can thank me later.
All the apologies to the tons and tons of incredible performers I’ve left off this too-short list…there are just so darned MANY of you!! And HUGE thanks to the Montreal Fringe for inviting me, putting me up, and being such swell all-around hosts. I can’t wait to hit town, walk the venue trail, and get my Fringe-Coma on just a little bit earlier this year. A Bientot, Montreal…I’ll see you soon. Peace, love and soul,
Kevin Reid (and Winston)