Barely made it to my fourth show of my first day at the Montreal Fringe Festival. Kinda misjudged the map, and underestimated just how far Studio Jean-Valcourt WAS from the Beer Tent. Also, I had just discovered the beer tent, so there’s that. But I made it! And it was a lovely studio indeed (I love studios, I really do), and there was already a decent crowd and lovely set waiting for my much-anticipated first Dance show of the Fringe! I’ve been missing seeing dance shows for a while now, and was glad to be able to indulge myself in the Mtl.

The show was actually two shorter pieces back to back from Travail Rouge, under the title GARDEN OF KNIVES, which is a very cool name indeed. And forgive me if this is a little vague, but I’ve always found it merrily impossible to ‘review’ dance shows, as so much is left up to personal interpretation and opinion…it’s also one of the things I love about them. First up was a solo piece GIRL IN A FISHTANK (INERTIA-LESS) starring Heather Lynn Macdonald and choreographed by Jasmine Inns. A solo dance show is always a crazily intriguing thing to me, and Heather pulled it off beautifully, from the opening frenzy of rooted panic to a final burst of unexpected violence. In between were lovely moments of silliness and sensuality that had me rivetted. Rather proud to learn that Heather trained at the Ottawa School of Dance. We done good, O-town!


Next up the whole troupe…Heather, Tal Aronson, Simon Fournier and Justin Gionet…took to the stage for an ensemble number called RUNNING FOR HOME and choreographed by MacDonald, featuring pillows, apples, and a surprisingly mobile sofa. Every member got a chance to shine in this one, offering solo bursts interspersed with different duos telling their tale. Again, I’ll leave it up to the viewer to decide for herself what the show ‘meant’…for me, there seemed to be a running sense of desperation and inevitability that put the show piece on a keen edge, and I loved it. The closing man/woman combo routine was especially haunting and beautiful. These are some gorgeously talented performers at work…and holy Hell, did I mention the soundtrack? SO GOOD!! Ranging from Donny and Marie Osmond to David Lynch with a few stops in between, it’s used throughout to stunning effect (especially that recurring song in the first piece, just perfect). A smart show, powerfully done, and SO wort the trek to venue 11 (or is it 12? Same building, it doesn’t matter). Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid

PS: to the clueless critic behind me endlessly scrabbling away with your note-taking on the crinkliest piece of paper you could dig up, do you have any idea how distracting that is during a wordless performance? Have you ever considered putting the pen down and PAYING ATTENTION for five minutes? Just bring a fucking typewriter next time and get it over with it.


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