It’s been a day now since the 5th annual FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL closed its two-weekend run with what, I assume, was a kick-ass party. Sorry, the wind and the rain did indeed scare me off, and I stayed home all snug and watching bad superhero teevee. Maybe not my best choice ever, but I’m owning it.

Made it to the opening night party tho! Here’s me with a couple of strange girls I met there. Did’em a solid and let them get a pic with me (photo by Matt Helm)

But I did manage to catch almost all of the programming that Emily Carvell, Madeleine hall and Mahalia Golnosh Tahririha put together, along with tech team supreme Katherine Dermot and Conor Price-Kelleher. Sadly I did miss Mado Manseau’s 7 Minutes in Heaven, weekend two’s sneaky closet show, but other than that i got the lot in! And what a swell lot it were…

Darkness with John Doucet and Julie Le Gal, a supercool and short theatrical experiment in the dark for adventurous souls.

Space Jameration from good guy Greg Houston, a nostalgia-fueled and very funny standup comedy story about the most important movie in the world.  Which I still have to watch.

SS Lightbulb from Second Step, a funny and visually fantastic adventure comedy from three talented and joyous performers. Don’t forget to smile.

Burger King Lear from Skeleton Key, with the amazing Kate Smith performing the impossible feat of a one-person, fast-food themed retelling of King Lear in 20 minutes (and making it look easy). Loved the retro commercial spots.

Three from Plants, a structured improv bonanza with Jordan Moffat, Hayley Robatteau and Christian Glas simply bowling folks over with their talent. Are they still waiting for that salad..?

Pierre Brault by Will Somers, a piece perhaps initially inspired as a reaction to Brault’s coincidentally named show Will Somers, but that Will took and made so beautifully his own with story, song and heart.

Madeleine Hall and Mitchel Rose of OH NO! said the Parrot. Photo by Log Creative.

OH NO! said the parrot from Aplombusrhombus. Continuing on the incredible work they started with Cardinal at the Ottawa Fringe with this surreal and achingly funny comedy about a most curious air BNB indeed…

Crow’s Nest from Rapscallion Diversion, the true story of an amateur who tried to sail around the world in record time, and a show that deserves (and really, needs) to be expanded to a fuller length. Jake Smith is great as always, and Danielle Savoie shows great 1st-time chops as director!

Tead Talks from Deborah Ring, a very funny and inventive multimedia one-woman sketch comedy, another that almost begs to become an hourlong Fringe experience. A lady with talent to spare.

Boy vs.Chair from Two Kind Boys, with Matt and Matt following up their Fringe and Prix Rideau success with this inventive and merrily silly assault on theatre of the absurd. Beware the chair!

And then there’s that one other show…

Unzipping the Cat from Strange Visitations. The little show I blurted out in 12-minute form only two days after the departure from this realm of Winston the Cat 6 months ago, that I never expected to survive beyond its sudden appearance at the ‘Mop in the Grid’ fundraiser way back then. Except that I got such good feedback from the very tiny audience at that affair that I decided to enter it into Fresh Meat 5. And then I got IN, and it expanded to 20 minutes, and had some very emotional rehearsals before it came time to unleash it in front of a proper, full-scale audience. The results were wonderful, and I was (and still am) blown away by the positivity of the reception. So much so that my plans to put the show to permanent rest following this run have been, if not cancelled, then at least put into question. Not that I have any plans to bring it back anytime soon, and I don’t really want to expand it any further so Fringe is unlikely to see Winston’s furry face anytime soon. But, this show was also my tentative experiment in storytelling as an outlet, and I’m calling it a successful test. Maybe people CAN stand listening to me talk. Next year’s Fringe audiences might have the option of seeing me stand relatively still and tell them a story yet…I’m officially beginning scriptwork on a piece called ‘Fanfiction’ even now (note: shopping for interested directors, gimme a shout!). I hope ol’ Winston would be proud of me…or at least not actively annoyed. Cats, am I right?

Unzipping the Cat – photo by Stephanie Godin

But for now, we have the Fresh Meat afterglow, and a whole bushel of thanks to the gang for putting on such an amazing festival once again. It was especially great to see fest co-founder Jonah Allingham there on week two, filming a documentary on the shindig for his new Toronto endeavours. I’m already looking forward to Fresh Meat 6…which I will not be entering into, by the by. After two stints in FM, I don’t feel like Strange Visitations is particularly ‘Fresh’ anymore. Tho if anyone wants to cast me in THEIR next Fresh Meat show, I’m all ears. And as for Strange Visitations itself..stay tuned for some exciting announcements in the days to come. Fresh Meat or no, there’s still theatre to be done, and I feel like doing some of it. Peace, Love and Soul,

Kevin Reid

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