With Preview Night behind us and actual Fringe Festival shows not quite started, now seems like the perfect opportunity to squeeze in my own “10 (Oops – I mean FIVE) Shows to Watch For” this year. I know, I know, I don’t have Baby Giraffey’s endorsement or any cool interview quips to share but I do have… a list. I have a list. And here it is, in alphabetical order by show:
- I’ll be honest – I was not taken by the simple synopsis and low-key photo on The Date’s (at ODD Box) Fringe page. But Miss Phoebe Webber’s honesty, vulnerability, sense of humor, and energy at Preview Night sold me on this show. The Date reminds me of my own foray into the Ottawa Fringe Festival (Crushed in 2015) and how important it is to support newcomers to the scene. The small, local shows need our love too. (Plus, I met Phoebe at a lighting design workshop and she is darling.)
- Drawn That Way at Live on Elgin! This show looks like a fun musical romp into the world of drag and I think it’s going to be a perfect fit for the intimate, licenced venue. But what really grabbed me was their marketing campaign. If you didn’t see the videos where Bebe Queen morphs into Kevin Waghorn, or where our beloved Waghorn gets made up in drag, you are missing out on some of the most exciting and clever Fringe advertising ever.
- As a trained aerialist and overall cirque aficionado, I love circus shows but I can be really hard to impress. I was tentatively excited for Heirloom Toys Circus at La Nouvelle Scene – then I saw their two minute bit at Preview Night and now it’s a definite MUST-SEE. Anyone who can stand up from lying down while balancing a full grown adult doing a handstand on them has my attention.
- Interstellar Elder: Badass Grandma in Space at Arts Court Theatre absolutely does not need my help to pack the stands but in case any non-theatre folk have stumbled upon this post, I want to highlight it as a show not to miss. Ingrid Hansen is a wildly imaginative, intensely physical, charming, professional theatre creator who presented a really polished two-minute clip of her show last night. Go see it!
- You know what we don’t see enough of in this city, or probably across Canada in general? Indigenous theatre. Ahead of the 2019 debut of the NAC Indigenous Theatre department, check out Rocko and Nakota: Tales from the Land at ODD Box. I recently finished reading Eden Robinson’s Son of a Trickster and really dug it. I’m looking forward to more sharing of Indigenous stories and culture.
Of course there are a ton of other shows I’m excited to see but Mr. Visitor has beaten me to the punch for many of them. I wanted to recommend shows that might not already be on your radar but in case you missed it, I would second The Visitor’s endorsement of:
- Josephine, a Burlesque Cabaret Dream Play – easily one of the most polished and buzz-worthy shows joining us this year, Tymisha Harris’ singing blew my mind last night. Get your tickets early for this one, I anticipate a sold out best of fest winner.
- #faustus– come for the classics, stay for the “intimidating amount of tech and projection”
- A Brief History of Petty Crime– every year I am eager to hear some of The Visitor’s suggestions as he is more well-travelled on the Fringe circuit than I. This recommendation had me skeptical until Preview Night (I’m telling you, ladies and gents, Preview Night pitches WORK). In Martin Dockery’s absence this year, I will happily take Jimmy Hogg’s frenetic storytelling.
- Agent Madeleine – sure, sure, Nick Amott looks good in a suit. And yes Puja Uppal is talented. But the real star of this show is Terry Thompson as stage manager. (I’m kidding – the real star is history. Look up Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan and tell me that story isn’t perfect for the stage).
Plus… I, Idiot; The Last Spartan; Fool Muun Komming; Faris Who Talks to Rats; Lungs; House Rules; Dating Myself; and SO. MUCH. MORE!
Use #ottfringe on Twitter to let me know what you love this year, if my recommendations were helpful, and when you beat my goal of 30 shows. See you at the Sky Lounge!