TRAVELTHEATRICS – Winnipeg Fringe 2018

Spent the day away from the Winnipeg Fringe (sacrilege, I know) to take a day trip with the Otter and her clan to visit Gimli. And totally worth it! Gorgeous beach and cool sea wall, giant badass stone viking, neato Icelandic museum, great scenic drive up…fishflies be damned, Gimli is cool. Pretty tasty pickerel too, if you can get a seat at Kris’.

But into all vacations a little work must fall (that’s right, right?) and I find myself with a few spare moments this morning. What better way to fill them than writing about a Fringe show you gotta see? And sure, that’s all of them, but I haven’t SEEN all of them (yet), so I’m just gonna tell you about one for now. And this one is TRAVELTHEATRICS from Keara Barnes, playing over at the grandiose Planetarium, a posh venue indeed. And into the poshness springs Keara, our guide for a theatrical storytelling trip through her memory, as she and her trusty, oversized backpack take us on an hourlong international journey to a half dozen countries, and about as many seminal moments in Keara’s life thus far.

I’m not sure if Keara is wearing this backpack or if it’s wearing her.

Combining Barnes’ twin passions of travelling and Theatre, the show takes us from wee Keara’s visits to her ancestral homes in England and Ireland, where she meets colourful clansfolk and ornery farm animals, all brought engagingly to life by Barnes herself. Then we follow along to Victoria as our heroine enters theatre school, a new steep on her journey and a new passion taking hold. And then there are the more harrowing visits to places like Malaysia and Morocco and Germany, where some of the more sinister elements of travel come into play, and all the while Keara brings a multitude of new characters into the mix, never letting the story lull.

The adventures related range from the whimsical (like 9 year old Keara trying to become a farmer, with decidedly mixed success) to the grotesque (an appalling attempt at sexual assault in a foreign land). It can get uncomfortable at times, but as our guide, Keara’s almost superhuman enthusiasm for her subject matter always shines through with unflappable optimism, leading us to safety. Well okay, it gets flapped from time to time, but that’s part of the adventure, right? She tells her tales with enviable gusto, inviting the audience to get just as excited about them as she clearly is. And there’s plenty to get excited about…Fairies and tigers and ghosts, a particularly grumpy hen…and that’s not the half of it. A splendid storytelling/theatrical adventure, cleverly bookended, and the cheapest world tour you’re ever gonna get. Rather fitting it’s at the planetarium, somehow..! Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R (and Baby G)

PS Check out Keara’s travel blog HERE for more traveltheatric adventures to come!

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