Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Winnipeg Fringe Envy or Stuff I'd Be Seeing If I Were There...

The Toronto Fringe is now done for another year.  I ended my festival as I traditionally do, seeing the winner of the 24 hour playwrighting contest and then heading off to the beer tent to say good-bye to my friends who are heading down the road to other festivals or back home.

The pre-show line-up chats  this weekend were almost as entertaining as the plays themselves.  The week ended well.

Sadly I'm not heading down the road to Winnipeg.  If I was back home this week, I'd be trying to see the following shows:

Stuff I've seen here or elsewhere and would recommend:

OF MICE AND MORRO AND JASP:  just brilliant, a favourite show of last week
JEM ROLLS :10 STARTS AND AN END:  great performance poetry from a master wordsmith
TJ Dawe in MEDICINE: TJ at his most personal, moving and thought-provoking.
THE BALLAD OF HERBIE COX directed by Jonno Katz, which got great buzz here and deserved better houses.
THE FIRST CANADIAN PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES for its smart script and fine performance by Priscilla Yakelaishek.
ELLAMENTARY was a light, feel-good musical, perfect for teen-aged girls.
LAVINIA was in Winnipeg a few years back features the wonderful Tara Travis and works for kids and grown-ups alike.
TEMPLE OF KHAOS:  comedic mayhem and political satire.  Fun.

Stuff I haven't seen with performers or writers whose work I know and like:

7 WAYS TO DIE:  a mask-work show written by Workshop West GM and darn talented Keltie Brown ( daughter of Ken Brown)
THE ADVERSARY:  Andrew Bailey writes and performs and if his last show LIMBO was any indication this will be moving and smart.
THE BIRDMANN:  we met in Victoria last year. Trevor does a show combining magic, comedy and physical theatre like no other.
BREAKING RANK:  Howard was in Victoria with his true story about fighting the US military post-Vietnam. It's a great story well worth hearing.
FOOLS FOR LOVE:  I saw Rocket and Sheshells at the Toronto Clown Festival and adored them. Battle of the sexes at its charming and ridiculous best.
HUFF:  I saw a version of this script back in the fall and was very impressed with Cliff Cardinal's writing and acting.  A powerful, darkly humorous and disturbing story.  He was picked for SUMMERWORKS here, a hotly contested juried festival which bodes well.
KUWAITI MOONSHINE:  Tim Murphy is telling a true story and he is a charming and engaging writer and story-teller.
LITTLE ORANGE MEN:  I've sadly managed to miss this show in both Victoria and Ottawa.  She sold out in Victoria and had great buzz in Ottawa.  It looks great.
LULU:  a wonderful cast of Winnipeg actors including Andrew Cecon and Claire Therese tackle a great 19th century classic. Good play, good actors:  how can you go wrong?
MINDING DAD:  Ken Brown (SPIRAL DIVE) and Jon Patterson (HOUSE, among others) are doing Ken's play about a father-son relationship and how that relationship is affected by Altzheimer's.  Sure to be one of the highlights of the week.
MORE POWER TO YOUR KNITTING NELL:  Melanie Gall has a fabulous voice and this is a  show to take your mom to during the Fringe, featuring songs from WWII and knitting! She had buzz in Ottawa.
NE ME QUITTE PAS:  Bremner Dulthie and Melanie Gall do the rep of Piaf and Brel.  They both have international careers as performers for good reason.  Bremner was one of my fave things in Ottawa last year.
PETE AND CHRIS:  they killed in Toronto and Victoria, they have made me laugh hard in the past and I like their style of comedy.
SHELBY BOND:  THE POOR MAN'S GUIDE TO BEING RICH:  Sound and Fury alumnae Bond can do no wrong on stage. This will be charming and funny.
STRETCH MARKS: two of the crew I did BREAST FRIENDS with ( Kim Zeglinski and Heather Witherdon) are joined by some other moms in a comedy about sex after children. Looks fun!
SOUND AND FURY: DIRTY FAIRY TALES:  Richard Maritzer and friends are cheeky, naughty, irreverent and hilarious.
TEACHING HAMLET:  Keir Cutler will give you an English class you won't soon forget.  Always love him for his dark, smart, passionate stories and well researched scripts.
TIL DEATH DO WE PART:  Ryan Gladstone takes on the Six Wives of Henry VIII.  This will be funny, physical and informative.
THE TOURING TEST:  talented Winnipegers Scott Douglas and Ross MacMillan are headed into the future.  I'd love to go too.

THIS TOWN:  Carol Lee and Jonathan had a big hit in Edmonton last year and this is a good script.

THE WATER IS WIDE:  Randy Rutherford sings beautifully and is a consummate story-teller. This will be wonderful, I'm sure.
WINGS OF DARKNESS:  Columpa Bobb, a fine actor, writer, comedian and theatre teacher wrote this and I'd love to check it out.
UNDERBELLY:  Jayson (GIANT INVISIBLE ROBOT) MacDonald brings a new show to Winnipeg.  Jayson really connects with audiences and I've liked all his other work.
VERRSUS SAYS SURPRISE:  Ottawa audiences loved this show, including my friends Brian Carroll and Barb Popel.  Another show you can take your mom to about slowing down in a faster and faster world.

Between this, the outdoor stage, street performances, beer tent food, libation and gossip and your own random discoveries of new talents form Winnipeg's great pool of actors and writers and new people from away you should easily be busy for the rest of the week. Have a blast!  I'll look forward to hearing about your adventures in Fringing at Winnipeg's 25th fringe.


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