Monthly Archives: June 2012

Postcards from the 2012 Fringe Part 3

The Fringe festival closes today. Congratulations to all the volunteers, artists, and organizers for making it such a success! For those of you who still want to catch a show, it’s not too late. Along with the regularly scheduled shows, at 9:00 p.m. tonight there will be a bonus show for the productions that sold the most tickets during the first four days of the festival. Here’s a link to this years Best in Fest winners!

Of the winners, I particularly enjoyed Wanderlust by Martin Dockery.  Dockery is a compelling story-teller who tells tales from his travels in West Africa. It’s funny, energetic and intelligent. Well worth seeing.

I was also very impressed with Vernus says SURPRISE created by Ken Godmere. Choreographed to a soundscape, Godmere plays an octogenarian in search of a gift for his granddaughter. Godmere’s timing is impeccable. Vernus is unquestionably a technically well executed production.

Yesterday, I finally got around to seeing Hip-Hop Shakespeare by Melanie Karin, David Benedict Brown. I’m glad I went. Both Karin and Brown  know their hip-hop and their Shakespeare very well. If you are into either check this one out today at 4:30 p.m. or when it goes on tour!

Tonight is your last chance to catch some shows! Make it happen!

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Postcards from the 2012 Fringe Part 2

It happens every year at the Ottawa Fringe Festival, for many reasons some shows fall below the radar and are not as talked about as much as others early on. Usually by this point (with 3 days left to go), word has gotten out that these productions are very much worth seeing.

Here are a few of these below the radar shows:

White Noise: Created by Margaret Evraire and Christina Bryson, tells the story of Nadia Kajouji, a Carleton University student who committed suicide in 2008. The play is largely a movement piece and recounts the last days of Nadia’s life. Originally I was going to give this production a pass.  Plays based on relatively recent true life events can be very challenging to handle with appropriate sensitivity.  The buzz in the beer tent, however, was positive so I decided to go. I’m glad I did. After the performance ended, the audience (myself included) was very slow to get up and leave the theatre; obviously very moved by the play. I was also very impressed by the sophisticated staging and sound design. Make sure you see this one!

White Noise (photo courtesy of the Ottawa Fringe Festival)

Gametes and Gonads:  This one man show created, by Jeff Laird, is a high energy whirlwind of a show in which he takes on a multitude of characters (seriously there are like a couple million sperm alone!). Laird skillfully handles all these roles and the show never loses its coherence. Gametes and Gonads is billed as Star Wars meets your genitals. It’s clever and fun. The last show is at 11:00 p.m on Saturday (June 23). Go see it!

Trashman’s Dilemma: Set in a dystopian future this play by (Bruce Gooch) delves into complicated themes revolving around language. Can agency/freedom exist without the words to express it? As an interesting twist the three member cast rotate the roles for each performance. The last chance to catch this show is 3:00 p.m. on Saturday (June 23)!

There are only three days left in the festival! If you haven’t done so already, buy a fringe pin ($3) and check out a play(s) for ($10/ticket).

2012 Postcards From the Fringe Part 1

The 2012 Fringe festival is well under way. This is definitely my favourite festival of the year.  It’s a chance to see some great theatre, dance, and story telling at a bargain price. It’s also an opportunity to meet new friends, catch up with old ones, and drink plenty of beer outside under the open sky! What could be better?

This year, I intend to see approximately 30 shows and I will tell you about  my adventures over a series of three articles featuring brief postcard reviews.

At Fringe, I spend a lot of time in the beer tent and this year is no exception.  As a reviewer, I get asked this question a lot: “What are your top picks for the festival so far?”

While I haven’t seen everything yet (I’ve attended 11 shows so far), here are two must see shows:

  1. Little Orange ManThis is a brilliantly whimsical one woman show, created by Ingrid Hansen and Kathleen Greenfield. It’s about Kitt, a high energy 12 year old girl who likes to recount folk tales told by her Danish grandfather. Kitt uses puppets in variety of different forms, some of them are even made out of her lunch, to tell her stories. It’s a really special show. Go see it! I recommend getting there early and sitting as close to the front as you can since the sight lines in her venue, St. Paul’s Eastern United Church, aren’t the best.

Ingrid Hansen in Little Orange Man (photo courtesy of SNAFU dance)

  1. Heterollectual: Love and Other Dumb Ideas– This is a contemporary dance piece by an emerging Toronto dance company (Pollux Dance). Artistic Director Leslie Glen describes her show this way “It makes fun of love; it exposes sadness; it impersonates the irrational ways in which human beings behave.” It’s a special treat to be be able to see such a talented group of dancers for $10. I was impressed by this company’s athletic ability, grace, and skill.

Photo courtesy of Pollux Dance

Another show I really enjoyed, but that won’t have as broad appeal as the two shows mentioned previously, Is Garkin productions’ Lonely Bear Written by Ray Besharah, this one is dark, quirky, with a sense of humour. Smart, sharp, eccentric writing. Very much worth seeing.

So there are three shows to get you started. Check out ottawafringe.com to read about the rest of the shows featured in this year’s festival.