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:
- Little Orange Man– This 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.
- 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.
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.