In slacks, shoes, shirt and beret all black, with guitar in lap, Colin Goubout passably looks the part of a gypsy minstrel, posing for Picasso in '30s Paris perhaps. Plus his playing is blazing good, shot through with passion and very brave, taking on as he does the music (and thumbnail bio) of jazz great Django Reinhardt.
Victoria: @LIFE explores the exclusive lives of video gamers in an attempt to create a window into their beyond-messed-up “reality”—you know, being a superhero, saving the world, having big breasts . . . that sort of thing. While the premise is very in-the-now, the play fails to engage the audience and doesn’t live up to its potential.
Victoria: A clown, Our Heroine, has to defend her sexually charged life when she reaches the Pearly Gates in this fun solo show. Vancouver playwright and actress Colette Nichol plays eight absurd characters—including a prude British grandmother, a Johnny Cochrane-style lawyer and God in need of therapy—but her singing voice is also a winning factor here.
Victoria: Pete’s a synopsis writer; Anna’s his apparently feisty intern. An updated copy of Anne Frank lands on Pete’s desk; Pete goes loonier than Bugs Bunny on drugs. Throughout the course of the play Pete (who is not too bright, but seems to be bright enough to give the audience lectures about how great he is) procrastinates against his 50-word blurb, without the faintest idea that he could just Google the book instead of reading it, writing the synopsis and be done.
Victoria: First off, if you want to see a cockroach, a cat, an ant, a hoard of crickets, an army of insects and a dancing, prancing tabby cat with nine lives with different toms, all acted by a scruffy guy in a white-polka dot green shirt, you should go to this show. Second, who really doesn’t want to see a show about a cockroach? The concept is creative genius at its best.
In the style of High School Musical, Back to the 80’s is a same-old-same-old story about an average guy after a cool girl – the exception being that it’s chockfull of pop culture references custom made to fit a playlist of hit songs from the 80’s. If you were around for the side-ponytail, the oh-so-trendy aviator shades, the neon, you’ll enjoy the nostalgia, probably sway in your seat and clap your hands.
Victoria: In the event that Alex Plouffe and Samantha Richard read the reviews here on the Craig, they’ll probably want to know that the seats they chose for their in-audience first scene were the two directly to the left of this very reviewer. The experience comes highly recommended.
Victoria: When a fire tuck, sirens ablaze, pulled up alongside a burlesque venue, the awaiting audience and I figured we were in for something hot. But then reality kicked in; the truck had arrived to aid someone in the townhouses beside the University Canada West venue. And the show? It’s less hot and more edutainment. And that’s okay.
Victoria: Need a way to get hot for the Fringe? Just head on down to the Metro Studio where four sexy performers will weave a musical tale of love, sex, shattered illusions and coming up short in this 75-minute show.
Victoria: Upon entering the theatre, we meet Ms SugarPuss who proffers tickles with a boa feather duster, patting every bald head taking their seat, "I don't have time to kiss everybody!" She tells more than enough sausage jokes for any "hornithologist." Guess how many jelly beans make up the jelly bean outfit worn by Ms Prairie Fire, and the winner takes home a bottle of pinot.
Victoria: The words “marionettes”, “rape” and “substance abuse” in the program description of Collette Suspended set up what could be an hour of perverse, torturous performing. Bizarre puppet orgies . . . dolls with crass mouths and needles in their arms… definitely a clown or two. One could be lead to expect the worst in terms of disconcerting, disturbing theatre.
Victoria: You wouldn’t guess it from its boring, humdrum write-up in the fringe brochure, but Fall Fair is most likely the best show you’re going to see this year. Jayson McDonald, who has been a, if not ‘the’, fringe favourite for the past two years is back and brilliant, playing an assortment of characters all converging on the last open day of the local fair.
Watching From Grandma’s Attic, I wanted to feel nostalgic, as it's not only in old age that we look back on our lives. Barbara Eadie plays Bea, an elderly woman who reminisces and connects with her memories through song.
Victoria: Too late an addition to make it into the hard copy version of The Fringe flyer this last minute replacement show might just be this year's best Fringe success story. After just two shows Rob Gee's Sunday night performance at the Victoria Events Centre was close to capacity, and one suspects the rest of his run will be turning people away at the door. So book your tickets now, get there early, do what (or who) you have to do, but don't miss out on a piece of this Fruitcake.
Victoria: Opening night for Full Blast drew in only a modest crowd (though something lured in Atomic Vaudeville’s Morgan Cranny), but the premise seemed promising. It seemed like something madcap and fun! A real spectacle!
Victoria: Meet Comrade Lavrentti Pavlovich Beria (Dennis Eberts). He appears nowhere in official Soviet history, but that never stopped him from bugging Churchill and Roosevelt’s bedrooms at Yalta. Or from sharing their secrets with Stalin over dinner. Opposite this boisterous intelligence kingpin is Anna (Christine Karpiak), a widowed American sent to interview Beria for the Washington Post. Unless, of course, she’s lying about that . . .
Victoria: There comes a point where most people start to dread their birthdays. For Jackie (Lana Schwarcz), it’s all downhill after 30, a slow downward decay into old age. She diagnoses herself as a “gerontophobic “—one with an intense fear of aging. So, she sets off to conquer this fear . . . by taking a job at a Jewish nursing home in Melbourne.
Victoria: 4 guys, drug addicts who plan to rob a bank, hang around, backs to audience, smoking, watching videos, channelling Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe, King Kong, 'The Birdman of Alcatraz' and Roman Polanski. The fridge at the edge of the stage is the mother of their world, provider of mayo, hot sauce, beer, morphine - also cold, dark refuge from frenetic violent reality and, most dangerously, each other.
Written by Lee MacDougall of Canada, High Life was adopted and adapted by the theatres of Japan. It is Tokyo’s Ryuzanji Company that has delivered back to us this complete, polished and intoxicating theatrical parcel about ex-cons planning the robbery that will, finally, set them free.
Victoria: Having won over last year’s audiences, Nile Séguin comes out of the dartboard nook and onto the stage with a friendly stand-up act about genocide and racism . . . but with surprisingly good taste. History: Deleted Scenes and Extras takes you from Rwanda to Auschwitz with a shudder and a smile.
Victoria: To speak in first person for a moment, I’d like to think I saw Imprint the way most of its audience will: without the knowledge of dance to appreciate it formally or the vocabulary to talk about it accurately. Despite my handicaps, however, Imprint was nothing short of spellbinding.
Victoria: A tale of one woman’s battle with the darkness inside her, In and Out of the Dark is Scoli’s journey to reclaim her joy. Shantelle Simone Laundry acts as the judge, darkness and light in this physical performance piece and her quick and fluid movements keep your eye, but unfortunately not your attention. Her oddball, half-mime, half-clown make-up fizzles into absurdity and the over-acting of particular moments loses any tenderness the play might have had.
Victoria: The only "Improvised Theatre" troupe to perform at this years' Fringe, Rosa Parks Improv hail from Vancouver and have been together for about a year and a half; and it looks like things are starting to jell. The very nature of improv dictates that if you go to a RPI show it's not going to be the same show I've just been to, so reviews are a little tricky.
Rosa Parks: Paul's amorous feelings have been stirred
Victoria: Growing up in Canada, I had many friends who were born here but whose parents were not. My best friend of over 30 years falls into this category. Even with all the time I spent at his house growing up, I didn’t get as clear a picture of what being raised in a home where language and cultural barriers exist as I did when I saw Japanglish.
Why aren’t you in line to see Japanglish right now? Yumi Ogawa’s touching and hilarious one-woman (-girl, -man) show about growing up with language and cultural barriers at home is one of the top performances at this year’s Fringe, and it would be a shame if you missed it.
Victoria: Don't let the words "Performance Poetry" frighten you away from seeing Jem Rolls' one man tour de farce. Imagine, instead, a mythical hybrid of John Cleese and Eminem spewing out a rap line of observational humour with such speed and verbal dexterity that it'll make your head spin.
Victoria: Anyone who’s attended a show at the Fringe this year has seen Jem Rolls—if not on stage, then out on the street, spreading the good news of his own show. But he isn’t the only one talking about his best of performance, Leastest Flops—everybody seems to love it. His out-of-the-way venue boasted the longest line-up I’ve seen yet this Fringe. Maybe it’s because of the buzz, or maybe it’s because everyone felt personally invited to be there.
Victoria: If you’ve heard one too many politic stabs, or taken in an ounce too much of obscurity this Fringe, then stay out just a little bit later and go meet Lavignia. Vancouver’s Tara Travis plays the entire playful cast in this storybook adventure directed by Ryan Gladstone, but she simply sparkles as the eight-year-old giantess.