2009

This cutesy dating piece from Fool Productions offers the lamentations and joys of the male/female relationship in the context of 20 something dating.

Although writer/star Sarah Swift offers up a charming performance as the bubbly cynic, Jane, and some very endearing moments script-wise, the piece is marred by a sense of “been there seen that already” - not at all helped by co-star Martin Chodorek who starts strong in two brief roles as barfly douchebags, but whose principle performance is as exciting as cream of wheat. It’s a sweet and slightly schmaltzy piece, but offers the same guilty pleasure as...

romantic coupling

Episode One? These damn kids from Edmonton are bound to disappoint many a Fringer with a polished, engaging, skillfully acted, and sharply written show that only unveils the first third of their epic World War 2 trilogy.

The story centers on Jack, a rural Canadian kid who, after being bitten by the flying bug at an early age, enlists in the RCAF just in time to fight in the skies over Europe. It’s an experience that sees him grow both as a pilot and a man, forcing him to confront the death of friends, face his own mortality, and accept...

Spiral Dive: part one of three...

Toronto alt-comedian Winston Spear’s performance piece features him and two associates fooling around (carefully choreographed fooling that is) with flashing toys and gadgets of every ilk to the constant accompaniment of techno beats.

There’s no moral lesson, no political message, no story, no theme, just three men, oodles of cool lighting effects, some bubbles, a flying saucer, a robot dog, and plenty of imagination. It’s not up to the standard of “ooh-ahh” material like Blue Man Group or Cirque du Soleil, but as far as Fringe shows are concerned, it’s most definitely a unique and psychedelic experience - even if...

Boys with Toys

It’s a wonderful experience to walk out of a theatre with a big smile plastered across your face. It doesn’t happen often enough, but the rarity makes you really appreciate the gems that achieve it, and *Just East of Broadway* is one such example.

With high energy, catchy songs and a cast that are obviously enjoying themselves every step of the way, it hits the perfect tone for slapstick musical theatre that I haven’t seen since _Evil Dead: The Musical_.

The story follows Rex Maverick, a washed up, egotistical Broadway actor who finds himself transported to a rural village in...

This way to just east of Broadway

People in their mid-twenties have been experiencing existential dilemmas since time immemorial, but the recent coining of the term ‘Quarterlife Crisis’ has suddenly brought a new surge of theatrical material on the subject. *QuarterLife: The Musical* is one of several such offerings at this year’s Fringe, cataloging the woes and quandaries of five twentysomething New Yorkers trying to sort out their lives.

It may be naïve, but I tend to approach anything that puts :the Musical in the title expecting jauntiness and irony, so I was caught a bit off guard by the earnestness of this performance.

Quarterlife doesn’t offer...

Plank Magazine (well, Andrew at any rate) is astonished to learn that there is something called quarter-life crisis

Written and directed by Aurora Stewart de Pena, this series of short scenes involving manners-obsessed young women frocked in pastel coloured summer dresses and seemingly on the verge of emotional meltdowns, creates a world unto itself.

Elaborate segues featuring midi-versions of pop songs and plain cardboard cutout props help to create a distinct style that is equal parts David Lynch and Stepford Wives. Some scenes land better laughs than others, but ultimately the magic is in watching the stories (which feature characters with names such as Rotunda and Effervescence)slowly intertwine and build to a head. Strange and delightful stuff.

_36...

Girls and cardboard

In the classic Greek play *Lysistrata*, the heroine convinces the women of the ancient Greek isles to conduct a sex strike against their husbands and lovers in order to bring a halt to the constant and debilitating wars plaguing the Mediterranean region. With this production, it is re-imagined by Eyewitness Theatre Company from the UK as a kind of bawdy pantomime in verse with double entendres and penis jokes aplenty.

The performers all put their capable comedic chops to good use, especially when singing new lyrics to the familiar melodies of the “Norse God” ABBA. A serious aside late in...

Not striking women but actually trojan women: make life easier for Plank editors have photos!

This one woman show (or one man show depending on whether you are speaking about performer Rachelle Elie or her alter-ego Joe) is a indistinct, aimless hour framed around the premise of an open call audition for a production of Macbeth.

Joe, who is best described as a three way cross between a tacky vaudevillian, a hillbilly, and a Newfie, dreams of landing the starring role in the Scottish play and with the help of the audience, spends 60 minutes doing his darndest to convince the director he’s the right man for the job. Both the character and the show...

Rachelle Elie is Joe

Between the title *My Mother's Lesbian Jewish-Wiccan Wedding*, and the Fringe’s history of generating contrived and off-the-wall musicals, you would never suspect that this show is based on a real life story.

Even more of a pleasant surprise is that a tender, loving, and entertaining tale is contained within. The story of David Hein’s mother’s relocation to Ontario and her subsequent discovery of her true sexual orientation is delivered in part through Hein’s songs which are fun and hummable, but exude the maturity of a well seasoned songwriter. It would have been easy for a show with such potential for...

It's hard to find photos of Jewish Wiccan weddings

Based on the internet phenomenon, PostSecret.com, *The Keeper’s Secret* by Katie Alguire recounts the tale of Elli, a young teenager who becomes hooked on heroine, harming herself and to a more tragic extent, those closest to her. It is when Darren, a virtual stranger, enters her life claiming that he shares the same secret, that Elli is forced to confront herself.

It’s a solid concept on paper, but unfortunately a plodding script filled with a disproportionate amount of sobbing takes away from the experience. Emotionally raw performances from the cast, and simple but natural direction help temper the flaws, but...

Eli has a secret

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