uno fest

The UNO festival, by it's very nature, has its limitations; there are only two venues, and no production has more than three shows. Some shows deserve both a larger venue, and a longer run, if only to accommodate the number of people who want to see them.

Case in point is Cariboo Buckaroo, which sold out its second show, and will, no doubt, sell out it's third, and final, show (Saturday May 29) at the Intrepid Theatre Club. Ideally Buckaroo should have been given room to breathe in UNO's other venue, The Metro, rather than Intrepid's cramped...

Matthew Payne

This Cake is Sweet

One of the best things about both the UNO Fest (currently on at the moment) and the Victoria Fringe Festival is that it allows room for both the seasoned pros, and the up-and-comers.

Case in point, Jen Wilcox's Cakewalk is her first full length solo piece, and on her debut night Wilcox sold out The Intrepid Theatre Club. It's great to see such support for local talent.

Cakewalk tells the tale of a twelve-year-old girl's attempt to highjack a school Spring Fair and turn it into her own carnival of...

Jen Wilcox

Borrowing a scene from Superman, Chris Gibbs in Like Father, Like Son? Sorry (on now in Victoria as part of the Uno Fest) sweeps onstage with the plastic baby that would grow up to be Christopher Reeve. From here, he slides out of his robe and into a long reflection on his own fitness as a father. He then quickly adjusts the baby’s head so that it’s flat, unblinking, empty, lifeless, soullessly accusing blue eyes bore through the being of some unfortunate man in the front row. Gibbs is not one to let sincerity smother comedy for long....

Chris Gibbs and Gibbs Junior

Oldies play. Onstage is a plywood Toxbox which seems to have grown a skullet of red yarn. Following one of these threads onstage is redheaded sixth-grader Nicholas. Redheaded Stepchild begins (as part of this year's Uno Fest).

Things progress slowly but deliberately from here. Nicholas and the class bully have an ambiguously gay moment alone in the locker room (pube color is inquired about) and nobody is available to help the spazzy Nicholas when his nemeses announce and coordinate an attack with Facebook. Nicholas’ sniggering stepmother Maryanne sends him off to school anyway with a reminder that...

Johnnie Walker is redheaded and he wants you to know about it

If you kept your ears open around last year’s Fringe festivals, you probably picked up a shred of conversation or two about Chris Gibbs in The Power of Ignorance which is back in Victoria for a return engagement at the Uno Fest. Gibbs plays idiot-savant motivational speaker Vaguen – here to teach you (!) no less than nineteen (!) ways your ignorance (?) can save and better your daily life.

From the first line Vaguen is a send-up of the charismatic, self-help gurus, armed with a sharp suit, jargon and pop-pseudoscience – all that’s missing is the...

Chris Gibbs in tune with his inner ig.

Choice Words: Secrets and Truths is unusual among this year’s Uno Fest shows. Instead of a single actor and their trusty technician, it offers the audience a pack of professional storytellers, folklorists, fairytale spinners and traditionally styled musicians (and their trusty technician). It’s a taste of oral traditions that does a good job cleansing your theatrical palate after a week of “first-person” actors.

The show’s subtitle provided its storytellers with their themes, but just as noticeable was the scent of magic in the air. Shape-shifting cranes wove luxurious coats from their own feathers, sleepless sea people offer...

Choice Words

Grandma Noda’s Tigers, currently on as part of Victoria's Uno Fest, is one of those special little shows where everything seems to work supernaturally well. Never before have I seen a house so full on a pay-what-you-can opening night. Actor/writer Chris Little (who co-wrote the show from his wife Regina Fitzgerald’s first draft) seemed pleased with this, too – and quite deservedly.

The “family friendly” label is accurate, but it also might be selling the show short. If you’re out renting movies, “family friendly” usually signals something thematically harmless, perpetually upbeat and wholly uninteresting for anyone twelve...

Christopher Little

You know that when a show starts with the performer drinking her own urine and chewing on tin foil that you're going to be in for a bit of a ride.

Mind you she did offer audience members powdered mini-donuts and shots of Jack Daniels before the show even began.

It must be J. McLaughlin.

Never Again is the "final transmission" - the fourth part of a trilogy (yes, yes, I know) that has seen McLaughlin spill her guts (and other bodily fluids) over the years at Victoria's Uno Fest.

She was in fine audience-manipulation...

J McLauglin, never again

It may be hard to believe, but that little guy wearing the checkered cook pants, white shoes, yellow shirt, black vest and white bow tie, playing the accordion, and rockin' the "jewfro" is one of Canada's most sadly underrated singer- songwriters.

Very much playing the jester in his one man show Actionable (currently on stage as part of Victoria's Uno Fest) Bob Wiseman speaks the truth behind a facade of laughter.

Ron Sexsmith called him "Canada's Tom Waits", but Wiseman is more like a Bizarrro Ron Sexsmith. The comparisons are twisted, but obvious.

Actionable is a...

Bob Wiseman in Actionable

It’s always a treat when adults and children alike can find joy in a live theatrical production, and Grandma Noda’s Tigers certainly delivers with this inventive and delightful piece of theatre currently on as part of the Uno Festival.

This is the story of a Japanese businessman who dreams of expanding his empire - but his grandmother stands in the way. The play is told using puppets made of found objects…a method referred to (fittingly) as Found Object Puppetry, and it is quite an innovative way to express this memorable tale.

Performed and co-written by Chris...

Christopher Little do his grandma thing