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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.