one person show

Allan Girod has a captivating physical presence on stage. He is truly mesmerizing. I liked nothing more than watching this six-foot-nine Australian man contort himself into a child, a louche motivational speaker and an asocial perfectionist.

When Harry Met Harry introduces us to a lonely man so isolated even from himself his dreams retell the moment he was abandoned as a boy. (Hats off to the lighting design for the eerie mindscape.)

Girod’s flawless control of his long limbs transformed the stage. He built his characters on the physical movement and shape of their bodies, transforming his own to fit...

Harry

If Charles Dickens were alive he would kiss the thespian Garry Boon for telling his tale. (Please Note: thespian this is not a new quirky sexual orientation.)

No Garry Boon sells as he tells you the story of Doctor Marigold with carefully chosen words tripping from his tongue, modulated for effect.

It is 1864 and Doctor Marigold is not a doctor at all but a cheap jack, a fast talking market seller. Doctor is merely his name.

I got to listen to Charles Dickens lucid prose- the vowels, the consonants, the syllables; the rhythms break over me like waves.  His...

Doctor Marigold: nailing Charles Dickens

Teaching Shakespeare - not a selling title, surely - claims more than 150 performances, which, for all I know, is a Fringe record. The actor (presumably Keir Cutler, credited as 'playwright') lectures to us, as a university Shakespeare class. He is devoted to Shakespeare; his approach is a random, free-association one. He speaks briefly of Titus, Hamlet, a sonnet, of verse forms, biogrpahy and the significance of what is not said. This is more sophisticated than The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged (at the Arts a few years ago); less fun than Shakespeare in Love. He is the instructor as...

Teaching Shakespeare

Powerpoint-utilizing autobiographical storyteller extraordinaire Barry Smith is back with a show that is billed as being about his habit of keeping every record, photo, and scrap of personal information that passes through his life, but is more accurately about his colourful youth spent growing up in backwater Mississippi and southern California.

This show, like his previous offerings, is more casual spoken word than “theatre”,  but is also infinitely more engaging than the average seminar or speech. Structured around the pages of a bizarrely forward looking baby book, Smith’s show is layered with elements of nostalgia, cynicism, and plenty...

Barry Smith.

Alison Lynne Ward delivers an honest, funny one-woman show in ¼ Life Crisis. It’s a lively monologue about the struggles of being twenty-something, single and an artist with too many degrees and no career worth mentioning. The show is revealing, relatable and had the audience falling out of their chairs with laughter. The disappointment was the ending, which was a sadly cliché.

A graduate of both NYU and Randolph Academy, Ward clearly has talent.  ¼ Life Crisis is in its fourth run, and it’s her third self-written play. Her material isn’t original, nor her stage presence exceptional. But she’s...

Alison at the quarter-mark

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.

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