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4 weeks ago

Cincinnati Fringe Festival

FRINGE to FRINGE
Entry #7
from Chris Wesselman

(Hooray! I'm back at a computer and can type quickly with proper formatting!)

Monday was my final day of Fringing up in Edmonton and it only proved to solidify all the love and respect that's been welling up inside me since I arrived. I can't thank everyone at Edmonton Fringe Theatre enough - especially Murray Utas, Brooke Leifso, Sammy Lowe, and Beth Dart - for all the hard work and dedication to make their festival welcoming, easy to navigate, and immensely thrilling. Keep your trips to Scotland...I think I've found the heart and soul of what Fringe is about right here in the Western Hemisphere.

Five final shows and some additional experiences filled my schedule. Let's take a look!

Jon Bennett: My Dad's Deaths (A Comedy)
Two shows by the same artist on such a short trip might seem a little repetitive, but there's little similarity between this production and the bizarrely irregular It's Rabbit Night!, which I caught last Saturday. Bennett's sharp-tongue and quick wit are displayed in both, but what My Dad's Deaths brings with it is an immense amount of heart and touching commentary on parental relationships. It's still a laugh-a-minute experience with moments that might leave you scratching your head, but it grabs you in ways Rabbit Night can't and allows you a bit more connection with the artist, which always helps leave a lasting impression. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Zack Adams: Love Songs For Future Girl - Edmonton Fringe 2019
Adams originally presented this show at Edmonton Fringe 10 years ago and now he's returned with a revamped version. It's an incredibly fun show full of twisted covers and giggle-worthy originals that aid in sharing his story of loves won and loves lost. Throw in an absolutely genius bit surrounding Adams having to tune his guitar and you see why the show and artist were such a hit originally. You never lose a second of time during this production, unless you're too busy laughing to catch the next joke. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

~Staff Meeting~
At 4:00PM the dozen plus core members of the Fringe team gathered in the offices and I was fortunate to sit in and listen to them debrief and plan. While I obviously don't know about all the terrible secrets they all harbor and may finally own up to on their death beds, everyone seemed really really nice! 😀

Colin Mochrie & Friends at the Edmonton Fringe
It came as a delightful surprise to me when I found out this improv comedy legend would be part of a show at the Festival, and an even bigger surprise when I found out there were still tickets available. It was surreal for me, having grown up on Who's Line..., and I was treated to a great show full of top-notch improvisers joining him - including the always delightful Amber Nash! I darn near missed this one due to a confused Uber driver and I'm glad I didn't. It was a cherry on top of the whipped cream on top of a cherry on the sundae of my trip. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

~Shop Talk~
I had time before my next show, so I scheduled some one-on-one time with the Festival Director, Murray, to talk shop. I gave him a prompt and let him roll on his beliefs about what's at the heart and soul of Fringe, and then sat back and soaked up the thoughts and feelings. It was a period full of confirmations and realizations and I'm lucky to have stolen the time I was able from a VERY busy individual.

St Kilda a Scottish Horror Foley Excursion at Edmonton Fringe from Jody Christopherson
The final show added to my schedule, I am so, so, so, so, SO happy I took the suggestions offered to check this one out. Mysteriously and minimally illuminated, Christopherson commands a two-mic sound system with a looper pedal and a station of eerie foley effects to SPOOK THE SHIT OUT OF YOU with a tale of horror and dark magic that transports you across the Atlantic and keeps you on the edge of your seat. It's an absolutely impressive feat that you have to witness to appreciate. Apparently this was Christopherson's FIRST FRINGE, too. Coulda fooled me...thought you'd been doing this for years. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Art of Astonishment at Edmonton Fringe from Keith Brown
I'm a sucker for a good magic trick. I liked them when I was a kid and now that I'm a rational, logical, and perceptive human being I like them even MORE. Why? Because even when you know or think you know how a trick is done, it's still so exciting when you see someone execute with perfection. That being said, I don't know how Brown did ANYTHING so I was, happily, completely astonished, as the title suggested I might be. I was especially tickled by not only getting to participate by choosing a trick to be done, but I also got to go up on stage for another! Gradeschool Chris is very jealous of me right now. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

~Steel Wheels Rock & Roll Pizzeria~
I'd stopped by this dive-y spot around the corner from Festival grounds a couple nights before, but not for long. A joint covered floor to ceiling in graffiti from visitors, Steel Wheels is the place to go if you're looking to spot Fringe artists in their natural habitat. I got to end my trip kicking back some Molson Canadian Lager and chatting it up with some of the artists I'd friended along the way. A perfect ending to a perfect trip. PLUS, they have a machine in the kitchen that assembles molecules into something that somewhat resembles the idea of pizza! You'll never enjoy pizza more than after you try something that isn't pizza. 🍕🍻🍕🍻🍕

--

I'll have one final post tomorrow wrapping up this short-lived blog and sharing a bunch of video I took along the way. Stay tuned!
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FRINGE to FRINGE
Entry #6
from Chris Wesselman

I simply can't stop conveying how welcoming and inspiring everyone in Edmonton has been. (I'd be lying if I said I haven't been tempted to just stay here and claim asylum. 😂 ((Don't worry, Courtnie, I'll send for you! ❤️))) I'm very sad to be entering my final day of Fringing here and hope I'm able to make it back across the border in the future. I'm going to treasure this trip for a very, very long time.

How was my day yesterday? Thank you for asking!

~Brunch with Fringe Producers~
I'd been in communication with Edmonton Fringe's Artistic Director, Murray Utas, since my trip was finalized in June and I had expressed my interest in opportunities to peek behind the curtain while I was here. Yesterday morning I was incredibly fortunate to have brunch with not only Murray but the Executive and Artistic Director of Festival St-Ambroise Fringe de Montréal (Montreal Fringe), Amy Blackmore, the Executive Producer of the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, Chuck McEwen, and Orlando Fringe producers Lindsay Taylor and Michael Marinaccio. As we consumed cup after cup of coffee and savored Meat's delicious offerings, I focused mainly on listening as most topics of conversation floated around items on which I have no bearings (APPARENTLY, these CAFF folk have built an artificial intelligence android named "Eventotron" to handle their ticketing needs? ...maybe I misheard something...) but I loved the experience of just being in the room with these fellow vanguards and the opportunity to establish new Fringelationships. I too often find myself locked up alone in my little Cincy Fringe room and it's a breath of fresh air to break out and connect with others who share the same passions, responsibilities, and anxieties as I do. If nothing else, this trip as ingrained in me how important it is that I continue to find opportunities to visit more Fringe Festivals (so, I guess, expect even more Go Fund Me's in the future. 😁) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Field Zoology 101 at the Edmonton Fringe Festival from Shawn O'Hara
While there's no shame in a comedian or performer who cracks a smile or laughs at themselves along with you, I always seem to let out the truest of belly laughs when faced with a performer whose seriousness makes the absurdity of what they are saying or doing all the more pronounced. As Brad Gooseberry, a Field Zoologist and our professor for this lecture, O'Hara's commitment and stone faced, deadpan delivery of wildly inaccurate tips, tricks, and information regarding all matter of fauna had me nearly rolling in the aisle. Aided by crudely drawn overhead projections, a fake moustache, and a sweet pair of cargo shorts, Gooseberry is the epitome of 'foolhardy' and gives us every opportunity to giggle and guffaw at his confident ignorance. Especially delightful was the show-ending Q&A segment, which climaxed with a demonstration of an emu mating dance that, if not inspired by previous choices at performances, was an amazing bit of perfectly timed improvisation. Also, fuck Botanists. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

~THAT TIME I FUCKED UP~
This is the slot where I'm supposed to tell you how much I enjoyed Lil Theatre Company's
The Lightweight at Edmonton Fringe! ...but instead I have to release a sigh and own up to the fact that I misremembered the start time as 4:30 instead of 4:00 and ended up 12 minutes too late to get in. ☹️ THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGA--oh who am I kidding...
Zero stars for me.

THREE at Edmonton Fringe from Bossy Flyer
(WARNING TO joe mocks: THIS WAS A DANCE/PHYSICAL THESTRE SHOW, SKIP AHEAD DUE TO LACK OF INTEREST)
While SOME PEOPLE don't seem to enjoy dance/physical theatrd performances (😁), they tend to be among the first shows I seek out because, well, I don't get to see a lot and tend to always enjoy them when I do. THREE was no exception. For an hour this California-based trio deftly filled the stage with movement and acrobatics, chock-full of impressive and unique weight-sharing maneuvers. Not to be outdone, each of these performers also displayed impressive acting chops as sequences and segments took us on a journey of emotions and human connection for these individuals seemingly trapped on stage, forced to interact with each other. It was just as enthralling watching the subtle changes in facial expressions and body language as it was watching these movement experts share their craft. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Juliet: A Revenge Comedy at the Edmonton Fringe Festival 2019 from Monster Theatre
What if Shakespeare's most notable female characters were able to become self-aware, travel between each other's plays, and fight back against the cruel fates dictated them by their creator? And what if that story is told by a bad ass trio lead by two actresses, one of whom engages Beast Mode and simultaneously, masterfully plays up to 4 characters at the same time? The answer is that you get a rip-roaring experience that never slows down and never stops poking fun at the Bard. I had such a great time watching. The impeccable comedic timing and clever concepts of this production could keep it afloat in even the mightiest of Prospero's storms. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Late Night Cabaret from Fringe Theatre Adventures, Catch the Keys Productions, and Rapid Fire Theatre
After my final proper show of the day, I bounced over to the Backstage Theatre for an installment of the nightly Late Night Cabaret, which is similar in function to Cincy Fringe's Bar Series, but on various types of performance enhancing drugs AND a MUCH bigger budget; they've got two video screens, a killer house band (Ze Punterz) and hosts who maaaaybe rival the CFHHANU team. 😉

While the Cabaret doesn't start till midnight, I had arranged to be present during final pre-show preparations to get a sense of how it comes together. It's amazing how talented the team working this event is. It's a LEGIT production and what I observed things ran like clockwork as they finalized sound, lighting, and projections for the 90 minute event. Also fun to watch was the "writer's table" of festival artists coming up with jokes and one-liners for the Cabaret hosts to read.

Thanks to Beth, AJ, Paul, and everyone else for being so welcoming and for chatting with me!

-

I'm in the middle of my last round of shows and meet-ups, so that's all for now! Tune in tomorrow for my second-to-last post!
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4 weeks ago

Cincinnati Fringe Festival

FRINGE to FRINGE
Entry #6
from Chris Wesselman

I simply can't stop conveying how welcoming and inspiring everyone in Edmonton has been. (I'd be lying if I said I haven't been tempted to just stay here and claim asylum. 😂 ((Don't worry, Courtnie, I'll send for you. ❤️))) I'm very sad to be entering my final day of Fringing here and hope I'm able to make it back across the border in the near future. I've met so many incredible artists and staff members and volunteers and Edmontonians. I'm going to treasure this trip for a very, very long time.

How was my day yesterday? Thank you for asking!

~Brunch with Fringe Producers~
I'd been in communication with Edmonton Fringe's Artistic Director, Murray Utas, since my trip was finalized in June and I had expressed to him my interest in opportunities to peek behind the curtain while I was here. Yesterday morning I was incredibly fortunate to have brunch with not only Murray but the Executive and Artistic Director of Festival St-Ambroise Fringe de Montréal (Montreal Fringe), Amy Blackmore, the Executive Producer of the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, Chuck McEwen, and Orlando Fringe producers Lindsay Taylor and Michael Marinaccio. As we consumed cup after cup of coffee and savored Meat's delicious offerings, I focused mainly on listening as most topics of conversation floated around items on which I have no bearings (APPARENTLY, these CAFF folk have built an artificial intelligence android named "Eventotron" to handle their ticketing needs? Maybe I misheard something...) but I loved the experience of just being in the room with these fellow vanguards and the opportunity to establish new Fringelationships. I too often find myself locked up alone in my little Cincy Fringe room and it's a breath of fresh air to break out and connect with others who share the same passions, responsibilities, and anxieties as I do. If nothing else, this trip as ingrained in me how important it is that I continue to find opportunities to visit more Fringe Festivals (so, I guess, expect even more Go Fund Me's in the future. 😁) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Field Zoology 101 at the Edmonton Fringe Festival from Shawn O'Hara
While there's no shame in a comedian or performer who cracks a smile or laughs at themselves along with you (to an extent, JIMMY FALLON), I always seem to let out the truest of belly laughs when faced with a performer whose seriousness makes the absurdity of what they are saying or doing all the more pronounced. As Brad Gooseberry, a Field Zoologist and our professor for this lecture, O'Hara's commitment and stone faced, deadpan delivery of wildly inaccurate tips, tricks, and information regarding all manner of fauna had me nearly rolling in the aisle. Aided by crudely drawn overhead projections, a fake moustache, and a sweet pair of cargo shorts, Gooseberry is the epitome of 'foolhardy' and gives us every opportunity to giggle and guffaw at his confident ignorance. Especially delightful was the show-ending Q&A segment, which climaxed with a demonstration of an emu mating dance that, if not inspired by previous choices at performances, was an amazing bit of perfectly timed improvisation. Also, fuck Botanists. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

~THAT TIME I FUCKED UP~
This is the slot where I'm supposed to tell you how much I enjoyed Lil Theatre Company's The Lightweight at Edmonton Fringe! ...but instead I have to release a *sigh* and own up to the fact that I misremembered the start time as 4:30 instead of 4:00 and ended up 12 minutes too late to get in. ☹️ THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGA-oh who am I kidding...
Zero stars for me.

THREE at Edmonton Fringe from Bossy Flyer
(WARNING TO joe mocks: THIS WAS A DANCE/PHYSICAL THESTRE SHOW, SKIP AHEAD DUE TO LACK OF INTEREST)
While SOME PEOPLE don't seem to enjoy dance/physical theatre performances (😁), they tend to be among the first shows I seek out because, well, I don't get to see a lot and tend to always enjoy them when I do! THREE was no exception. For an hour this California-based trio deftly filled the stage with movement and acrobatics, chock-full of impressive and unique weight-sharing maneuvers. Not to be outdone, each of these performers also displayed impressive acting chops as sequences and segments took us on a journey of emotions and human connection for these individuals seemingly trapped on stage, forced to interact with each other. It was just as enthralling watching the subtle changes in facial expressions and body language as it was watching these movement experts display their craft. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Juliet: A Revenge Comedy at the Edmonton Fringe Festival 2019 from Monster Theatre
What if Shakespeare's most notable female characters were able to become self-aware, travel between each other's plays, and fight back against the cruel fates dictated them by their creator? And what if that story is told by a bad ass trio lead by two actresses, one of whom engages Beast Mode and simultaneously, masterfully plays up to 4 characters at the same time? The answer is that you get a rip-roaring experience that never slows down and never stops poking fun at the Bard. I had such a great time watching. The impeccable comedic timing and clever concepts of this production could keep it afloat in even the mightiest of Prospero's storms. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Late Night Cabaret from Fringe Theatre Adventures, Catch the Keys Productions, and Rapid Fire Theatre
After my final proper show of the day, I bounced over to the Backstage Theatre for an installment of the Late Night Cabaret, which is similar in function to Cincy Fringe's Bar Series, but on various types of performance enhancing drugs and a MUCH bigger budget; they've got two video screens, a killer house band (Ze Punterz) and hosts who maaaaybe rival the CFHHANU team. 😉

While the Cabaret doesn't start till midnight, I had arranged to be present during final pre-show preparations to get a sense of how it comes together. It's amazing how talented the team working this event is. It's a LEGIT production and from what I observed things ran like clockwork as they finalized sound, lighting, and projections for the 90 minute event. Also fun to watch was the "writer's table" of festival artists coming up with jokes and one-liners for the Cabaret hosts to read.

Many thanks to Beth, Paul, and AJ for welcoming me and having chats.

-

I'm in the middle of my last round of shows and meet-ups, so that's all for now! Tune in tomorrow for my second-to-last post!
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4 weeks ago

Cincinnati Fringe Festival

FRINGE to FRINGE
Entry #5
from Chris Wesselman

Yesterday was absolutely GORGEOUS here in Edmonton. If you typically use a Gregorian calendar you'll notice it's the weekend, which means the Festival grounds are absolutely teeming with people. It's really incredibly to experience that level of support and participation for the arts.

I saw another six shows yesterday, so let's jump into this, shall we? (NOTE: My time was especially short to finish this up, so the latter portions get pretty succinct. ALSO: Facebook is being a real asshole about letting me tag events and people. :/)

Franz Ferdinand Must Die (Edmonton Fringe) from Still Your Friend Productions
Adam Bailey prefaced his show with some words regarding Canada's First Nations peoples and the spiritual, communal importance of storytelling to them. This message is featured in all curtain speeches for indoor shows (pre-recorded or live), but there was something about Adam's version that suddenly snapped every other occurance of the message I'd encountered so far into a singularity of awareness as the scope and importance of history filled my mind's eye - which is kind of a perfect mindset to arrive at for a show about how Gavrilo Princip lucked his way into starting World War I. I picked this show up because I'm always a sucker for "edutaining" programming. While the creativity behind fictional narratives can be impressive, there's something about stories ripped from the headlines that really demonstrates our inherent human need for oral tradition, which got this whole "theatre" thing rolling in the first place. FFMD plays out a bit like Adam is a private investigator, revealing details and accounts while frequently referencing evidence held in banker boxes stacked on stage. That's not the gimmick of the show, though, as you're treated to something that feels more like a learned history professor who has a flair for the dramatic arts. We're whisked through the events preceding, during, and following Franz Ferdinand's assassination by the more-than-capable leadership of Bailey, who doesn't let a single moment drop over a tight 60 minutes. This is one for the history buffs but goes well beyond your typical lecture to make for an enjoyable hour of theatre. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

INK from James and Jamsey
There's a LOT of physical theatre/clowning productions up here (Hooray!) and each s one seems to find a unique voice and style. INK was no exception. Suspended high above the stage is an industrial-sized roll of white paper, and for the next 60 minutes performer Alastair Knowles deftly interacts with, draws on, explores, and brings to life meter after meter of the paper, culminating in some ingenious use of fans and an ending that literally puts the show in your hands. The stories and emotions that can be conveyed without the use of words always impresses me, and INK might end up being one of my favorites of this trip. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

~Shuttle Ride - Volunteer Chat~
I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Everyone here is SO NICE and incredibly easy to talk to. On my shuttle ride from the French Quarter back to the main Festival grounds, I sat next to a Volunteer who's been Fringing here and volunteering for TWENTY-FIVE years. Among other things, we talked about the AMAZING support they give their 'Teers (including their very own kitchen area to get free meals! ((Cait Riley, let's talk...)))

Big Ol Show from Amber Nash and Matt Horgan
It wouldn't be a trip to a Fringe without some improv and I was delighted to see that IF Cincy: Improv Festival of Cincinnati regular Amber Nash was bringing this two-hander to Edmonton with partner Matt Horgan. A packed house offered up some initial suggestions and then was treated to an hour of intertwined stories set in (for this performance, obviously) 19th Century Swampy Bottom, South Carolina. Debutaunts, Colonels, a state fair, leeches, menstruation, Marilyn Monroe references...all the usual aspects of the South in the 1800s got their share. 🙂 I always have a blast watching skilled improvisers work their magic and this was no exception. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A CAN OF WORMS from Ragmop Theatre
(m.facebook.com/events/487656225111783)
When a variety show crosses the border between Kinda Weird and REALLY Weird, I've found the surreal place I most long to be at for Fringe performances. Explaining any specifics of this show might do the experience a disservice (plus, some of it is just bizarrely indescribable), but suffice to say it's never short on peculiar characters and impressive feats one might expect to see at a European circus or carnival. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Like a Virgin from Jimmy Hogg
Cincy Fringe saw a visit from this hilarious Brit a few years ago (Curriculum Vitae) and I was delighted to be able to catch his new show here. Jimmy's got an amazing ability to work an audience and this collection of autobiographical stories about his path from learning about the Birds & the Bees to losing his virginity kept a packed house rolling in laughter. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It's Rabbit Night! from Jon Bennett
(www.facebook.com/events/the-almanac/its-rabbit-night/2115325558760586/)
I ended my night with this almost incomprehensible but wildly entertaining bonkers of a show. I'm not really supposed to talk about it, though, so I'll stop there. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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1 month ago

Cincinnati Fringe Festival

FRINGE to FRINGE
Entry #4
from Chris Wesselman

Temps below 15.556°C (that's 60°F for you Yanks) and gusting winds yesterday were a refreshing change from the consistently 80+° days of Summer down south. It honestly makes me wish Cincy Fringe took place during a time of year where blasting the AC isn't a requirement...but that ain't happenin' so I'll enjoy this while I can. 🙂

Show reviews for yesterday's SIX performances and some additional comments about my experiences along the way:

For Science! at the Edmonton Fringe Festival
Without a word spoken, Small Matters Productions takes you through a series of delightfully named and seriously silly science experiments that each involve 1 or more audience participants - including me! (I got to shoot a cup off the Lab Assistant's head with a jacked-up Nerf gun. After careful calibration I got it on my third try and earned myself a reward!) Here's a show that demonstrates the versatility and impressiveness that clowning and other physical theatre shows bring to the table. Plus it's just flat out FUN. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

BLIND TO HAPPINESS
My start to Fringe here had been pretty intense while I was constantly on the go and experiencing sensory overload. What Tim C. Murphy and his show ultimately proved to be for me was a chance to slow things down and appreciate the subtlty displayed in this humorous but poignant series of interwoven characters and scenes. Highlighting this one for me were the heartful moments of discovery (especially the last moment of the show) as events and relationships revealed the inner workings of characters, all of whom are flawed in some way that makes them utterly human, and therefore all the more relatable. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Outdoor Stage - A Magic Show You Won't Believe
On my way to my next show, I was able to stop and watch a street magician (Eden - eden). I eventually found myself roped into participating as I was able to readily provide a $20 bill for a trick. The bill was subsequently burned to ash in front of my face only to be reappeared inside an orange a few moments later. There was a lot of other silliness and delight I got to experience in my 15-20 minutes spent on stage with Eden, but I'll simply let the souvenir picture included below suffice. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Martin Dockery: The Surprise
(m.facebook.com/events/638392670002955)
Martin Dockery is a bit of a celeb on the Fringe circuit. We were lucky to have him and his wife, Vanessa, in Cincy a few years ago with their show Moonlight After Midnight, but this was the first time I've ever been able to see him do one of his solo shows. The Surprise recounts the period of Martin's life when he found out his father secretly remarried a Vietnamese woman and started a family with her, giving Martin new siblings living on the other side of the world. He's got an inescapable energy and charisma that make his stories completely enthralling. This is a guy who's honed his talent over years of working the Fringe circuit and I hope to be able to catch more of his shows somewhere in the future.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Food - Taco in a Bag
Ok. Maybe this isn't just an Edmonton thing but I've never seen it before. They crushed up a bag of Doritos, cut the side off the bag and filled it with delicious taco meat and toppingPack Animalsazing. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pack Animals
Pack Animals is a fast-pacScantily Glad Theatrer from Scantily Glad Theatre with a narrative built around a couple Scouts who get lost in the woods, but it frequently breaks off into side skits and songs exploring everything from queer love to mansplaining - with quite a few puppets for good measure. It's a wild experience that gives you hilarious moments like a Benny Hill-esque bear chase and a group of woodland fairies being very naughty with one of the Scouts. Performers Holly Brinkman and S.E. Grummett have such amazing chemistry together and it's easy to have just as much fun watching the show aJamie Brickhouse it. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jamie Brickhouse: Dangerous When Wet...
(www.facebook.com/events/academy-at-king-edward/jamie-brickhouse-dangerous-when-wet-at-edmonton-fr...)
Jamie delivers a heartfelt, funny, and genuine autobiographical journey into his life, letting no stone go unturned as he reveals some extremely intimate and personal details. On the surface I share nothing with Jamie's experiences, but as he continues to discuss topics like his relationship with his mother, being a gay man from Texas, his subtance abuse history, and his suicide attempt, the cracks in that surface widen as you discover the things that bind us all as human beings. Opening yourself up to these different perspectives is one of the things I love most about Fringe and I appreciate and respect Jamie for having the courage to bear his soul for us all. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Kevin, King of Egypt
Rob Gee began his show by briefly explaining his 10+ year history as a psychiatric nurse in the UK and how he works with recovering mental health patients in developing and workshopping sketch comedy. What follows is a mind-bending, multi-character story revolving around a patient, Kevin, who's desperate to escape his facility and make a flight to Egypt where he - as the reincarnation of Rameses II - will take his rightful place as ruler. Somehow simultaneously rip-roaring and gentle, Rob captivates with a poetic nature that turns an empty stage into an adventure. He never treats Kevin with cruelty, displaying an honest character whom you grow to love and root for up until the very last minute. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A COUPLE FINAL THOUGHTS
-This festival is so much fun. It's like a literal carnival built around theatre and art instead of rides and games.

-Everyone is SO FUCKING NICE. Like, EVERYONE. I haven't had a single malicious thought about someone since I've arrived. Haha.

-My brain is overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings about how this experience can influence Cincy Fringe. They do SO MUCH right uEdmonton Fringe Theatretire Edmonton Fringe Theatre family!
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