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! ... See MoreSee Less
I hit the 24 hour mark of being awake during a night cap (of beer AND some poutine 😁) at The Next Act Pub around Midnight. #noregrets #poutineateverymealplease
It was an amazing, adventurous, and awe-inspiring first day of Fringing. Paul Strickland and Erika Kate MacDonald continue to be top notch friends and have helped me quickly settle into the landscape and order of Edmonton Fringe Theatre.
So, how about a quick rundown of the shows I saw last night, eh?
LARRY - Edmonton Fringe Festival 2019 Holy. Shit. If you're reading this and are in Edmonton during Fringe, do yourself a favor and see this masterful, weird, poignant, gut-busting, vulnerable, and thought-provoking tour de force from Candy Bones Theatre. Candice (Candy) Roberts is a force to be reckoned with and spends every milisecond of the performance - including pre-show - living within a beautifully crafted character that's equal parts hilarious and inspiring as you're given an exploration into "gender stereotypes - and what makes people laugh." The twists and turns the show took had me constantly asking myself - in the best way possible - "What the fuck is going on?" It was an incredible show to start off my Edmonton experience and I thank Candy and everyone involved with the production for taking it to the level they did. What could be a one-note show in the hands of another is instead given layer after layer of carefully crafted brilliance. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
13 Dead Dreams of "Eugene" at Edmonton Fringe 2019 Due to being sick when Paul and Erika performed this show at Know a couple years ago, I still hadn't seen it. And honestly, it was cool to be able to catch it for the first time in the natural habitat for Theatre Mobile. They are close friends, so any praise can be questioned as favoritism...but I don't really care what you think cause this show is genuinely awesome. 😁 Both Paul and Erika are so great at blending humor and poignancy, so a show like this that spends more time spooking you than anything is a cool opportunity to see them break outside their "comfort zone" a little bit and reel you in with astonishing shadow puppetry work and dead dream-telling while still holding some trademarks of their work to help keep you captivated. I don't think I'll ever dislike anything these two do - and if I ever do then I guess we just won't be friends anymore. Ha. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I've got SIX shows on my schedule today, so expect more later! #EdmontonFringe ... See MoreSee Less
Keep your eyes peeled on our Instagram and Facebook for posts from the road as Cincy Fringe Producer @cwesstheman heads to the #EdmontonFringe! He's taking off in just a couple hours... 🇺🇲✈️🇨🇦 ... See MoreSee Less