San Francisco performer Christian Cagigal takes the stage in his one part magic, one part story-telling adventure of Obscura. Cagigal tells moralistic fables of good and evil, heaven and hell, God and the Devil while performing card tricks that progress the stories and bewilder the audiences.
The sold out opening show of Snafu Dance’s latest Fringe show Snack Music was a who’s who of Fringe in the audience. Performers and fans alike flocked to the theatre to see what the creators of the critically acclaimed Little Orange Man and Kitt & Jane shows had in store for them this year. The theatre felt like it was one big giant family sharing a reunion together over small snack foods and a love for all things theatre. The atmosphere was one of excitement, joy and anticipation and the show hadn’t even started yet.
Co.Venture is very bizarre. That’s the easiest way to describe the show. Starting this review was perhaps one of the hardest things I’ve had to do because I truly don’t know what to say about this really weird show. It’s a show that is one part comedy, one part dance, and one part puppets mixed in with a disjointed conversation that felt forced and was unengaging.
Gimpel the Fool follows poor orphan-boy Gimpel, a man who believes everything that anyone says, no matter what the outcome may be. He sees the good in all people and trusts without question because if he were to lose trust in people, he fears he would lose trust in God. This simple tale was originally written as a short Yiddish story in 1953 by Isaac Bashevis Singer to articulate that it is better to be a fool for a lifetime than become evil for even an hour.
The popular and dynamic duo, Peter N’ Chris are back in Peter N’ Chris presents: Here Lies Chris, another high energy, yet minimalistic show bridging cleverly stupid ideas with comedic genius to produce and stage an epic hour of theatre.
A Nightmare for Oberon is a sequel of sorts to three of Shakespeare’s most (in)famous female characters, Lady Macbeth, Ophelia & Titania who happen upon each other in the magical forests of A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Ophelia is convinced that she is in heaven, having believed that she had drowned, Lady Macbeth, crazy as ever, still can’t wash that damn blood off her hands and Titania, slightly perplexed by these oddities, takes charge and command over these new fellows who happen upon her forest.
The haunting atmosphere of In Search Of Mrs. Pirandello hits you the moment you step foot into the theatre. The set is full and encompasses the entire space yet the lighting and colours of the room create a sparse feeling. Exploring themes of self-identity, mental illness and jealousy this show shines light on the muse of famous Italian author Luigi Pirandello’s wife Antonietta Portulano, who has been relegated to a footnote in the history books.
Full disclosure. I’ve seen and reviewed a Shirley Gnome show before, but she was just so damn good that the moment I saw she would be back at Montreal Fringe I knew that it was going on my “to see list.” Shirley Gnome is the unique result when you mix country rock with extremely adult-oriented comedy where nothing is off limits. Seriously don’t bring your kids unless you want to have the most awkward minivan ride of your life after the show. For example, Shirley spends some time singing about having sex with unicorns, having sex with old people, having sex with herself, having sex with her friends, having sex in her dreams… ok… she sings a lot about having sex, yet while it’s extremely dirty and crass it comes off with an undeniably cute and innocent charm.
One of the hardest things a comic, musical or stand-up, can do is take a simple sex joke and make it clever and relevant. Sometimes it’s easy to write dirty for a cheap laugh. Despite the level of dirtiness that Shirley sings about she is extremely smart and clever providing the audience with amazing twists and turns that carry a profound sense of hilarity.
Some of her best songs are absolutely absurd and you wonder what the hell happened to make her come up with such a brilliantly twisted idea, yet others delve into things we’ve all probably thought of before but just never had the balls to say ourselves. The songs she sings must be taken as seriously as they are taken comically because there is transcendence to her music, yes, there is a level of transcendence that comes from a song that talks about old people having STD’s.
The only thing the Shirley Gnome: Real Mature show was missing was an audience sing-along. Everyone in the audience was having a riot and a standing ovation was just not enough. An hour with Shirley Gnome is way too short of a time to spend with her. I have seen Shirley Gnome perform twice now and would easily see her 100 times more without ever getting bored. You must see this show.
Simon’s 2 Cents: Sassy as can be but fun as f*cking hell. Saddle up!
Unpossible! A Magic Show is the type of Fringe show that makes me love coming back every year, because as is the essence of Fringe, you never know what to expect. Travis Bernhardt takes the stage in this often funny, but always impressive magical hour full of sleight of hand tricks and deceptions that look simple at first glance but always play to a bigger twist leaving you asking: how the hell did he do that?
The No Bull$#!% History of Canada is no bull$#!%! The very talented, funny and wildly entertaining Kyle Allatt guides the audience on a tour de force of the top 10 Canadians to have ever lived or ever influenced this fine country that we call home. The stage setting is simple, yet shows the audience exactly what they’re in for, a screen set up on stage right, a few Canadian flags draped throughout the stage and a beaver, sitting proudly on top of one of those Canadian flags. If you didn’t know you were coming into a history lesson before, you certainly do now.