Go Fest Yourself

Dispatches from the festival frontlines.

FRINGE REVIEW: The End Of Civilization

Set entirely in some bleak, mismatched motel room, George F. Walker's The End of Civilization is an oppressive sign of the times. It's a dreary, well-acted examination of the state of mind of what must be thousands of middle-class North Americans in the core of a ruptured economy. Henry (Elliott James) loses his job and takes to the road to find work, his housewife Lily (Delia Barnett) by his side. Weeks elapse and Henry remains unemployed, his escalating frustration taking on an entity all its own. When a pair of bomb threats and multiple murders lead homicide detectives (Jeff Page and Adam Cope) to Henry's motel suite, the drama unravels itself, exposing the sombre realisms of our delicate sanity.

Three and a half out of five stars.

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Add comment      more in Fringe Reviews     |     posted Aug 22nd, 2010 at 6:06pm


In one scene of Elizabeth Hobbs' "collective creation" imPULSE, April Killins and Tasha Weenk dip their bare hands and feet into buckets of assorted colours of paint, and then slather the ground--and themselves--in shades of green, yellow and red. All the while, breaking into vapid monologues of feelings and emotions. Huh! What I could only articulate as feministic poetry filled in most of the awkward moments in between harmonizing humming, ballet-esque frolics, and a come-hither strip tease depicting our societal supply & demand. This eccentric 35-minute production spared some relief, though, in a piece about the frustration of automated telephone runarounds ("The Missing Lobe"), in the reading of a poem about relentless … Read More

Add comment      more in Fringe Reviews     |     posted Aug 22nd, 2010 at 6:05pm

FRINGE REVIEW: rooms//apart

Mathew Bittroff is exceptional as "Trigger," a schizo who is newly admitted to a mental hospital, and deservingly so. Trigger--a common nickname for those diagnosed with his condition--quarrels with the voices inside his head, but his conversations are now directed at the co-patient in the room next door, "Switch" (Tim Cooper), a manic depressive who strums his guitar to pass the endless hours of solitude. The unstable pair find refuge in each other's company, and as Trigger gradually mends, he can't be sure if Switch is just another voice inside his head. This dark comedy tests our personal stance on the ethics of poking fun at mental illness, but if the laughs coming from the audience were any indication, nobody seemed to mind. The … Read More

Add comment      more in Fringe Reviews     |     posted Aug 22nd, 2010 at 6:03pm


This is a solo performance written and performed by Julia Mackey, directed by Dir Van Stralen.  Based upon the true story of veteran Jake Hubble who travelled to France after sixty years to pay homage to his brother buried at Normandy. Ms Mackey portrays 3 main characters; an inquisitive eleven year old girl named Isabelle, her solemn mother; and the cantankerous veteran.  She moves rapidly from character to character as they inter-twine with each other in conversation, and the impact they have on one another’s life.  It is a sad and retrospective drama which shows a friendship developing between Jake and Isabelle.  It is full of an array of emotions; happiness, sadness, and regrets.  The child portrays innocence, the veteran … Read More

Add comment      more in Fringe Reviews     |     posted Aug 19th, 2010 at 4:16pm

FRINGE REVIEW: A Fistful of Tenors

This was a dramatic event, the comical antics of Martin Murphy continues as he portrays the world renowned tenor, Pabaratti. He is accompanied by two gifted tenors in this trio starring Trent Worthington, Michel Landry, with Joachim Segger at the grand piano.  A wide variety of songs exuded from the mouths of these talented performers. A medley of hymns, several classical operatic songs with lots of unintelligible words, loud yelling and comical antics were presented. The entourage of music included modern songs of the 50’s era, and classical western theme songs.  The three tenors interacted with each other as well as the pianist, involving the audience in their antics with singing, hand clapping and general rivalry. The … Read More

Comments (1)      more in Fringe Reviews     |     posted Aug 19th, 2010 at 4:14pm

FRINGE REVIEW: The Crimson Yak

This is a fast paced musical whose underlying themes are those of exploitation of the innocent, capitalism, and greed which leads to the imbalance of nature, and sadness for those who have sold the purity of their country for profit and technology. The opening scenes are ones of foreboding and prophesy, while the latter half of the musical is that of fulfilling the prophesy. The music and singing were awesome, very dramatic; the antics of the characters were rambunctious, and hilarious. The audience was receptive, attentive, giving a standing ovation for the exceptional performance. This was a most enjoyable and relaxing experience.  A must-see for all ages.

Five out of five stars.

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Add comment      more in Fringe Reviews     |     posted Aug 19th, 2010 at 4:11pm


This is a thought provoking drama about a deceased man which involves the grieving widow, the ex-wife and a young admirer. It moves rather slowly in the beginning as the grieving widow struts onstage as a well-heeled diva, who relentlessly espouses the noblest traits of her beloved with an aura of regret. The drama picks up momentum with the arrival of the ex-wife. She interjects life into it with her aggressiveness, ranting antics and comical behavior. The plot takes on a new strain as the women discuss the man’s attributes, his generous and devious nature, leading the audience from mediocrity to the final climax which has the three women becoming friends of sorts who all agree on one premise, their friend and husband was a … Read More

Add comment      more in Fringe Reviews     |     posted Aug 19th, 2010 at 4:10pm

FRINGE REVIEW: Death - Live!

“If someone dies, and no one notices - did that person really live?” asks the Angel of Death (Joel Crichton). Through song, movement, dance and narrative, Death’s agile Minions (Tatyana Rac, Jon Lachlan Stewart, Darren Paul, Amber Bissonette) show us Death’s “top ten” favourites. Strung like beads on a necklace, or - more accurately - fangs and claws on a strip of razor wire - these ten deaths illustrate how to get noticed. But we’re left with the question – did these ten really live? Maybe the medic shot through the heart attempting to save a fallen comrade. Maybe the lad who rejoiced at outrunning trains – until finally one outran him. These are the memorable stories. But what of the other eight? Do they show us how to live our lives to the fullest? Or do they … Read More

Add comment      more in Fringe Reviews     |     posted Aug 18th, 2010 at 4:47pm

FRINGE REVIEW: Europe - A Savvy Girl's Guide

Melanie Gall’s Europe: A Savvy Girl’s Guide at the Yardbird Suite is a whimsical


Gall plays Kessendra, a slightly naïve young woman about to embark on her first trip to

Europe. She is equally nervous and excited.

The 70-minute musical begins with Kessendra packing her suitcase, mindful of having

appropriate clothing.

She has trouble determining the currency exchange as she tries to buy Euros. “Oh, why

didn’t I listen in math class?” She is quickly caught up in the glamour of Paris. Her

accommodations were something else, entirely.

“That’s what you get for a $12 bed,” she laments. “I cannot sleep in a bed bug bed


Marsha Amanova serves as the narrator and at times is Kessendra’s alter-ego. She has

been to Europe and offers travel … Read More

Add comment      more in Fringe Reviews     |     posted Aug 17th, 2010 at 3:34pm


 “…better than sex…” claims Maggie (Tiana Leonty) of  the triathlete’s triple (swimmer’s, cyclist’s and runner’s) “high”. She tells us the story of her infatuation with Mitch her triathon coach and her competition with Jackie, assistant trainer and triathlon contender, satirizing Mitch’s manly swagger and portraying Jackie as a gushing “Barbie doll with muscles.” What would be caricature if Leonty were telling the story directly becomes amusing when these two are viewed from Maggie’s perspective.

Hefting weights, cycling, swimming, running and repeating, Maggie describes her grueling training routine – and the process of falling for, then recovering from, Mitch. (And Leonty doesn't even get out of breath!)

Timelines and signposts flash on … Read More

Add comment      more in Fringe Reviews     |     posted Aug 17th, 2010 at 2:37pm




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