CharPo advises you on where to start
"Best Bets" ...sorta
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois with Estelle Rosen, Sarah Deshaies, Émilie Charlebois, Valerie Cardinal and Janis Kirshner
After the Fringe announced its lineup at a press conference last week, I asked part of the army of CharPo writers who are about to launch themselves at the festival if there were any items which caught their attention, piqued their curiosity and that they would like to see or at least advise other people to see (as many of them may be too busy at other shows to see some of the things they would councel others to view - we are martyrs to the larger cause...).
Here is a list of ten such shows, with a couple of honourable mentions. Comments come from three veterans of the Fringe wars - me, Estelle Rosen (ER) and Janis Kirshner (JK) - and three of our rising talents - who nevertheless have all had Fringe experience - Sarah Deshaies (SD), Émilie Charlebois (EC) and Valerie Cardinal (VC).
Please feel free to tell us, in the comments section below, what excites you and why.
ER: "As a long time fan of Keir Cutler's solo shows, his first effort at a two-hander is a must-see."
SD: "Because Keir Cutler is Fringe god material - and this time his monologue is a dialogue, with actor Brett Watson joining in." I agree with all these comments. When Cutler veers, something quite exciting often happens. I am thinking, especially, of his brilliant piece Teaching As You Like It which was as funny as it was troubling.
THE BIRTH OF WEZA OR GO F@#K YOUR MOTHER
JK: "Strong local theatre artists are the draw for this one. From the company that brought you Jesus Jello: the Miraculous Confection. Nine shows. Book soon- Freestanding Room is small. A new play by Joanne Sarazen, directed by Tamara Brown."
VC: "I was a big fan of Jesus Jello, and the premise sounds just weird enough to work"
Sarazen and Brown...now that's a combo!
ER: "A Fringe classic. Smart and funny is a dynamite combo for me."
VC: "I'd never heard of Jem Rolls until his Fringe show last year. Now I'm in love."
One of our participants in this year's coverage, Bruce McKay, was the first of the reviewers I worked with to draw Jem Rolls to my attention, years ago, with a five-star rave in The Gazette. He also couldn't stop talking about the piece well after the Fringe.
ER: "Anything to do with radio interests me. So Radio Star's 1940s radio detective spoof places it on my yes list."
EC: "This performance looks like it will be absolutely mesmerizing. Not only because Tanya O'Debra will be carrying the entire show on her shoulders, but the radio play was described as a filthy, dirty 1940's detective spoof...how could I say no? I'm really confident that this will be wildly entertaining and possibly mind-blowing."
SD: "Funny, funny Tanya O'Debra was voted 'Miss Fag Hag 2010' in New York City, and she's bringing her shtick in Radio Star. Love the story - a 1940s murder mystery. One woman, many voices."
...she also does great PR!
A DIFFERENT WOMAN
SD: "The story of Edna Beasley sounds amazing - the greatest incendiary feminist you've never heard of writes a novel that is subsequently banned for its earnest depictions of her twisted, Texan childhood and family (including bestiality?). I'm in."
ER: "The challenge to adapt a play from an autobiography can be daunting. Add an intriguing story; it has my vote to see it."
I have to say, as well, this is one that I am looking forward to and am lucky enough to be reviewing.
EDGES: A SONG CYCLE
ER: "I missed their production of Reefer Madness The Musical last year. Heard good things about it. Don't want to miss this one."
When I saw their Sondheim-esque Facebook song at the QDF spring launch, and then followed the ups and downs of preparations for the Fringe on their blog written for CharPo, I knew something special was in the making. They also hilariously promoted the work as including, "Boy on boy action"!
SUICIDE(S) IN VEGAS
JK: "A world-premiere by award-winning playwright Evan Placey, is a dark comedy about a random Internet search that connects two people who want to end it all, in Vegas. From Denver, with one of the actors from South Africa. I must admit the fascination as I plan my own Las Vegas vacation with my South African…"
THE LAST STRAIGHT MAN IN THEATRE
VC: "I don't know if this sounds really terrible or really wonderful, but I'm excited to see how it turns out."
So am I.
|The Only Bar|
ER: "Does knowing and liking the work of writer/director/performer influence us to see a Fringe play? For me it does. So with Alain Mercieca and Robin Henderson involved in The Only Bar, it's a go. That the music is inspired by Tom Waits makes it a sure thing on my list."
Tom Waits? Meh. But Mercieca and Henderson are never, ever boring.
ER: "Directed by Barbara Kelly and starring Jane Gilchrist is enough of a reason to see this play. Not to mention a story that appeals."
I have nothing to add except I utterly agree.
ZACK ADAMS LOVE SONGS FOR FUTURE GIRL
JK: "' Zack Adams figures that if you can’t laugh at yourself, you may as well let an audience do it. Weeping Spoon Productions is the company behind the hit show Greed from the 2008 Fringe. This show had great success touring Australia. I need to believe that no one would travel that far with a bad show (though I’ve been wrong, I’m ever hopeful)."
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH
VC: "I have yet to see my favourite film performed well on the stage, so I have high hopes for this one."
For much, much more on The Fringe, visit the CharPo Fringe Aggregator
Fringe web site