The Frankies, 2011
The Oscars were put to shame on Sunday night at the Frankie Awards, the annual awards ceremony that serves as the climax to the Montreal Fringe. Despite having sixteen awards, three production numbers and five eleven second dance parties, the awards show clocked in at just under 80 minutes, an impressive feat for any event the encourages artists to stroke one another’s egos.
It was a largely celebratory night tinged with the bittersweet truth that this would be the last time we would see Sweet Sweet Jimmy Priest, Zack Winters and Rufus O’Callaghan, the alter egos of Dan Jeanotte, Anders Yates ad Matt Goldberg. For years the trio have hosted the 13th Hour, the Fringe’s late night talk show, but this Fringe was their swan song as the trio, along with their improv collective Uncalled For, head off for bigger and better things. The passing was marked by a special Lifetime Spirit of the Fringe Award, handed to them by the new artistic director, Amy Blackmore.
“These guys are the reason I was hung over ever day this week,” said Ms. Blackmore, who, despite this multitude of hangovers, sailed the Good Ship Fringe through uncertain waters more or less unscathed. By all accounts it was one of the most successful Fringes yet – more shows then ever and almost $120 000 in ticket sales. A rough estimate puts attendance records somewhere in the range of 14 000.
The reins of the 13th Hour are being handed over to comedienne Kirsten Rasmussen, who proved she is more than worthy of the job when she was handed the prestigious Centaur Theatre Award for her one-woman show Blink Blink Blink. Ms. Rasmussen beat out plenty of worthy competitors to get the prize, which includes a free slot at the 2012 Wildside Festival. This is good news for all those who, like me, couldn’t get into the 40 seat venue where her show was performed.
The other big English award – the Just for Laughs Comedy Award – went to Dan Bingham for his one man show Adopt This. The rest of the night was more or less an ode to three companies: LaboKracBoom (Les chorniques du Laboratoire Unik), Stuko-Theatre (Sexe-Mania) and Still Milking the New Cow (Body Slam). Each of these companies took home two awards each.
The full list of winners are:
Centre d’Affairs Award for Best Poster Design: LaboKracBoom, Les chroniques du laboratoire unik
Chapters Award for Best Text (English) – Kevin Kennedy, Chipmunks Ate My Bike
Chapters Award for Best Text (French) – Stuko-Theatre, Sexe-Mania
Theatre Pelletier Award for Best Production Design – Belzebrute, Manga
Mainline “Next Stage” Award – Front Porch Productions, Rains Down in Africa
Studio 303 Best Choreography – Sasha Kleinplatz, Piss in the Pool
Cirque du Soleil Best Creation – LaboKracBoom, Les chroniques du laboratoire unik
Les Escales Impropbables Award for Best Multidiscplinary Production – Still Milking the New Sacred Cow, Body Slam
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CEAD Best Francophone Writer – Louis Phillipe Tremblay, Pleine Lune
Just For Laughs Award for Best English Comedy – Dan Bingham, Adopt This!
Zone Homa Award for Best French Spectacle – Stuko-Theatre, Sexe-Mania
Centaur Theatre Award for Best English Production – Kirsten Rasmussen, Blink Blink Blink
13th Hour Award for “The Company that Blew Our Minds” - Still Milking the New Sacred Cow, Body Slam
Spirit of the Fringe Award – Joseph Ste. Marie, Alive from Below 1985 Productions
Lifetime Spirit of the Fringe Award – Uncalled For
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