In another life I was very much involved with theater which has put me in an excellent position to inform your decision on which shows to check during this years fringe.
Below is just a list of suggestion of shows I think are well worth checking out, if you would like further information or a more “review” type description I recommend checking out Vue’s Fringe reviews or The Edmonton Journal’s reviews. Both are fairly objective although I belive a caveat to my endorsement is needed. All reviews are subjective and all are only one viewing of one performance from one person, so ensure you keep that in mind and try to ignore the personal rave/distaste and look for the plot description and not the opinionated review of the design/acting/writing.
Full disclosure: I have a great many pals who are involved in the majority of shows mention in the below, however as I give you my word these recommendations come from a genuine belief in quality and creative integrity.
Transalta Stage at the Westbury Theater
The Year of Magical Thinking, Pobbie Productions: an adapted screenplay from Joan Didion, so you know it will be entertaining at the very least. Length: 80- minutes. Origin: Edmonton.
The Laugh Shop
The Big Stupid Improv Show, Rapid Fire Theater: improv is a hard thing to do, even if it looks like actors are just making an idiot of themselves on stage for cheap laughs. Ok, so that is what improv is sometimes, however laughs are always good cheap or Crystal. RFT has failed to disappoint this season, and they are local so this little taste will have you itching for their next season to start up, and then you can scratch that itch, scratch it good. Length: 75 minutes. Origin: Edmonton.
The Honeymoon Period is Officially Over, Gemma Wilcox: I worked the front of house for this show on Friday night, full house and nothing but good things heard from those in line. Length: 70 minutes. Place of Origin: Boulder, Colorado USA.
Excuse me: This is the TRUTH!, Break the Wall Productions: @Paulatics gives this show some serious love, and you know she knows what she is talking about. Length: 45 minutes. Origin: Edmonton, Alberta
Fringe Cabaret Lounge
El Dorado, Surreal SoReal Theater: I actually went to high school with the writer/director/actor and have been in several productions with him in our younger days. Excellent actor and I believe this is his first self written, self directed, and self acted show so I am keen to see what comes of it. Based out of Edmonton with loads of local talent from this city to support the show, I am genuinely looking forward to seeing this. Length: 70 minutes.
Between Tosha and Boleck, Aether Bag Theater: A two person show written and directed by Bohdan Tarasenko featuring Ukrainian accents. Length 60 minutes. Origin: Edmonton.
NGGRFG, Guy Un-Disguised & Small Brown Package: I got a glowing recommendation from a designer who’s opinion I trust entirely. This creator has a longer track than the combined characters from Trainspotting. Length: 60 minutes. Origin: Edmonton.
Bashir Lazhar, Wishbone: Translated from Evelyne de la Cheneliere by Morwyn Brebner, toured in Munich, Dresden and Innsbruck. Vancouver Sun fell all over themselves for this production and from what I hear the praise is well deserved. “… raw physical impulse and muted desire.” Length: 90 minutes. Origin: Edmonton/Calgary, Alberta.
Old Strathcona Performing Arts Collective (OSPAC)
Edmund, Mur- Man Productions: Three actors I highly respect, including one I have the opportunity to work creatively with, hold this show down. The director and stage manager are incredibly talented and from the rumours, in high demand. The show was named best of Saskatoon Fringe and was sold out here in Edmonton for its opening night. Length: 75 minutes. Origin: Edmonton, Alberta.
Excess Unwanted Growth, Hey Haggard, Take Heed! Productions: Written and Directed by David Owen a well known director throughout Alberta and an excellent professor. I am lucky enough to have had the experience to be in one of his productions, Faustus at the University of Lethbridge, and have seen an excerpt from this play done for a class at the UofL. Itching to see the full piece. FTWL: interesting, thought provoking and sometimes obtuse theater with a genuine creative force that is refreshingly original. Length: 50 minutes. Origin: Calgary/Red Deer, Alberta.
Planet Ze Design Center
Cadaver, Digestion Theater: A troupe of Edmonton Theater students came together to write, produce and stage this show and from what I hear this is some of the best of Edmonton’s up and coming talent. Length:60 minutes. Origin: Edmonton, Alberta.
BYOV’s (Bring Your Own Venue)
This experiment in found theater space has changed the face of Fringe in the last few years. The idea of putting a production together in a custom found space, a space beyond a traditional stage forces both the actors and the director to interact in an environment alien to the traditional form that theater takes.
Avenue Theater: RAUNCH: The Rise of the Female Chauvinist Pigs!