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Monday, September 26, 2016

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Really Seeing Someone...

It's here and it's open and it's onstage - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Citadel. When I first heard we were doing the show I was so excited. I was a terrific fan of the book and had heard tremendous things about the stage play so to have it produced here was something I was really looking forward to. It did not disappoint. Overall, the experience is complex technically combined with grounded story-telling. It evokes the book, while still being it's own animal. Kudos to the cast and creative team for finding a way to tell the story in their own way (the conceptual design is quite different from the Broadway and London productions).

What I took away from it, however, beyond the amazing projections and clever way the set represents Christopher's brain and the wonderful commitment to telling the story by the actors, was how it made me see Christopher. It made me actually see this wonderful unique human being who just happens to be neuro-atypical. Too often I think we simply recognize that those were are different are there but we don't really see them. What the play does is make you see Christopher and empathize with him. I was angry when the other characters in the play spoke about him as though he wasn't in the room, because he was there, because the production and the remarkable performance by Edmund Stapleton made you see him at all times. It made him more than just a collection of tics and behaviours. It made him completely and wonderfully human. Now, I hope that I can carry that with me and I hope that others do too.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time runs to October 9th on the Shoctor Stage. Call 780.425.1820 or go to www.citadeltheatre.com for tickets.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

More Word of Mouth Recommendations! (Thursday, Aug 18, 2016)

A return to the the Fringe grounds last night and encounters with different people (who have seen A LOT - Yay!) and here are some new Word of Mouth recommendations!

The Dragon
Mustache Party
The Seminar with Madge & Taffy
Nashville Hurricane
Bella Culpa
Shakespeare's Sirens
Curious Contagious
Off Book: The Musical
Mama's Boy
Saltwater Moon
Prepare for the Worst
'Til Death
Falling Awake
Scaramouche Jones

Unfortunately, some of these shows have finished their run for this Fringe, so if you are inspired to see any of them check the schedule quickly to make sure you don't miss them!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Wee Interruption in Fringe reporting, because TWENTY YEARS!


A Couple More Days... A Couple More Shows...

I've hit seven more shows since Saturday.  It was supposed to be 8, but lesson learned, never schedule a 90 minute drama at the end of a five show day... my old brain couldn't handle it so I headed home early on Sunday. Still, 4 shows is a good measure of a day during the fringe.

Here are some highlights of the last two days of Fringe:

Half the Battle - The premise is very clever and Owen Bishop commits wholeheartedly to the world of two men in one body in this piece. Lacing historical fact with fictionalized characters, this show is a funny and touching one/two man show.

CLIMB - Interesting juxtaposition of taped narrative and circus aerial. I was fascinated. I think there is more that could be done here in terms of connecting the movement and the story, but I was engaged. My appreciation for dance helped a lot in understanding *contemporary circus* as shown here.

The F Words - Although it starts a little slow, once it gets rolling this show is full of laughs. There are a lot of F words, not all of them salty, and several sing along songs that are fun to do! It was a redemption from a couple of other shows that I've seen that were rather harsh towards middle-aged women and that was refreshing.

Good With People - This one left thinking. It's a moody two-hander set in Scotland. Well acted and directed, although occasionally it was hard to hear in the space and that was complicated by the accents. It did feature some of the strongest acting I've seen so far, particularly from Graham Mothersill (Evan) who plays a character who brilliantly skirts the line between irritating and charming.

The Unsyncables - So much ridiculous, silly, fun! Imagine tweens forming and practicing a synchronized swimming routine in the 90's in West Edmonton Mall. Already you are laughing... aren't you? Throw in a rivalry with another team (think mean girls on a scooter), an unlikely romance, more 90's pop songs and references that you can imagine and hilarity ensues!

Tonight is mine and Mark's 20th Wedding Anniversary so we are taking a night off from the Fringe. I'll be back on Wednesday night to catch a few more.

Happy fringing! 


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Word of Mouth - Sunday, August 14th

A few more Word of Mouth recommendations coming your way!

Porn & Pinochet
Three Men in a Boat
The Flying Doctor
What Gives?
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
5 Step Guide to Becoming German
Night Hawk Rules
The Fall of the House of Atreus: A Cowboy Love Song
Talking Dirty
The Panto Girls
Scaramouche Jones
The Dragon

Lots of variety! Lots of great shows! Hope you can catch some!


Saturday, August 13, 2016

WORD OF MOUTH - Saturday, August 13th

As part of my Fringe experience and because I can only get to see so many shows, I like to talk to people in line-ups and at the beer tent and on the grounds and ask them what shows they'd recommend based on what they've seen. The only requirement is that they can't recommend the show they are actually in/involved with themselves (if they are an artist).  I try, however, to talk primarily to the people who are primarily audience members.

Anyhow, here's my first round up of WORD OF MOUTH recommendations:

Prepare for the Worst
Trail and Error
Never Swim Alone
Talking Dirty
The Red Shirt Diaries
Gordon's Big Bald Head
Call Me Kirk
The Darling Family
Watermelon Girls
Saltwater Moon
Airswimming
Scaramouche Jones
CLIMB
The Ballad of Frank Allen
Cowboy: A Cowboy Story

I'll be collecting more all week, so if you see me, please give me your recommendations!

A Terrific First Weekend of That Was Then, This is Fringe...

Just shutting down Saturday night and I have taken in 9 shows and am feeling pretty good about what I've seen. Highlights include the following:

Never Swim Alone - Such a strong script by Daniel MacIvor delivered flawlessly.  Even if you've seen it before, it's worth checking out. The casting is perfect, the acting connected, and the direction tight and sharp. It's as if everyone on the stage is breathing together - they are so in sync. It's down at the French Quarter at Rutherford School. If I gave stars, I would give this one 5!

Bat Boy: The Musical - A talented cast and a very quirky, edgy, out-there musical. I'm a little amazed at what you get with your fringe dollars with this one! Highlights are Nadine Veroba as Meredith (the mother) and Mark Sinongco as Edgar (the bat boy), but this whole cast commits 110% to the camp required and they have the vocal chops to deliver big sound. It's not a show I could direct, but I am glad Amanda Neufeld has the sensibility to do justice to it and make me laugh so hard. Definitely not for kids, it's also at the French Quarter but in the main theatre at La Cite.

Cowboy: A Cowboy Story - It was great seeing this show again and with added elements in the new space. I was laughing from the first few moments on and I continue to be amazed by how in sync they are with the theatre and the film. Fast paced, funny and full of energy - you know they are enjoying doing the show as much as the audience is enjoying watching it.

The Colleen Bawn - The cast of four plays many, many characters and the zig-zag from one to another is half the fun of this piece. It's a fast-paced show that keeps you guessing about how it's going to end. It feels a titch long and some of the cast are stronger at the switches than others, but you're laughing so much at the end, you don't mind so much.

Pacamambo - I didn't know what to expect, but I enjoyed this play that had the feel of magic about it. It's a gentle tale with committed actors who embrace a sense of the mystical to help a young girl deal with the death of her grandmother. Almost fairy-tale like, it feels appropriate for tweens and up.

Letting Go of Alone - Although this show feels like it needs a little more arc and story, everything in it is excellently done.  The songs are sometimes charming and sometimes simply beautiful and sometimes sad and there're also a lot humorous moments in the piece. It left me wanting more, but in the way that I felt it had something more to say, but it didn't quite know what.