Bridge Mix!

Dates and Venue 5-8 & 11-15 May 2010 | Metro Parkade, 1070 W Pender St., Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

The Vancouver and Victoria Fringe Festivals, as well as the other Fringe Festivals all over Canada--Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, have created iIndependent groups that have fluorished all over BC, especially Victoria and Vancouver. Bridge Mix has put nine companies together to put on their 10-minute "skits" in an extraordinary space in Vancouver: a Parkade.

Small theatre companies have constanty done this. I remember in the 70s, I was involved with experimental groups in Madrid who would similarly have these festivals. Similar festivals were also going on throughout Europe and Latin America, especially in the summer and early fall, and the Fringe Festivals in Canada and the USA, I believe, took off in the 80s and 90s, influenced by these festivals composed of independent and emerging theatre companies.

I think this is the necessary step to take, especially for new university graduates in theatre, since most of these actors who paticipated in this "experiment" are mostly fresh graduates from theatre programs here in BC, particularly Caplano, UBC and Victoria. ITSAZOO Artistic Director, Chelsea Haberlin, and the members of the company are U of Vic alumni with BFAs in Theatre. Their 10-minute Hey Good Lookin skit was really creative and hilarious, and the audience enjoyed this "nightmare scenario".

The next 10-minute show by Genus Theatre, Done by Dinner, was physical theatre at its best, getting the audience to participate by playing ground hockey with the actors. Again, something different.

Slam Ink's Coincidance Partnerships ("coincidance" purposely misspelled?) was another unique presentation. The venue was "everywhere" in the Parkade, and as we walked from one part of the Parkade to another, the four-part show would go on. Again, unique--interesting plot about a playboy who would meet up with his past loves inside the Parkade.

TigerMilk Collective is another emerging independent group, and in one corner of the Parkade, presented a one-woman show, Both Are Me, a short on a more serious note, delving on the theme of "memory investigation.

But the best and most creative, in my opinion, was Upintheair's Borborygmi, where a man falls off from the roof of the Parkade and we all go to the edge of the 7th floor to look down and see the man still alive, crawling, while witnesses come out, use their cell phones and all together sing the Beatles' hit "Help!" That indeed was unique and I'd take my beret off to Dave Mott for a funny and delightful skit, watching the actors deliver their performance seven floors below while we were watching all the way up.

Kudos to ITSAZOO and Enlightenment Theatres for a unique project, one of its kind, and I hope they come up with a similar project, perhaps in the wooded area of the British properties near BC where a lot of weird things--ghosts, rapes, the homeless, etcc. could be some topics for a summer tryst.

© 2010 Ed Farolan