Reviewer Ed Farolan
Dates and Venue 5, 7, 9, 11, 12 &14 September at Performance Works, Granville Island
A full house last September 7 to see tits to the wind! But they only show their tits (burlesque style with green aluminum foil covering their nipples) when they do their first skit--an Irish jig spoof. They jump up and down until their strapless blouses fall off.
This comedy is a series of tongue-in-cheek skits about everything in life--from children to adults and seniors. Funny, really funny sketches, and all five actresses--Jackie Blackmore, Iva Kapsikova, Sidika Larbes, Lauren Martin and Megan Phillips, withe the special appearance of Pizza Boy Carlos McGraw who does a Chip n' Dale dance--all were having fun and getting the audience giggling and laughing all throughout.
5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche by Evan Linder & Andrew Hobgood
Dates and Venue 5, 7, 11, 12, 13 & 15 September at Studio 16
Directed by Beverly Siver, this was a soldout house last September 7. Attending the 1956 Annual Quiche Breakfast of The Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein. I felt out of place sitting down between two sisters in black who were supposedly lesbians disguised as widows, in the front row, to boot! In the McCarthy era, homosexuality was then a big taboo, but the five officers of the society who presided the meeting were bold enough to say "I am a lesbian!" And everyyone else in the audience (except me and a handful of other male participants) followed suit and cheered away. The five officers of the society (Sharon Bayly, Angela Beaulieu, Sharon Greysen, Tara Burnett and Beth Gunderson) did a fantastic job, and the audience who were supposedly members of the society went along with this meeting, even doing a singalong at the beginning of the show with Doris Day's "Que sera, sera"...until...uhoh...big atomic surprise at the end!
Arnie the Carnie's House of Mystery by Brian Anderson and Elizabeth Bowen
Dates and Venue 5, 7, 8, 11, 14 & 15 September at Performance Works, Granville Island
This was almost a full house last September 7 as I sat with a puzzled look in my face on how these magic tricks are performed. Of course, the first thing that always comes to my mind is whether this was all set up, in the first place, especially when "volunteers" are called on stage, when they're actually not volunteers but audience members approached before the show to pretend to be volunteers. I don't know. I have to do more research on this. But anyhow, this isn't a David Copperfield show with its fantastic lights and illusions, but a small version of what magic shows are all about. Director Allen Morrison did a great mise-en-scene; Brian Anderson as Arnie the Carnie did well educating the audience about some historical background of Granville Island's illusionists in the 19th century; co-writer Elizabeth Bowen did a fantastic job playing the role of his assistant; and Matt Grinke as himself composed the music and played the piano.
Dates and Venue 6, 8, 9, 12, 13 & 14 September at Studio 16
Heather Fischer who in her program notes says that this is her first play produced and as director, from her bio, directs for the second time. Her storyline is good, but I felt that there should have been more dancing and singing, instead of a lot of talking. Perhaps the long dialogues between Javia Selina (Veronica) and Jina Anika (Simone) should have been partially sung. This is expected for a play like this dealing with chorus girls. I also think that the male roles, Kalvin Olafson (Theo) and Daniel Cardoso (Edwin) who did a bit of dancing at the end, should have also sung. But for the Fringe, it's not bad for a first-time playwright. The costumes and sets were close to the 1920s ambience. I didn't know that they had electric vibrators during that time. So that was something new | picked up. There were a few flaws from the techincal standpoint: The telephone cord was too short and the music drowned the singing voices of Veronica and Simone.
Dates and Venue 5, 7, 11, 12, 13 & 15 September at The Cultch Historic Theatre
Jean-Francois Plante-Tan does his one man show in French. He dances, sings, acts, and plays the Yamaha. A very talented performer, but what wnet through my mind because of my limited French is if this show would have been better in English as most Vancouverites, (except for a small minority of French speakers) don't speak nor understand French. But then again, there has been a big surge of French immersion schools blossoming in Vancouver because after all, Canada is officially and bilingually French and English. So I think this is good, and we should have more French acts in the Fringe in the years to come as the population here grows gradually into bilingualism.
Dates and Venue 5, 8, 9, 11, 14 & 15 September at The Revue Stage
This musical by Mark Datuin has Broadway potential. Or perhaps, off-Broadway. That's where Sondheim got his start. In fact, Sondheim, and a few others like Bernstein in the second half of the 20th century started the whole tradition of tragic musicals, ie, musicals that didn't have happy endings, like West Side Story. Rogers and Hammerstein and the happy composers of the early 20th century always had happy endings, and their musicals were always extravagant. In keeping up with the downsized musicals, Datuin comes up with a three-actor musical where the actors play multiple roles. The other thing about musicals these days is the actors just sing and act, but don't dance, the way the happy musicals were. Anyway, great show and special kudos to Meagan Tuck. What a beautiful voice. Now, that's Broadway potential!
Dates and Venue 6. 7, 8, 9, 12, & 14 September at The Cultch Historic Theatre
What fabulous dancers! And all nine men and women were good-looking. A standing ovation by an almosr full house during their last performance on the 14th. Congratulations! This is a fairly new company (2010) started by Ariana Champlin and Carolyn Schmidt who form part of the cast of nine dancers. With the music of Black Taxi, a rock group from Brooklyn, the dancers dance to a story about a watering hole where these nine meet and flirt, get drunk, get into a bar fight, and everyone goes away when the bar closes in the wee small hours of the morning. Great choreography! This is their first time at the Vancouver Fringe. Hope to see you beautiful people next year again.
© 2013 Ed Farolan