Lovely Lady Lump
Performance Dates September 7,9,13,14,15,17, 2017 at Studio 1398, Granville Island
Performer Lana Schwarcz
The ‘lovely lady’ is Australian comedian/puppeteer Lana Schwarcz, the ‘Lump’ is what is causing a problem in Ms. Schwarcz’ left boob. Schwarcz is a cancer survivor who is now fit and well three years after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She offers a humourous account of her personal experience with the diagnosis and eventual recovery. Her “journey” (a word she hates, but frequently uses) takes her in front of GPs, oncologists, ultrasonographers, radiographers and a quirky message therapist. Much of Schwarcz’ show is performed topless. She freely admits that after having to bare her breasts to so many healthcare professionals she is very comfortable showing off her boobs to total strangers. The show is very well produced requiring precise use of a video projector and despite some maudlin segments (after all, it’s a show about cancer), the comedy, though broad, is affecting. Schwarcz bravely allows herself to be vulnerable. I’m sure some audience members found it carthadic, even educational – I found it “revealing.”
Fifty Shades of Dave
Performance Dates Sept. 7,9,10,12,16,17, 2017 at Studio 1398, Granville Island
Performer Nico Dicecco
Nico Dicecco promptly
declares at the top of the show “this isn’t The Vinyl
Café and I’m not Stuart McLean.” What Fifty Shades
of Dave is though is part sincere tribute and part erotic parody. Dicecco
may not physically resemble the late Stuart McLean, but he manages to
pull off his folksy story-telling style to a tee and even gets his mellow
drawl spot on. Those who have listened regularly to McLean’s radio
show will already be familiar with the misadventures of Dave and Morley,
but would never have heard the Canadian raconteur divulge the fictitious
couple’s fantasies – actually, only Morley’s fantasies,
Dave is still pretty clueless when it comes to his wife’s needs.
Dicecco brillantly presents three stories: Dave and Morley entertaining
friends Kelly and Tony for the evening - and the entire night, after their
visitors leave the couple embark on carnal adventures of their own, finally
their recorded risqué role-playing is inadvertently exposed at
a new year’s eve party.
Performer Mily Mumford
The only thing sexy about this show is the second word in the title. To be fair though, creator and performer Mily Mumford’s choice of title derives less from the show’s premise than the controversial comments by British biochemist Sir Tim Hunt about female scientists: "Three things happen when they are in the lab, you fall in love with them, or they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry." Women employed in scientific and engineering fields were outraged enough to push back by sharing photos on Twitter, using the hashtag #DistractinglySexy.
generous (compared with many Fringe venues) stage resembled something
like a crystal meth lab (my perception from watching Breaking Bad).
Ms.Mumford comes to the stage wearing a hazmat suit and an Einstein
wig, which is soon abandoned in favour of a lab coat over black underwear,
following a session of “Strip Dodge-ball. (The Einstein wig was
intended to mimic Tim Hunt, but it didn’t quite work).
Her Name Was Mary
Performance Dates September 8,9,11,12,15,17, 2017 at Studio 16
Performers Bonnie Duff, Sachi Nisbet, Taylor Scott and Emily Doreen Wilson
Her Name Was Mary (the verb past tense is deliberate) is apparently inspired by true events. Essentially, it’s a drama that chronicles a collection of critical moments shared between two schoolgirls arriving at puberty together. One is anorexic, the other is considering going in the same direction. With elements of surrealism and realism juxtaposed, and with imaginary figures omnipresent on stage, yet only involved peripherally, the narrative seemed far too complex for a sixty-minute Fringe show that lacks cogent dramaturgy, staging and efficient movement from the actors. That’s not to say that the four people on stage didn’t work hard to make this play a success. The subject is far too weighty and the writing too uneven for emerging talent to be able to handle. In some scenes, the two protagonists, Mary and Amy are talking directly to each other, then, suddenly they each walk across to opposite sides of the stage to continue the dialogue on telephones that end just as abruptly. Her Name Was Mary is obviously intended as a cautionary tale. It does show what can happen when there is a family disconnect and young women rely too heavily on ‘fairy godmothers’ who are perceived as protective big sisters.
7 Ways to Die, a Love Story
Performance Dates September 7,9,10,12,16,17, 2017 at Studio 16
Performers Joylyn Secunda and Alex Forsyth
This oddly titled, two-handed, full-mask mime show might be more aptly titled “Seven Ways to Attempt Suicide and Fail.” Simultaneously ludicrous and macabre, the 45-minute show (not 60 minutes as advertised in the program guide) follows two neighbours, Rachel and Irving (Joylyn Secunda and Alex Forsyth) who are, to all intents, strangers. They are isolated from the world at large and even from each other. Irving is consumed with his paintings, Rachel is absorbed with ending it all. Fortunately, she really sucks at suicide. She doesn’t lack imagination, as she conjures up a miscellany of methods: electrocution, drowning, suffocation, incineration and jumping onto train tracks. It’s in the execution that proves to be her shortcoming.
There is no dialogue.
Forsyth and Secunda communicate their emotions to themselves and the audience
through exaggerated movement and a range of recorded music that includes
classical, hip-hop and anything in between. Despite what seems like a
morbid premise, the two performers exude a certain charm and a real penchant
for physical comedy.
Performance Dates September 7,9,10,14,16,17, 2017 at Revue Stage
Kevin P. Gilday
2017 John Jane