Fringe thoughts

Some quick notes about plays at this year's Fringe fest:

Wide Load

Kinda lecture-heavy for a burlesque show, this show features two dancing fatties (their term) who take the audience on an irony-laced walk through our fat-phobia.  Worth seeing for the amazing postmodern dance number that actually held the audience in a state of shock for a few minutes: a rare feat in our badass more-controversial-than-thou entertainment culture.  I was impressed by how the show perturbed and provoked discussion.  My friends from California kept saying, "Having a good body image is fine, but what about the health risks??"  As long as we're lecturing, I would have liked to hear about fat as a class issue, but that's maybe opening another kettle of fish.

Miss Sugarpuss Must Die!

Holly Gauthier-Frankel seduces with killer takes on cabaret blues classics and talented tit twirling in this coming-of-age story about surviving neglect and abuse and discovering herself as a burlesque dancer.  At the end of the opening show, she was dizzy from success and almost couldn't bring herself to leave the stage: a sweet moment.

Wolf Me Talk

I enjoyed watching the wolf stand on its head and hang suspended from a rope.  Apart from that, this play convinced me that wolves should stay out of the theatre, relegated to ironic t-shirts and unoriginal indie band names.  Two actors in KISS-reminiscent wolf makeup blabber for 35 minutes in an over-enunciated deep-speak about whether it's a good idea to embrace death. 

Shades of Grey

Black Box Montreal's production sees four actors decked out in stylish silver-screen greys and 1950s accents as they confront three Twilight Zone-inspired tales of the paranormal.  The first two stories are tightly written, kitsch and funny.  The third is a pointless rehearsal of a futuristic totalitarian vision in which a librarian, who is a perfect 21st century liberal, is to be executed for being obsolete.  This story worked best when it seemed to be an ironic take on 1950s paranoia, but it seemed to be trying to make a genuine criticism of totalitarianism but without going beyond the fairly generally accepted notion that mechanical devotion to a violent state is not a good thing.

7 (x1) Samurai

Great clowning by David Gaines, who brings to life dozens of samurai by himself with enough colour that we're able to follow who's who even in the midst of hilarious, ultraviolent battle scenes.  Watching a white guy doing caricatures of the Japanese would be squeamishly offensive if Gaines hadn't done such close research on the vocal style and affects of Kurasawa's characters (though occasionally when the characters speak English they lapse into stereotype, substituting Ls for Rs in a cheap joke that reminded me of some of the more embarrassing moments of Monty Python). 


Popular Posts