B.U. Does FRINGE: Entry #14 (So We Thought We Could Act, Danny & the Deep Blue Sea, Canuck Cabaret, Soir de Premiere, Shlong For
Fringe may be over, but we've still got a few shows to talk about!
So We Thought We Could Act
When you're writing a show that involves time travel and the devil, it's easy to get carried away into a sea of absurdity and go too far. Luckily, the good ladies of The Beast/Monamie found a way to balance this out with So We Thought We Could Act, a mildly ridiculous but mostly just laughter-inducing show about two average girls trying to make it as actresses, with the help of the devil. Starting in the 20s and clawing their way through the next 6 decades in only 60 minutes, the girls need to deal with the constant resurgence of an arch enemy from high school who becomes instantly famous upon her arrival to New York, and has no trouble at all advancing in life, due to her good looks.
The show has a surprisingly smooth flow, often using songs as transitions, and generally not allowing for any scenes to be too drawn out. I particularly loved the funeral scene, due in large part to the wicked priest. Man, that guy was hilarious. But so were the two lead actresses! Overall, this turned out to be a great show. I'm looking forward to future productions by these people!
P.S.: This show scores extra points for mentioning an aardvark.
P.P.S.: This show loses points for briefly bashing Jack Lemmon.
P.P.P.S.: These points are regained for using the Benny Hill chase music.
Danny & the Deep Blue Sea
John Patrick Shanley, you are one hell of a good writer. Problem Solver Productions blessed us this year with their performance of Danny & the Deep Blue Sea, which absolutely blew me away. From the very first lines in this story, the chemistry between the two actors is palpable, instantly drawing the audience into a complete state of enthrallment. I was hooked quickly and couldn't look away as the action went back and forth between the two, with both characters fighting themselves but finding a way not to fight each other. The story of these two lonely strangers who slowly turn into lovers if punctuated with violence, sex and introspection, and makes for a thrilling 70 minutes of theatre. Both actors were absolutely spellbinding in their portrayals of their respective characters, and merit more attention than this play received. This wasn't my favourite drama of this year's Fringe, but it was pretty damn close. An amazing play by an amazing crew which I look forward to seeing again one day.
Paul Hutchinson + Sharon Nowlan = guaranteed good times. Add in some special guests, and you've got 60 minutes of unforgettability (a word I've just made up) to look forward to! I caught the midnight edition of the Canuck Cabaret, which means things got a little bit dirtier than they normally would, and I was extra grateful. Paul regaled us with tales of bathhouses, lust, and awkward encounters with former students. Sharon blew us away with her lightshow and whipping routine. Tamara Robert joined in for a hilarious skit involving superheroes writing personal ads (a bit which was deemed worthy of being performed as the "Best of 13th Hour" show the following night), and also told us a fantastic story of a particularly filthy nature (which I'm keeping to myself!). Elizabeth Blue shared a sweet story with us as well, and got to plug her show Am I Blue, which has received considerable praise. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to see it, but I wish I had! Finally, Theatre Reverb joined us and performed a number involving Kung Fu Fighting, noodles, ying-yang pasties, and various acrobatics. Top this all off with what I like to refer to as Sharon & Paul's Flower Nipples routine, and what you end up with is a diverse display of shameless entertainment!
Let's be honest here, did anything you just read sound like it wouldn't be awesome? This show was one of my favourites this year, and I wish I could have attended it more than once. Can't wait to see what these two come up with next year!
Soir de Première
It feels a bit weird, writing a review in English for a show that was designed and performed in French. It makes sense though, because the show was aimed at way more than just francophones. It included both French and English, but mostly rocked the house with its slapsticky skits, relying more on body language than spoken language to make itself known. These guys had captured the attention of Fringers both with their Fringe-for-all skit and their appearance on the 13th Hour, so I was a bit disappointed by the small crowd that was present when I finally got to see their show, on the second to last day at the festival. The small audience didn't seem to affect the quality of the performance in any way, and possibly even enhanced it. Les 3 Garçons put on an amazing high-energy show, mixing in a few acrobatics with a ton of not-so-subtle, 3 Stooges-style comedy that had me laughing uncontrollably. This show was definitely underrated, there's no doubt about it. I think the anglo crowd was put off by the French title, which they really shouldn't have been. These guys crushed the language barrier, and some non-francophone friends of mine adored the show, despite missing out on a few tiny bits of dialogue. Overall, it was simply a great show!
Shlong Form Improv
After seeing this crew everywhere for the past ten days, I finally got the chance to see them perform. It was my 36th show of the Fringe, I was getting a bit overwhelmed with all of the different performances I had just seen, but I was willing to take in one more hour of awesomeness. And it was provided! Though they showed a few signs of fatigue, the Shlong crew (god I love saying that) put on a fun improv show featuring stories about bi-polar bears, odd car salesmen, three-legged races, and self-esteem enhancing bakeries. Honestly, I love these people to death, and can't wait to see them perform again. Lucky for the rest of the world, these guys are on tour all summer, and you can catch them at sooooo many Fringes. Check out their full schedule here, go catch their show when they hit your hometown, and tell them Al sent you! Personally, I hope to catch them in Victoria, come August.
...That's all, folks!