Vancouver Fringe Festival 2013: Brian’s Picks
There is an excitement and electricity totally unique to Fringe Festivals. The volume and variety of shows and lottery-based selection system mean that every performance attended is a roll of the dice. Some will be riotously entertaining, some profoundly moving, and some inevitably cringe inducing. A Fringe is a smorgasbord of possibility and discovery.
With the Vancouver Fringe Festival nearly upon us (Sept. 5-15 on Granville Island), LMPR’s Brian Paterson has taken the opportunity to share his top five picks from among its 90 productions. Going only on the handful of words and small image in the program guide, these shows particularly piqued his interest and will see him take the plunge:
the night kitchen
A dark comedy where an actor comes unglued while trying to record a 30-second radio advertisements. Having written and recorded many such ads, the peculiarities of the process are very familiar; it will be fascinating to see where they go with the intriguing set-up. Adding to the excitement are the acclaim it has earned at other festivals and the fact that its creator and performer, Chris Earle, is an enormously accomplished artist who, among many other things, has directed five Second City mainstage productions.
‘Utter!’ spoken word
Seeing a truly gifted spoken word poet is an intoxicating experience quite unlike any other form of theatre. Through percussive, rhythmic performance the spoken word is transformed into something weightier and more powerful, imbuing a single performer on a bare stage with the emotional impact of a Mahler symphony. In this show, the ‘Ringmaster of the Spoken Word’ (- Three Weeks Edinburgh) shares the story of his unexpected heart failure on stage at the Edinburgh Fringe at the age of 30.
You Killed Hamlet, or Guilty Creatures Sitting at a Play
Naked Empire Bouffon Company
You haven’t had a proper Fringe experience until you’ve been offended- and this duo seem like probable candidates. An especially provocative and dark breed of clown, these bouffons put the audience on the defence- accusing us of killing Hamlet (the play, not the prince). Where it goes from here is a mystery, but I expect equal parts commentary and crassness, insight and insult.
Wolf Trek: Alone in the Woods
A one-man show follows the true story of a three week backwoods trek with a broken arm. Stories about wilderness survival are a literary fascination of mine- whether it is Jack London or Bill Bryson, Hatchet or Wild – so the subject matter is enough to intrigue. Seeing that it is dramaturged by TJ Dawe however, one of the finest Canadian creators of true-life one-man shows, earns it a spot on my must-see list.
A confession: I love Raymond Chandler, but dislike most ‘film noir’ productions- finding it to be an overdone trope. That being said, the team behind international Fringe sensation Red Bastard applying their demented take on the genre is an experience I would not soon miss. Even more intriguing, the work promises to be fully-interactive, with audiences playing an important role in the story’s telling.
Between the company track record, audience participation, and an 18+ rating for content and nudity, it is guaranteed to push personal and performance boundaries – and what more could one ask for at a Fringe?
The Vancouver Fringe Festival 2013 Proram Guide is now available so that audiences can plan their own theatrical expeditions.
We’d love to hear about your own discoveries and adventures- feel free to share your picks and reviews in the comments or tweet using the #VanFringe hashtag so that we can follow along!