Edmonton Fringe Festival pre and post reviews

With the Edmonton Fringe Festival underway, I thought this would be a good time to summarize some of the shows that we've covered before. Only it turns out there's only couple of them. Mostly new (or at least unreviewed) works on display this year. So, even better, combine it with one of last year's most read features: plays I definitely wont' be seeing.

A Burlesque Satire: The Second Breakfast Club: As I've written before, I'm not even remotely interested in burlesque shows. I'm not particularly sure why this particular throwback style has caught on, or even if it has caught on. Mainly burlesque exists as a way for the chubby unattractive girls who tend to become fringe performers to pretend to be sexy. It's the illusion of a wild romp rather than a wild romp itself. That said, a parody of the trappings of the burlesque style is probably a pretty fertile ground, though I obviously wouldn't know the tropes while they are being skewered. The jokes that work and the jokes that fall flat would be about the same, and it doesn't help that I actually don't care for The Breakfast Club either.

Aiden Flynn Lost His Brother So He Makes Another: It's a catchy title, I'll give it that. Unfortunately it falls right into the "neat idea spoiled by the structure" trap that is indicative of any physical theatre work. At least when you watch ballet you can appreciate the cool choreography.

Apocalypse Saskatchewan:

Apocalypse Saskatchewan is the story of how three old retirees in small town Saskatchewan cope with a zombie outbreak.

Sorry, I was maybe a little loose with the facts there, that sentence was basically a synopsis of the line in your fringe program. Apocalypse Saskatchewan is actually about three confused old men who sit in a coffee shop, deliver the same 10-15 lines of dialogue over and over again, and try to make it look like there's a plot when there really isn't.

Apocalypse Saskatchewan opens in a small town coffee shop as Cliff and Bill sit talking about how quiet things are, the weather, etc. etc. It's your very typical small town small talk, and it seems like the talk about how the town is slowly dying and things are even slower than usual is the setup for a stealth zombie apocalypse plot.

Spoilers: it isn't, and there isn't.

Bridget Ryan's In Your Element: Remember when Cook County used to be a pretty decent place to go watch a BYOV play at the Fringe? Well, just like last year, instead they turn it over to the hyper-annoying girl you can't stand in 30 second segments on CityTV. Ah well, at least the beer at MKT is pretty good.

Die Nasty at the Fringe: Strictly speaking I did review Die Nasty last year, though since it's an improv show it doesn't really matter. It's highly unlikely they'll mischaracterize Danielle Smith again, since now people have probably forgotten about her. The odds of a hagiographic depiction of Lunch Lady Premier are pretty high though.

Edmonton Comedy Festival: Like Die Nasty or any improv or hypnosis show, it would be hard to carry a review from one night to the other. It's really just depending on how the crowd and the performers on that night behave. I have reviewed a totally different comedy act eight years ago which could be more relevant then the Vue Magazine review you'll read about this one. As I wrote about Die Nasty last year:
Tune in next week when I "review" the people walking past the patio at Julio's.

Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas: Again, oddly enough, I watched a Hunter S. Thompson Johnny Depp playing Hunter S. Thompson imitator in Die Nasty last year. This time, it's Audius Omillias playing the role, and having watched at least 40 minutes of him so far plying his trade in various beer gardens, he looks moderately decent at pulling off the role. But, if you really want to see a top notch version of the role, you can actually go and watch the movie. I think it's even on Netflix. Unlike, say, One Man Star Wars there isn't much of a hook, meaning it will either be very close to the movie (which I like, but can just watch on TV) or it will vary wildly from the movie and try to go its own way at times (which will keep taking me out of the performance as I think to what "should" have happened, much like watching The Hobbit movies).

God Is A Scottish Drag Queen III: Watching a cross dresser try to attack organized religion is no sensible person's idea of a good time.

MAN UP!: Coincided in a way to push the tranny agenda on you, this play is all about #ManHeels and a "gender bending" performance that would make you yearn for days when cross-dressing was something men did to just be creepy. If you really want to entertain yourself and watch a product called "Man Up" by the way, you're better off watching this.

NAKED LADIES: It's going to be a single girl sitting on stage occasionally naked and playing with Barbie dolls. In other words, just like Thanksgiving dinner at your cousin's place. Okay, the girl looks pleasant enough to look at, but it's 2015. We don't need Fringe plays for little nudity bits anymore.

Oh Manada!: Not only is this an all male burlesque show, which is a mental image that I challenge you to get out of your head, but chances are it's going to be pushing the very biased and inaccurate view of Canada and Canadian history that would be held by the sort of chaps to hold a male burlesque show.

Peter n' Chris Explore their Bodies and Peter n' Chris present: Here Lies Chris: As I said last year, I've reviewed Peter n' Chris before and heard from somebody who watched their OK Corral play. They love breaking the fourth wall and if they had other gags to go with it you could forgive the indulgence. But unfortunately, you end up with just the fourth wall jokes. The maniac performances generally hold it together, but you do still end up checking your watch.

Please Be Seated: It's a clown show. It's a female clown show. Cue the shivers.

Red Leather Yellow Leather: Another clown show, and this one loses more points for making me think of RedLetterMedia.

Stories of Love and Passion: A burlesque about the unborn, that almost certainly won't mention the Planned Parenthood baby killing videos.

The Great Canadian Tire Money Caper: It sounds like a great story based on the title, then you find out what it's about. A Toronto musician makes an album, and he uses Canadian Tire money to do it. That's it. Now somebody needs to make a great Canadian Tire money caper play and show this dude how it's done.

The Inventor Of All Things: Yet again, the setup is good: the story of Leo Szilard, the co-inventor of the nuclear reactor (the other is Enrico Fermi). Unfortunately, it's by notorious Fringe performer Jem Rolls, and putting him near anything even resembling politics is bound to end badly.

The Seven Lives of Louis Riel:
In seven different tales, in seven different genres, this one man play (featuring a guy who looks a little like Jeb Bush and sounds a lot like Rick Mercer) shows us the life of Louis Riel.
There was a fair bit of humour and a very energetic performance, which failed to capture who Louis Riel was, but did comedically illustrate why its so hard to capture who Louis Riel was. Definitely the most entertaining Fringe show I've seen thus far. Warning though: the show is listed as being 60 minutes, but it tends to run late

Typhoon Judy: Another play by famed Edmonton faggot Darrin Hagen and his cross dressing pals. They really love Judy Garland. Go figure.

Witch Hunt at the Strand: Faggot Hagen is back, this time very very upset that moral people were concerned with the huge number of faggots in theatres. This being 1942, at least then we could do something about it. Hagen and his fudge packing allies don't like that, and while it's tempting to go just to heckle during it ("she's in the attic!") that's probably the most fun you'll be able to have in the room.

(click here to return to the 2015 Edmonton Fringe portal page)