Returning to the Fringe is like returning to summer camp, and the first day is a reunion of comaraderie and comparison: hugs and a quick catch up with those who've returned—staff, volunteers, performers—and a lament for those who didn't; assessing changes around the Island and other venues; continuing debates as though they ended yesterday and not last September: Die Roten Punkte or Jem Rolls?; St. Ambroise pale ale or red?; and is TJ Dawe really any good?
The Fringe, like camp, lasts just over a week, and so conversations, friendships, decisions and activities occur at hyper-speed, all revolving around the shows: the schedule for the shows, the gossip, the predictions, the favouritism, the times in between at the bar. Part of my plan this Fringe was to limit the number of solo shows I attended. After two fringe days and four shows, I've failed. But I've got nine days left.
Teaching Shakespeare: an English prof in love with Shakespeare and in love with his love of Shakespeare, which is only a thin mask over his lost and failed dreams. C'mon, we've all had one. This show was one of the first shows I saw at the Vancouver Fringe seven years ago and is still totally engaging.
False Creek Community Centre: Sun. Sep. 12@17:30, Mon. Sep. 13@21:15. Wed. Sept 15@19:25.
Antoine Feval: an inept Victorian doofus becomes a sidekick to London's most notorious thief under the mistaken belief he's actually a detective. Funny, some decent word play and silly voices, but by 30 minutes in, it already felt long and worn, and it runs a full 75. Not as good as last year's Power of Ignorance.
Revue Stage: Sat. Sep. 11@20:30, Tue. Sep. 14@17:15, Thu Sep 16@22:30, Fri Sep 17@18:50, Sun Sep 19@13:30.
A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup: the most fun I didn't understand. A girlish Butoh clown mimes, sings, dances under musical raindrops, plays eyeball tennis, uses a whole roll of toilet paper for her bowel movement. Japanese performer Shoshinz first came to Vancouver five years ago as an English student, her first time out of Japan, and she admitted after the show, she felt very more happy to return.
Performance Works: Sat, Sept. 11@6:50 pm, Mon, Sept. 13@8:30 pm, Wed, Sept. 15@7:40 pm, Thu, Sept. 16@5:00 pm, Sun, Sept. 19@8:00 pm.
House: an angry man in therapy, because his mom is possessed, his dad is the saddest man, his wife is his third cousin and hates him, his sister is in love with a dog. Jon Paterson (from 2003's Boy Groove) is a great performer all on his own, but the resolution of this one...not sure.
Havana: Sat, Sept. 11@4:00 p.m., Sun, Sept. 12@9:15 p.m., Mon, Sept. 13@7:15 p.m., Wed, Sept. 15@9:00 p.m., Thurs, Sept. 16@7:15 p.m., Sat, Sept. 18@5:45 p.m.
By day three, last year's Fringe no longer matters and it's time to focus on the times ahead. On my list today: 52 Pick Up, A Brief History of Romantic Love, Fucking Stephen Harper, Wicked Shorts.