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Monday Fringe

Carrie Villeneuve

I took advantage of a volunteer shift-free evening and saw two shows at Havana Theatre on Commercial Drive. The Havana is a BYOV for three shows, but The Seven Lives of Louis Riel, by another Fringe favourite of mine--actually, a theatre favourite of mine in general--written and performed by Ryan Gladstone of Monster Theatre, doesn't have a show time I can get to, so I've settled for Oh Winnipeg! A Surprising Musical Memoir, and Biographies of the Dead and Dying, both which have received consistently good reviews.

The full title of Oh Winnipeg! is completely accurate: it's surprising, it's musical, it's a memoir, and, although I've never been to Winnipeg, I feel that little exclamation point when people tell me they're from there. I was thoroughly charmed and entertained. John Pippus isn't the most experienced or polished performer at the Fringe--which he freely admitted in his post-performance chat--but that just endeared him to me even more.

And then I came crashing down during Biographies:

Biographies of the Dead and Dying - Trailer 2 from Sam Macmillan on Vimeo.

Did you get chills? I was fascinated with this two-person show written by Andrew Templeton, and there were parts I really, really liked--the changes of perspective, the music, the performance of Heather Lindsay, that it's decisively set in Canada--and parts I didn't like--the lighting at times was a hindrance, not a help; dragging the tub across the stage, why? And although this show will likely be produced again elsewhere, it's definitely 'fringy': whacked out, experimental and a little bit challenging.



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