From Chasing Rainbows to War on Day Three of Victoria Fringe Festival

No, I could not find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I did find myself at the edge of town and in the heart for two enduring performances. One almost slipped by me since leprechauns are elusive and the other, must I go into “War?”

Paper Street Theatre Company has been around for years, and I’ve always noticed their many nerdy themed offerings. Sadly, I have missed some of those performances from long ago. Now, I make a point of always seeing them during Fringe season and make a better during the other parts of the year to see their shows. One day, I hope they will decide to put on Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft again.

‘Tween Earth and Sky

Location:
Fairfield Hall (1303 Fairfield)

Dates:
Aug 27 08:15pm
Aug 28 07:45pm
Sep 2 6:00pm
Sep 3 2:00pm

Passes available through Ticket Rocket

The Irish embrace the supernatural world as a matter of fact more so than any other culture. This way of life comes through with many a legend from the Emerald Isle and at the Victoria Fringe Festival, Mark Lyon shows he how close he is to that realm in the tales he regales audiences with. He is of Irish descent and travelled to this country to soak in the life as part of his research. He steps onto the stage fully dressed in early period Irish attire, shillelagh n’ all, and it helps sell the show.

Out of the many tales available, four very traditional stories are adapted to the spoken word and they are very thrilled to hear. My favourite is Timothy O’Kane and the Corpse. I’m not sure why I had Hellboy 2 on my mind but I could not help but be reminded of the scene when Hellboy was carrying Rasputin on his back and travelling the underworld. Another pick is a cautionary tale where a deal with the devil is made. Shades of the narrative from Faust can be felt here.

This performer is no stranger to the paranormal. He is the author of San Francisco Ghosts and developed the Haunted Nevada City / Grass Valley walking tour. Last year, he partnered with Marion Jeffery to produce Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately, the Milk (review can be found here) for Fringe. Sometimes he’s a producer and other times as a performer. His skills as a storyteller shine when he’s in full character mode, and his impish looks help make me think he may be one of the wee folk himself.

4 Blokes out of 5

War: Improv is Hell

WAR: Improv is HellLocation:
Victoria Event Center
(1415 Broad)

Dates:
Aug 28 – 8:30pm
Aug 30 – 7:15pm
Aug 31 – 7:15pm
Sep 2 – 8:45pm

Best to buy in advance through Ticket Rocket

Dave Morris’ Paper Street Theatre Company never fails to disappoint! From my first exposure to them years ago with Improvised Quentin Tarantino [review can be read here] to Dungeons and Dragons and later The Playful Eight, I was hooked! Some might say they are obsessed with this particular filmmaker, but if you look at their yearly offerings, they are not. I’m looking forward to their Zombie Christmas and Tribute to Ray Bradbury.

During the Victoria Fringe Festival, they are going to War! Trying to improvise this is most likely hell. This subject is tough to tackle head-on. Nobody wants to glamorize the fact and the movies of today look at more at the lives affected by conflict. Some may find solace or escape from the every day by signing up and being sent into service, but what if they survive and come back home … what could they face? Will they be branded a hero or a villain? Not every sortie has winners.

The Saturday night show explores those thoughts and the camaraderie between the cast — Byron Kjeldsen, Missie Peters, Scott Thompson, Chris Gabel, Nicole Malcolm, Christina Patterson, Dominik Buconjic, Brooke Cameron — is certainly evident. Dan Godlovitch did the sound and Emma Dickerson was on lights; they helped bring minimalist theatre to life and helped make me feel I was in the jungle. In other shows, they always show they are on top of the game to ensure the right kinds of sounds play when needed.

In this particular show, the story presented was about a well-honed platoon getting a new member, Jenkins. Not everyone trusts him. He narrates his experiences and just what he experiences is a fitting look at the conflict contained within. That is, to explore what war is like with the relationships you have to make if you want to survive. Is this group a Band of Brothers? The ideas offered up by audiences help define the platoon’s objective and becomes the story’s title. The framework in which the performers are navigating around is set, and to see them work these ideas in are always flawless. I managed to see them again another night and what I assumed is correct. There’s a rough outline of which how a performance goes and the cast changes a bit. On certain nights, Morris will be present. Some nights have more laughs to guffaw at, and other nights they are attempting to do serious drama. With such a serious subject as war, sometimes the humour presented borders on black comedy.

I did wonder how the show would pan out if I was to bring up the Battle of Thermopylae (300) or the Trojan War as the setting. People may think I’m going too far back in history to see war recounted on stage. Some Improv shows allow the audience to define more of what can happen than others. In this case, although I would love to see the entire company on stage recreating either, can it be pulled off in an epic scale at the Victoria Event Center?

4½ Blokes out of 5

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