The weekend had me frequently Fringing the evening hours away than the afternoon. More acts will be starting mid-week, and for those still trying to figure out what to see next, there’s only a few days remaining for the shows I have looked at. To those who have not gone to one of Atomic Vaudeville‘s shows, you will be pleased to know they will be producing this Halloween’s Rocky Horror Show and have two original musicals in the works. Of course, they will always be a staple to top off the first weekend of the Victoria Fringe Festival.
But before I got to the third show of the night, I was at:
A Comedy Magic Show
St. Andrew’s Kurt Hall
Sep 1 8:00 pm
Sep 2 2:45 pm
Sep 3 9:45 pm
David Eliot combines comedy with magic in his show, and he’s not afraid of revealing some of the tricks of the trade. He teaches audiences how to find that one card in a 52 card deck when you have someone else randomly select one, and he improves upon it when it somehow appears elsewhere! Though most of the legerdemain has been seen before, performed by other magicians, just how different each performer changes it up keeps seeing them again refreshing.
Part of any spell requires mastering slight of hand and using distraction so audiences are not aware of an item being switched out or knowing there’s a spare item in a bag. To enjoy these type of shows requires suspending belief, and when you have a charismatic individual such as Eliot on stage, he’ll charm the pants off you and you will not even realize it.
“Kurt Cobain” was apparently in the audience at the show I was at and he tried to trip Eliot up. This magician rolled with it. The laughs were all over, and to wonder how he performed some of his tricks had me guessing and watching where his hands went. The evening was time well spent, and while I did not try to figure out how some of his illusions worked. I was in awe at how he turned three ropes into one, put one man’s wedding ring inside a walnut that was inside a lemon which was in a bag bond to that man’s wrist. I have seen this trick performed on Tricked (on YTV) and to see it performed live was simply AMAZE-ing.
4 Blokes out of 5
FUNNNER Destroys Shakespeare
St. Andrew’s Kirk Hall
Aug 28 09:15 pm
Aug 30 08:45 pm
Not everybody will understand what is going on in this show which is the epitome of what Fringe theatre is about: experimenting with new ideas. This production can only be described as surreal poetry slam with puppets and two performers. In a show about a janitor who finds love from the most unlikeliest of people, a female librarian who is just as isolated from the world (she’s addicted to Shakespeare’s works), what they journey through feels like a surreal dreamscape that’s vaguely in the style of Alice in Wonderland. Amusingly, this cleaner likes to tap-dance on the job.
Local performers Jon Funnner (playing the Janitor) and Meesh Beam (librarian) partnered up to create this work. Although I left the show semi-confused, my lasting impression is in seeing this duo swim through a sea of paper (representing pages from The Complete Works of Shakespeare) and getting intimate. Book porn is the only way I can describe the moment.
Also, hearing references to the former location of the Emily Carr library made for some allusions which only locals who lived in Victoria, British Columbia long enough will get. I used to frequent the place a lot before Uptown Mall was built. There were some books they carried which were not available in other branches, and to entertain the notion there was a basement hardly anyone could access certainly brought back memories. When the place burnt down, I’m sure the show had to make some reference to it. I can not say for certain if it happened as I had to miss the last 10 minutes (The show did run longer than the time listed) because I had to rush out to go get my ticket for the last show of the night six blocks away:
Atomic Vaudeville’s Sunday Funday
Victoria Event Centre (1415 Broad)
This cabaret is an event frequent Fringers often go to and usually, it is billed as a fund-raiser to keep this particular festival going. I feel that this show is on my must-not-miss list. Newbies are welcome too, as you can never predict what can go on. The shenanigans are not quite the same each year. I introduced this staple last year (review can be read here), and this night had a nerdy highlight which, if only there was room, I would be rolling on the floor laughing out loud!
David Radford’s lamentations, “Let the Wookie Win, Confessions of a Co-Pilot” was spot-on perfect. Everything a Star Wars fan knows, including The Force Awakens, was included. From describing how he met Han Solo for the first time to his death, just how much this big walking carpet cared for the captain, well … you had to be there. Ther were nuances in everything I heard which told me he knows his lore. Since these shows are special one offs and there was nobody in sight to record it on their cell (I could have, but it was off and I would have lost a minute of the whole thing by the time it fully turned on), I have to say: this wookie was pissed! He had hoped to inherit the Falcon but instead still remains a side-kick.
Britt Small returns to MC and actress Amanda Lisman (Suits, American Gods) is back to channel her inner clown. After attending a few of these shows, I can start to recognize a pattern. The evening will have acts from Fringe performers from out of town. The Birdmann and Egg are back and the stunt he pulls off this year might give him tinnitus if he’s not careful. Holly Brinkman gives an amusing and unexpected lesson in how to pee. Penny Ashton also offered a few jokes which cracked me up and with this tease, I wonder just how she will tame her veracity down for Olive Copperbottom: A New Musical by Charles Dickens, which I will be seeing later this week.
This year, the show decided to get political given current news happening in town. Certain historical statues are being taken down and not everyone approves. There’s a reference to what’s happening in the States in the showdown. The dance-off went nowhere, and to bring peace the performers did the polka and I’m sure everybody left with a smile afterwards. It’s tough not to enjoy this style of music. I was left humming the title song from The Partridge Family of all things. I’m sure that’s what Atomic Vaudeville wants to do, to have everyone feeling happy.