I spent Friday night at the Conservatory of Music‘s Wood Hall for the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival‘s kickoff into the long weekend. This time will be the busiest for the show, as it is the final weekend. The weather forecast predicts temperatures on the high side and it will be bright; please be sure to put on sun protection. If I can survive the Summer’s last hurrah, then there’s a few more shows I’m interested in seeing. The buzz from the street is to not miss Interstellar Elder, and fortunately that’s taking place at night, when it’s cooler.
To get back into downtown Victoria, however, that’s if I …
AWAKEN (Actually, the show’s name is AWOKEN)
Sep 2 – 4:30pm
Proper grammar usage aside, if there’s any way to interpret what Ottawa based actor Nick Amottt’s work AWOKEN is about, I’m sure Hideaki Anno, director of the Japanese Animation Neon Genesis Evangelion can make better sense out of it. The characters Amott play are projections from different parts of Todd Silvano’s psyche. Each of them seem to have some kind of complex just like the anime. This nerdy recluse suffers from a condition known as ‘fatal familial insomnia.’ There is no known cure for this brain disease. It eventually leads to hallucinations, delirium and eventually death.
St Michael’s University School
3400 Richmond Rd
Sept 1 – 7:00pm
Sept 2 – 2:00pm and 7:00pm
This year’s offering from the St. Michael’s University School Musical Theatre program, The Drowsy Chaperone, owes its debt to appearing in at the Toronto Fringe Festival before getting adapted for a larger audience. To see this comedy return to its roots after a rousing tour and subsequent productions throughout the past decade and a half is always one of the many highlights at the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival. It is always worth the trip to the municipality of Gordon Head to this school’s auditorium to go see. The production is always tops because the educators at this particular institution ensure the students get the training they deserve and have a fun time while at it. This program cultivates talent and welcomes all youth interested in the performing arts.
This particular show has three performances left, and I feel this show is a must-not-miss for enthusiasts of this genre. This musical comedy was created by Don McKellar, Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. They performed it at a stag party for Bob Martin and Janet van de Graaf. Their namesakes even appear in this show-within-a-show. This performance looks at the life of a lonely individual (played by William Gao and Eva Kamimura) who looks at his life through the lens of a fictional recording circa 1920’s. This era was when Broadway became very popular and one of the genres that dominated included Ragtime (some swing was also heard too), The Drowsy Chaperone is an album that he so loves, and this narrator sums up the story and injects thoughts (from his life) about this show. This character is gender switched from time to time, as though one incarnation is how this individual is perceived within the musical.
A break will soon be coming as I have done two shows a day since the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival has started. Even fans of experimental theatre needs to rest before embarking on another round and I’m really looking forward to seeing Wes Borg‘s Get Me The F*CK out of Edmonton and St Michael’s University School’s Musical Theatre show Drowsy Chaperone at the end of the week.
Though for Monday night, I had to satisfy the literary nerd in me. FUNNER from Sunday night was just too unusual, and I needed a proper Shakespeare Fix, to which yesterday’s two shows fully succeeded in entertaining. The day also made me feel like I visited the worlds of several master storytellers than one:
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:
The Roxy Theatre (Venue 7)
2657 Quadra St
Yes, I’m going on a theme this year – to attend all the shows at a venue when they are back to back and when they fall into the category of horror, science fiction, mythology, supernatural or fantasy. The umbrella term is speculative and it covers the gambit to which I enjoy the most. I am generally up to date on in the world of popular culture. On day two, I was hanging out at some old haunts: the Roxy Theatre. I lived in the area during my childhood years, and always have fond memories of what was then when compared to now. Last night started “A Little Bit Zombie“-ish.
The Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival is celebrating its 31st year, and it has no signs of slowing down. The diversity each year offers is unique. Some are better than others given the type of shows I like to see, and I am surprised at the number of speculative type shows have not dwindled. I begin my coverage with one show which is a parody of a staple tourist attraction that most locals are familiar with: