Reviewers Douglas Fillmore, Jennifer Bourque and Andrea Kikuchi tell us what they loved about Day 2 at the Fundy Fringe Festival.
The sixth annual Fundy Fringe Festival is underway in Saint John. The second full day of programming included 21 performances across stages at the BMO Theatre, Sanctuary Theatre, Interaction Concert Hall, NB Museum, Saint John Arts Centre and the Five & Dime.
Saint John fringe bingers Douglas Fillmore, Jennifer Bourque and Andrea Kikuchi put together this quick recap of his evening’s highlights.
Glass Closets by James McClure
In a washroom, at a wedding reception , within a small UNESCO heritage sight for bigots, fidelity seems lost on gym rats and lab rats. Key protagonist Morgan has locked himself in a glass closet for everyone to see, but still refuses to come out. Morgan’s boyfriend Lance is getting tired of his excuses and wants out. Meanwhile Uncle Wade and former school bully Craig have some issues of their own. It all culminates aptly in this screwball comedy that is both funny and painful. This comedy by James McClure is another gem of the Fringe and well worth admission.
***** 5 STARS *****
Jetpack Superheroes: Musical Comedy Show by John and Paul and David
What does a box drum, a flip book guide, flag underwear, a disco shirt, a time traveling child performer, and a book of Canadian pick up lines have in common? Jetpack Superheroes of course. With eleven comic and original songs and a wicked sense of humour, these three performers transcend comedy and music. During a microphone failure, this troupe kept to the theatre mantra, The Show Must Go On! , much to the joy of the audience. If you want to be thoroughly entertained this is another must see productions.
***** 5 STARS *****
25 by Elliot Delage
Memories are at best, a fragile thing. One turn of the screw, or one flip of the switch can take it
all away. 25 is a faulty memory play, by which I mean incomplete until the very end.
Breadcrumbs are left along the path, removed and laid again, this time in a different direction. Echoes of a truncated life are heard at the beginning and at the end of this production, which become one and the same. This is a complicated, but worthwhile play. It’s a piece of art that seems as rare and plain as a blank piece of art paper that you, as a collaborator, have to fill in yourself. If you like the challenge of a good puzzle, this one’s for you! Enjoy.
***** 5 STARS *****
Educated Askholes by Many-Lynn and Joseph Nixon
Educated Askholes is laugh out loud funny and does not disappoint. I left the show with a smile on my face as did the other audience members. The performers Joseph Nixon and Mandy-Lynn Donovan have exceptional chemistry on the stage and they have a knack for bringing the material to life. The show takes a comedic approach on the subject of stalking and turns the uncomfortable topic into pure genius. The musical aspects compliment the story line and the entire performance flows beautifully together. Educated Askholes also pokes fun at what we must do from day to day to simply get by; therefore making the story easily identifiable for it’s viewers. This show is perfect for you if you want to laugh and tap your feet to the beat of the catchy tunes. Don’t miss out on this comedic masterpiece cleverly written and performed by it’s creators Joseph and Mandy-Lynn!
****4 STARS ****
Dances of the Middle East – A Regional Exploration by Nawal Docuette
Dances of the Middle East will take you on visually stunning and ear-pleasing journey through Cairo, Egypt, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. The dancers wear beautiful, colourful costumes that add to the overall Middle East experience and will leave you feeling and seeing the sheer beauty of a whole different culture. In addition the audience is offered a brief history to each of the dances. This performance encouraged audience participation and I had the opportunity to try a social dance with others audience members. The music will keep your toes tapping and your eyes will be mesmerized by the graceful choreography.
****4 STARS ****
The Waiting Gentlewoman by Mark Foster
On the surface, The Waiting Gentle Woman is about the breakdown of a marriage. It begins with an argument that takes place off stage, and then the actors come into view. The first few moments are unspoken as they prepare for a stage production – an adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. It is when the actors are not communicating that we get the true essence of how toxic the relationship is.
There are a lot of significant elements to this play. They are young artists trying to convince the other (and themselves) they are relevant in their craft. It is their success, not the lack thereof, that leads to the relationship’s demise. It is cleverly written, though the denouement is not as satisfying as I had hoped, and there were missed opportunities for humour. The character “Judith”, with only a handful of lines, steals the show. Be sure to pick up a playbill.
***3 STARS ***
Passing Notes by Aleena Needham
Aleena Needham’s acting is impeccable. In her deeply moving solo performance, she uses lighting to portray the time and place of each character. These distinct, yet interweaving, storylines are narrated by a man named Henry; a motivation speaker (of sorts) named Maeve; and a mischievous young girl named Nettie. Needham perfectly executes each one as she adopts their mannerisms and accents. At points, I was so absorbed, I forgot it was the same person playing the three characters. At the end, I left wanting more. My advice is to watch it with a good friend, then have coffee after. There is a lot to ponder here.
Definitely a must see in this year’s festival.
*****5 STARS *****
For a complete list of performances, venues and ticket information (all shows just $10), visit www.fundyfringefestival.com
Fundy Fringe Festival runs until August 25.