; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: September 2019

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Fringe: Rape is Real and Everywhere

I ended my day of Fringe festing with rape jokes, of course! Yes, I attended the Rape is Real & Everywhere comedy hour at the Cultch, and I highly recommend it!

Yes it's heavy material but it's also funny and hilarious and healing and inspiring.

It's stand-up comedy, it's told by survivors of sexual assault, and it's well worth your time.

Rape is Real and Everywhere is on four more times during the Fringe Fest! Don't miss out!

Fringe: Ludwig and the Hammerklavier

I didn't intend on seeing this show, but some friends wanted to go because they like Beethoven and classical music in general. Me not so much. So given that context, I can't say I enjoyed this production.

It felt like watching your drunk uncle discovering pecha kucha presentations and indulging himself on the life of Beethoven. Maybe this would have worked better as a full on lecture rather than under the guise of a "show."  Sure, the actor playing Ludwig could play the piano and that was nice, but unlike the one-woman show Josephine, I was not transported to the time of Beethoven nor did I believe that this actor was him. Yes, he had passion, and yes it's tough to do a one-man show and memorize all those lines and put yourself out there, so definitely kudos for that.

I wouldn't recommend this show to the general public, as I didn't really get much out of it myself. I wanted to learn more about Beethoven, but I found the facts coming at me too fast and furious and all over the place that I couldn't keep up. The folks who did show up for the show enjoyed it and gave him a standing ovation, including my friends. Perhaps those who are familiar with classical music will enjoy this and get the jokes and references and name dropping that uncultured plebs like myself don't.

Ludwig and the Hammerklavier is on four more times during Fringe.

Fringe: LIFT

Immediately following Amelie, I caught another musical which couldn't have been more different.  Lift is an obscure and unmoving British musical about loneliness.  We are introduced to a myriad of characters who wind up taking the same elevator one morning. Told through flashbacks and song, we learn the individual stories each person brings with them.

I have to admit however, I was completely lost and had a hard time following who was who and who was related to what story and basically found the entire thing confusing. There was a main character with a guitar whom I thought was named Gabe, but then he kinda takes the backseat and there's another guy named Gabe who is either gay or bi or closeted? Or is he the same Gabe but just a different side of the same character? Then there was a Sarah/Kate mess, thrown in with some online avatars come to life - I really had no idea who was playing what.

There were a few microphone mishaps which rattled the audience since the volume was so loud, so that also didn't help better things for me. I wanted to like this show because it's got LGBTQ content and I love a good musical, but I just can't get behind it completely.

For musical buffs however, they do get five more chances to see Lift during Fringe Fest! 

Fringe: Amelie

Today I took in four Fringe shows. I know there are others out there who do more of a marathon but I am exhausted, and I am not holding back on my reviews.

First up, Amelie.

Wow, this was a lovely way for me to begin my day! This musical holds a sweet charming innocence to it.

Set against a starry sky background, the cast turned the set into a cafe and then to a busy subway station and then to some popular neighbourhoods in Paris, all by moving a few set pieces around and letting the audience use their imagination - fitting since Amelie's imagination is one of her key characteristics.

I wish some of the actors had projected a bit more, but there was definitely some beautiful singing in this production. For those who are unfamiliar with the story, or haven't seen the movie, they may feel a bit lost at times. It's been more than a decade since I watched the movie so I had a hard time remembering some of the details, and I couldn't depend on this production to fill in those story holes for me. Perhaps some more elaborate set pieces would have worked well, i.e. a photo booth?

Overall, the musical fills your heart with love. It's the story of a charismatic but introverted woman and her good deeds she does for her friends and neighbours. In the end, there is a love story as well. Who even falls in love like this anymore these days? It was a wonderful little throwback to less digital times. And with the kindness and heart in this production, it's exactly the type of show that our world needs right now.

Amelie has five more shows left during the Fringe!

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Fringe: Two Modern Noh Plays by Yukio Mishima

Last night's Fringe outing for me was Two Modern Noh Plays by Yukio Mishima. I was intrigued to see this because I was curious about the traditional Japanese art form of Noh theatre, and I knew of Mishima from his autobiographical Confessions of a Mask and wanted to see more work by this pioneering gay Asian writer.

I later learned that originally this piece contained Five plays and that Noh theatre normally has little comedic scenes in between the plays The two works chosen for the Fringe included a story about a poet who encounters an old woman in a park and realizes she is beautiful after being transported to the past through her stories. The other work involved a woman waiting for a man to return to her, while being held captive by another woman who enjoys the unrequited love of her prisoner.

I also found out that Mishima's work isn't completely traditional Noh theatre, though it does use elements of it, i.e. the masks and some dancing, a supernatural element. Overall though, it put the No into Noh for me. With so many picks at the Fringe, there will always be hits and misses, and unfortunately to me, this was not one I would tell people to rush out to see, unless they were avid fans of Mishima.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Fringe Festival: Josephine

I believe I have just witnessed something magical. Truly. 

Tymisha Harris stars in this one woman show about the life of Josephine Baker.

It is full of heart, and breathtakingly beautiful in its simplicity, which includes the undeniable talent of Harris and her absolutely joyous performance.

I can't believe this was the first show I went to see at the Fringe. How can anything else even measure up after this? It's going to be a tough act to follow, that's for sure. In fact, I may just abandon all other plans and just go back again and again to see Josephine, if only to watch Harris deliver her devastating rendition of The Times They Are a-Changing.

The show has humour as well, with just enough interactiveness to bring laughter and an all around feel good mood without the awkwardness or embarrassment that usually accompanies shows that break down that fourth wall.

Right now, I have nothing else to compare it to, but I do know that if you only get to see one show this Fringe season, I am placing all of my bets on Josephine.

Josephine runs for five more shows, so get your tickets now before they're all gone.

Monday, 2 September 2019

FRINGE season is upon us!

It's September and that means it's the start of Festival season, and we love to begin it with THE FRINGE FESTIVAL!

From September 5-15, check out some unique theatre performances around town! Stay tuned here for some reviews! What will you be watching?