January in Montreal could be as silent and still as a mausoleum.
Fortunately, it isn’t.
Put on those winter silks and get yourself down to the Old Port for the Centaur’s annual Wildside Festival. For nine days, hour-long performances of world-wide Fringe Festival-styled hits take to the stage. Expect comedy, drama, passion, music, and a much-needed dose of joy.
This year, I can vouch for The Morning After the Life Before, which is a heart-affirming two-woman show that looks at how Ireland passed its Marriage Equality act on May 24, 2015 against some difficult odds. The effects of the decision are epic and this show puts a human face on the struggle for equality. The show won the Centaur’s Best of the Fringe Award in 2017 and was best production in the London, Ontario fringe as well. The show is wicked funny and restores faith in humanity. (January 4: 7 p.m., January 6: 9 p.m., January 7: 3 p.m., January 10: 7 p.m., January 13: 9 p.m.)
Another one from this summer’s fringe festival is Pluck’d, where a queer, non-binary, anarchist Chinese person returns home to face a traditional, conservative family at Christmastime. This heart-wrenching show reminds us that it isn’t always easy to find our tribes. (January 4: 9 p.m., January 6: 7 p.m., January 9: 7 p.m., January 11: 9 p.m., January 12: 7 p.m.)
Other shows this year include Helen Simard’s Idiot, Gillian Clark’s Let’s Try this Standing, and CABAL Theatre’s Tragic Queens.
Alongside the performances are special evening “offside” shows, a vernissage, and a tribute to Nina Simone. Also, this year, Confabulation, Montreal’s long-running story-telling run by Matt Goldberg will curate true stories on the theme of “Eye of the Storm – stories of the quiet and the chaos”.
Don’t let the season go by without catching at least one of these gems.
The Wildside Festival runs from January 4-13 at the Centuar Theatre (453 Rue St. François-Xavier). Tickets and showtimes can be found HERE.