Fringe Festival Picks 2023

crowd in a theatre Fringe for All, 2023, Photo Louis Longpré

Now that the Fringe for All has taken place, everyone who loves indie theatre takes a deep breath and dives in to night after night of programming for the next three weeks. With events like the Montreal the Smut Slam, Summer Slowdance, and the Are You There Margaret?, It’s Me Gahd taking place June 1, June 2, and June 3 respectively, the Fringe After Dark events are underway (for the full list of what’s on this week and through the festival, click HERE). But, the heart of the fringe are the usually hour long shows that fill 10 different venues with multiple performances from June 8 to June 18. It’s an overwhelming number to catch, so we’re sharing a few that we think look like they’ll be hits. Tickets for all shows can be found HERE.

Alright: Solving the Problem of Living

Nisha Coleman is a familiar face to the Montreal storytelling and indie theatre scene with deep chops from her performances at Risk, The Moth, and Confabulation. She’s even recently published a chilren’s book called Dear Humans: A Letter from the Animals about what the animals think about Climate Change. Her two last shows at the Fringe, Self Exile and Cornichon, have been warmly beloved. The latest, no matter what it is about, is bound to take you on a journey through her perspective and observations on a life lived with adventure and sensitivity. Comedy Theatre of Montreal, June 8, 10, 11, 13, 16, and 17. Information HERE.


Jem Rolls has made Fringe Festival performance his life’s work. Every year (or almost), he offers another show with his non-stop patter and English humour as he recounts his most recent adventures. If you’ve never had a chance to see him, he is one-of-a-kind and sort of a classic Fringe experience. This latest show starts with him stranded during lockdown on a holy beach in India. What happens next? You’ll have to come and find out. At Le Ministère on June 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, and 16. Info HERE.

Memento Mori

The last show I saw with Sophie Nicole Croteau, she tattooed herself on stage in Illustrated Lady. Her performances are very moving as they recount her life experiences. In Memento Mori, we come to her funeral as a sort of living party. She tells us that if we expect to die one day, this show is for us. Well, I pay taxes, so… Anyway, she’s an intimate storyteller and her show will touch some part of your heart. This show is in French. At Salon B of Espace Memoria on June 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 11, 15, 16, and 17. For tickets, click HERE.

Leila Roils the Seas

Lily Chang’s show featuring three actors is about a woman who is called upon to help her grandmother, a Mahayana Buddhist, transcend to the celestial realm. To do so, she must first navigate the complicated relationship she shares with her grandmother as well as loss itself. Although the show promises Chinese opera, karaoke, and chicken heads, it’s certain to be touching. Leila may not cry… but the audience probably will. At La Chapelle on June 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, and 18. For tickets, click HERE.

Tango in the Dark

Pointe Tango wowed Montreal with Tango to the Pointe, a dance show that combines tango and ballet. With stilettos on pointe shoes for Erin Scott-Kafadar, she matches the moves of her partner Alexander Richardson backwards and en pointe. The two are romantic, comedic, and dramatic. They will impress. Don’t miss this one. At La Chapelle on June 9, 10, 12, 16, 17, and 18. Tickets HERE.

Le Fruit Défeundu

Luca Max and Mikaël Morin will re-enact the story of Adam and Eve… or, as they say, Eve, tempted by the Devil. But, rather than hiding herself under fig leaves, she discovers her sensual forces and her femininity. Whatever, the show is, it includes pole dancing which is an art that doesn’t often make it to the Fringe stage. This show is in French. It runs June 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, and 17 at the Salle Jean-Claude-Germain du Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui. Tickets HERE.

Everything is Super Wow

The clown scene in Montreal is as creative as ever. Everything is Super Wow is a look at facing a mid-life crisis with bikepacking and big dreams. Also puppets. Ira cooper’s show has earned much praise as it toured the fringe circus. If you didn’t get a chance to see mr. coffeehead, this is a chance to see what Spec Theatre is up to. June 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18 at Espace Freestanding Room. Tickets HERE.

I Know You Are But What Am I?

Cai Glover choreographs a new work of dance (and also poetry) that explores the disorientation experienced with hearing loss. The topic of accessibility is a hot one and this show should prove interesting. Performances are June 8, 9, 11, 15, 17, and 18 at the Conservatoire de musiqe et d’art dramatique du Québec. Tickets HERE.


Raise the Stakes Theatre work with Lin Bo and Wang Min to share Lin Bo’s story of being detained at a detention centre for creation a work of art. Many will be familiar with another Chinese dissident artist, Ai Weiwei. Why haven’t we heard of Lin Bo before? Well, hold on to the edge of your seat as Caught reveals why. At the Mainline Theatre June 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, and 17. Tickets HERE.

Exit 20:20

Sometimes I pick shows based on the issues they address. This one is about censorship. Exit 20:20 is about how the Great Lakes High School has banned the graphic novel Maus. But, the school board president’s adopted brother is Jewish. Censorship in the US may seem kind of far away, but as things like the abortion debate creeps northward, we need to pay careful attention as to why book bans happen and what we can do about it. At Mission Santa Cruz on June 9, 10, 11, 14, 17, and 18. Tickets HERE.

In the past, we have also enjoyed La Ballerina Maladroite and Everybody Knows and recommend both. We also have upcoming interviews for Once Upon a Time and Never Again An Improvised Fairytale and HeartBeast, which we also recommend. No matter what you see, the cost of your tickets goes straight into the pockets of the artists.

The Montreal Fringe Festival takes place from May 31 to June 18. For tickets and information on all things at the Fringe, click HERE.

About Rachel Levine

Rachel Levine is the big cheese around here. Contact: Website | More Posts