Fringe Festival Reviews # 1

Fringe Park. Photo Rachel Levine Fringe Park. Photo Rachel Levine

This is Fine: An Apocalyptic Networking Event

Take your corporate book, put on your name tag and tie, and get ready to participate in Chad Poober’s search for a new employee. He has a new app to promote and there’s only room for one lucky person who will join him in his apocalyptic safe bunker. Can you expertly make your way around the room and sell yourself using appropriate corporate lingo and adhere to company culture? While I expected a zany play, instead I was participating in a rather zany game — a surprisingly fun experience. Although awkward at first, the experience got better the more people invested into taking on characters in the game. Recommended for when you’re tired of passively being entertained.

This is Fine: An Apocalyptic Networking Event takes place on June 12, 14, 15, 16, and 18 at the Montreal Comedy Theatre (1113 de Maisonneuve E). Tickets HERE.

Everybody Knows

Rita Sheena’s dance-performance piece set to First Aid Kit’s covers of Leonard Cohen’s songs and poetry is an emotional work. There’s a loose narrative arc in which she begins as a “housewife” — or so her first costume suggests — only to be sent on a heroic journey through loss and growth. The entire work marries together sensuality with feminism in a mature and visceral way. She captures moments — like the torment of a sleepless night — in such a profound and tangible way. I sense her deep connection to the lyrics and music, and it’s almost like a trans-generational kinship. Sheena mines the beauty in suffering and pain, just as Cohen does.

Everybody Knows is at Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique du Québec on June 12, 16, 17, and 18. Tickets HERE.

Saltzman’s Antiques

For some great acting, you won’t want to miss this production which comes from alums and profs of Dawson’s Theatre Program. Sandy is middle aged (late middle aged?) and ready to retire from running her late father’s antique shop. The only person who might be able to take over the shop is Nate, an immature and slightly brutish young adult and the son of the shop’s former co-owner. When Sandy invites Nate to start working at the shop, the two clash — not just generationally but also because of the complicated history entailing Nate’s father. After a few initial rushed scenes, the play develops into a rather solid piece of theatre about family history and redemption. Carolyn Guillet elevates this work, as she balances the airy-fairy fragility of Sandy with her seasoned shopkeeper’s practicality. Sam Lemieux brings a sensitivity to Nate as well, capturing his more mercurial personality with his sincere affection for Sandy along with a sudden awakening that he could be more in life than a seemingly aimless grunt.

At the Montreal Comedy Theatre (1113 de Maisonneuve E) on June 12, 13, 15, 16, 18. Tickets HERE.

An Evening with Leighland Beckman

Leighland Beckman is releasing his album – well, cassette tape – with this series of songs and stories at the Fringe. I can’t say that Beckman’s humour is for everyone, but it is definitely for me. There’s always at least one line in a song that has me laughing for days afterwards. Beckman’s talent is in combining his gentlemanly giant’s demeanor, solo instrumentation (a bass), with adolescent crudeness. It’s an irresistible combination that makes for great comedy. He uses more words for penis and vagina than anyone should in six(?) songs, although I think his truly great hit is about Quebec’s Bonhomme Carnival (the snowman). This is raucous and fun and we should count ourselves lucky to have Beckman in our comedy community.

An Evening with Leighland Beckman is at Cafe Campus/Petit Campus (58 Prince Arthur E) on June 12, 13, 16, 18, and 19. Tickets HERE.

St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival is on now, with shows beginning on June 9 and continuing until June 19. For information about tickets and shows, click HERE.

About Rachel Levine

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