Montreal Fringe Festival Reviews # 5 : Invasive Species, Berlin Waltz, Ain’t That Rich, Jon Bennett

Invasive Species. Montreal Fringe Festival. Cafe Campus. Photo Rachel Levine Invasive Species. Montreal Fringe Festival. Cafe Campus. Photo Rachel Levine

I am fringing to catch up, and yesterday’s mugginess was all but made for the air conditioned venue. I have lost my voice, and am rocking a low grade cold at all times already, but this is to Fringe without respecting one’s ample and obvious limitations. I saw some good theatre last night though. So here’s the recap.

Invasive Species

Invasive Species. Montreal Fringe Festival. Cafe Campus. Photo Rachel Levine

Invasive Species. Montreal Fringe Festival. Cafe Campus. Photo Rachel Levine

I have the feeling that with the zeitgeist being what it is these days, many artists are reacting with pain and horror at the current political climate down south, and this show left me feeling fired up like none other. This Southern Gothic performance art piece about invading frogs is brilliant. Invasive Species is a dirty reflection of white male nostalgia for the American Dream, treated with compassion and pathos and a heavy dose of weirdness. Apocryphal urban legends abound and the psychosis is real. Walk in with a way open mind. This piece treated me like a smart person, and also managed to fill in the True Blood-sized hole in my heart that I didn’t know existed. My only critique is that the sound design can be edited a bit, as it was a bit distracting at times, but I would like to see this show in a more technically capable space and quite simply, on a larger stage. Highly as heck recommended.

Invasive Species is creepin’ at Montreal Improv Venue B (3713 St Laurent # 202) on  June 16 (9:30pm), and June 17 (4:45pm).

Jon Bennett vs. Jason Donovan

Just don’t. (He asked us to say that).

But really, this is an experience and a playful experiment rather than a show. Its a nice interlude to have fun and come together for. Its risky. Its a good place to have a beer and to see what happens. Don’t if you are expecting a put together show. Do if you want to have a good time.

Experiment a little with Jon Bennett vs. Jason Donovan at at Petit Campus (57 Prince Arthur E) on June 15 (6pm), June 16 (4:45pm), June 17 (10pm), and June 18 (12:30pm).

Berlin Waltz

While the performer parallels the controls of the DDR police state with the creeping control exercised in our own state, this ode to Berlin is put together very cleverly and the topical aspects are front and center. I appreciated the learning parts of it, the way that we are given a fun historical perspective on how the city had to exist divided. I also very much loved the interactive aspects, appreciated the accomplished musical skills on display, and practically bathed in the meditative pacing of the show, a respite from most frantic Fringe pieces on offer. However, I found that I was missing something, a quality of personal transformation that I was looking for or depth of personal experience from living somewhere that was simply missing. We get a list of the variety of characters encountered but no anecdotes beyond that of Angel. Why did this lady finally leave Berlin? We are treated to exultation of love of the city, but the reasons for that love, the expression of contrast, is simply not there. I don’t know. I wanted a bit more. There seems to be a wall inside that could be breached.

Take a journey with Berlin Waltz at Petit Campus (57 Prince Arthur E) on June 14 (10:15pm), June 15 (4:15pm), June 16 (8:15pm), June 17 (6:30pm).

Ain’t That Rich

This bubbly performer (Kate Robards) shows us over the fastest 75-minutes ever what the difference between poor and broke is and you will laugh your way through, pretty much non-stop. This show chronicles the childhood and young adulthood of an Eastern Texan girl who grew up with a loving but broke family who falls in love with and marries a truly wealthy man. As she navigates shifting sense of self-worth and her ever-changing relationship to money and consumerism, she has realizations about what her own family has done for her and what this all really means at this point in her life, as she now has the means and space to grow up into someone who is rich in the ways that matter. The title is a bit wonky, but trust me, this show deserves a packed house and you will be all the richer for having seen it.

Ain’t That Rich is playing at Petit Campus (57 Prince Arthur) on June 15 (7:45pm) and June 18 (2:15pm).


The Montreal Fringe Festival continues until June 18. You can get tickets for all shows HERE. Most shows are $10. Click here for reviews of Fringe shows Interstellar Elder, The Merkin SistersPluck’d, Precinct: an Improvised Cop Story, Orson Wells/Shylock, The Ballad of Frank Allen, The Morning After the Life Before, The Detective The Dame and the Devil, This is Not SheWhip, 0 Days Without Crying, tldr;smh, A Change in the Weather, Elsewhere, Peter Pansexual, Oscar, CarMa, Illustrated Lady, Leave the Therapy Take the Cannoli, and Things Drugs Taught Me.