Put every Fringe show into a sieve that sorts out the edgiest, and voila! Wildside festival. The annual ten-day of theatrical goodies go from sketch comedy to sketchy (or just pervy, maybe), promising to set January on-fire.
I’ll start with the sketchy. Blue-haired Leslie Baker’s Fuck You! You Fucking Perv! addresses sexuality and violence, or rather, when sexuality goes horribly wrong and victimizes the young. The show focuses on a single night in the life of a woman, a victim, who can’t tell what’s real from what’s imagined in her own madness. She tap dances, tells off-colour jokes, and makes the audience uncomfortable with her vignettes. Lighting and sound are critical in creating a disjointed, schizophrenic experience. That’s exactly the point, though, as this is as much a performance art as it is a performance.
Sticking with adult themes, Delicacy has two couples meet at an underground sex club. One couple is your wealthy, attractive condo-dwelling sorts. The other, a suburban, mixed-race couple. The two get to reconnect a few weeks later to see if sparks will fly again. The wit of this piece comes from its one-liners and sharp observations about class and taste.
The subject (or is it object?) of Comedy is given scrutiny in The Way You Tell Them. As part of her research into what comedy is and what makes people laugh, Rachel Mars donned a wolf suit and creates a character who dedicates herself to the Sicilian mafia in the way clueless tourist do-gooders often bugger off to developing countries and see what they want. Through an investigation into the book that shaped her understanding of comedy, musical comedy, classic jokes, and her own material, Mars gets the audience thinking about why they laugh while they laugh.
Finally, to get back to the sketch — well, the sketch comedy, that is. Uncalled For’s contribution is Playday Mayday. This Toronto-Montreal group doesn’t perform often, so any chance to see them is a treat. As their website is pretty quiet on their doings, I’m hoping this show is a relaunch of the one they sneak-peeked/secret-showed two-years ago at the Fringe Festival. Get ready to play ball!
Wildside Festival runs from January 7-17 at the Centaur Theatre (453 St Francois-Xavier). Other good shows to see include Johnny Legdick, Coming and Going, and Aiden Flynn Lost His Brother. Tickets $15/12.50.