Wildside 2016: Where the Wild Things Are

Little One. Wildside Festival. Marisa Smith and Daniel Arnold. Photo Kaarina Venalainen Little One. Wildside Festival. Marisa Smith and Daniel Arnold. Photo Kaarina Venalainen

January requires a little extra incentive to get out. So, we’ve got a carrot if you can give yourself a stick. The Wildside Festival is one of the most crazy theatrical events in Montreal. It brings together some of the best hour-long-ish productions from the Montreal Fringe festival along with a few other treats.

Perhaps the two most hotly anticipated productions are Captain Aurora: A Superhero Musical and Miss Katelyn’s Grade Threes Prepare for the Inevitable. Captain Aurora sold out at the Fringe festival multiple nights. I waited in line to be turned away twice! This is a production with a massive cast and written by Trevor Barrette, orchestrations by Chris Barillaro, and vocal arrangements by David Terriault. The show is about Captain Aurora, a female superhero who must save Earth from an extraterrestrial invasion. I’m expecting pure silliness, but with talent to rocket this one to superstardom.

As for Miss Katelyn’s Grade Threes, it’s the last day of school and Miss Katelyn (Elena Belyea) is going to teach her beloved students (played by the audience) how to survive a school shooting. This school-drill is about to go horribly wrong. Not only is this a funny and interesting show, but Elena Belyea bravely takes this taboo topic to the stage.


Breaking from the purely theatrical tradition, Co. Venture is a dance piece co-sponsored by Bouge D’ici (also coming in January, see HERE). An older and a younger man (David Vaughan and Pepper Fajans, respectively) share the stage to showcase connection across generations and true friendship. David Vaughan is a bit of a legend, the historian and archivist of the Merce Cunningham Theatre. There will be puppets!

In Search of Mrs. Pirandello. Photo Rachel Levine

In Search of Mrs. Pirandello. Photo Rachel Levine

I had the great fortune of catching In Search of Mrs. Pirandello at the Fringe. Written by Sex and Ethnicity’s Michaela di Cesare and directed by Cristina Cugliandro, this show is about Luigi Pirandello’s “insane” wife. She was relegated to a historical footnote, something that deeply offends our protagonist. To shed light on this offense, one character goes in search of an author’s wife. This is an atmospheric and piece that takes the audience to entirely unexpected places. I thought it a fabulous production: “Don’t even bother with my review; just go see it.” If you missed it then, now you have a chance to catch this avant-garde work.


I’ve never been to a self-help seminar, but with Happiness TM I can attend one. Two salesmen pitch products that guarantee non-stop life happiness. The audience registers for the HPL TM product launch and hopefully will figure out what’s really happening before it is too late. To get ready, take this survey.

Adoptions gone horribly wrong is the subject of Little One, written by Hannah Moscovitch and directed by Amiel Gladstone. Six year old Aaron has to learn to love his new sister, four-year old Clare. There’s one problem — she’s a monster. The two main characters look back on their lives and in doing so study how to live with and live without a psychopath in your life. This show received rave reviews from Time Out New York and The New York Times.


TJ Dawe, TJ Dawe, TJ Dawe. TJ Dawe Why do I state his name four times? Because he’s performing four different shows at the Wildside this year, including his most recent solo show Medicine about his experiences as a human lab rat taking  ayahuasca with addictions doctor Gabor Mate. Ultimately, TJ Dawe lets you into his unusual life and you’ll feel all the better about your own afterwards (or worse, depending — Dawe is way up with life!). Here’s one more reason to see any of his shows. TJ Dawe is Harry Potter connected; he wrote a play that was turned into a film starring Daniel Radcliffe (The F Word/What If).

You thought these shows were it? You thought wrong. Every Thursday and Saturday are post-show programming including music, dueling ballerinas, tarot reading, and more. Here’s a small taste of the free n fun programming. Summersett will perform a David Bowie tribute on January 15.

The Wildside Festival takes place from January 7-17 at the Centaur Theatre (453 St. François-Xavier). Schedules and tickets can be found HERE. $16/13. Four show superpass $50.

About Rachel Levine

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