The Wildside is a lovely slice of heaven that we all get to get down with in the frigid month of January every year. An excuse to crack the prehistoric layers of ice covering our souls and our windshields, the festival reminds us that we are indeed about half way to the Fringe Festival and that all will be well again. As we partake of the offerings of multiple theatrical styles and whimsy, we get to warm up against each other in these dead nights and rub up against each other in the most delightful of ways.
Miss Katelyn’s Grade Threes Prepare for the Inevitable
I love how unhinged people hold onto a kernel of valid truths while they are losing their minds and to me, this (dark, oh so dark) hilarious show really illustrates what happens when you have too much time to think and too much responsibility to hold with way too little support to back you up. Miss Katelyn is a third grade teacher fixating on school shootings, who just wants to help the kids get by, but somewhere, somehow, a screw has seriously come loose in her approach. While some might call this style of show a bit pedantic, I found it funny as hell and cuttingly satirical and unfortunately, the subject matter is more relevant than ever. This is a fun show, especially if you don’t have school aged children, and if you do, you are a braver soul than I.
TJ Dawe: The Slipknot
If you’ve never seen a TJ show, honestly, get on it. The International Fringe Champion-Legend-Superstar Extraordinaire is a storyteller without peer. All this lanky man needs is a stage, a light, and his cut-throat pacing and tight structure does the rest. The Slipknot is a classic, first performed in 2001, and while there are bits and pieces that are showing their age, there’s a reason that this is still being performed today. A funny and personal reflection on a young Canadian man’s relationship to work and to his peers is an all too relateable trio of tales designed to make you think of the machine and mechanics of being an employee and what happens when life is happening in the background. Most of Dawe’s pieces are autobiographical and his capacity for humorous yet unflinching reflection is unparallelled. Even if you can’t catch this one, go see another one of his shows, he’s doing four different ones (!) If you like storytelling, this is masterclass level stuff and you should not miss him.
Captain Aurora: A Superhero Musical
I am not going to do a full review of this show, because quite frankly, I missed a lot of it. The sound, my dears…t he sound. It’s a flipping musical. I think that I missed out on a lot of plot points and dialogue sitting on the right side of the stage, and it unfortunately negatively colored my experience. The stage is huge guys: say your lines to the audience, don’t jump over each other’s lines and PROJECT! Hopefully the techs have figured this out by the time that you see this Fringe sell-out show and you enjoy it more than I did. And yes, I did make a point of telling them to fix it after the show, so I expect them to have heeded the feedback by the time that you read this and you love everything about it and it sells out every night again.
Tickets to all these shows and more are available at http://www.centaurtheatre.com/wildside-festival.html at a VERY reasonable price and 4-show packages are available. All performances are at the Centaur Theatre (453 Rue Saint-François-Xavier) from January 7-17th. Various times and dates.