BRIEVIEWS – Fringe Edition #1

Fringe is upon us, Toronto!

What a fun way to take in live theatre – and live COMEDY – in a medium different than the everyday scene.  I’m aiming to see as many comedies as I can this Fringe, because I tend to prefer those to dramas or otherwise, but hell – I’ll see anything if it’s free, folks.  Just sayin’.

So far I’m at a 1 show : 1 day ratio for Fringe since the party launched on July 4th.

I’ve seen two solo performances so far.  Sometimes, it’s nice to hear about someone else’s struggles for a change.

Fringe Show # 1 -> The only reason I know there’s a Big Brother UK is because my former roommate used to watch it for the nudity…

My first show of the Festival was July 4th at 10pm ->  ZACK ADAMS: A Complete History of Zack Adams with my pal Gillian at The Solo Room venue at the Tarragon Theatre.  This is a show about the life & times of a young man from Australia who’s always wanted to perform & who must come to terms with the fact that home is where the heart is, and it might just be the best place to perform as well.  We follow along with Mr. Adams’ sometimes funny, sometimes tragic tales about friendship, love and… bees He recounts his life as a performer and the struggles progressing from small town big fishdom to bigger cities, where one becomes well, just-another regular-sized fish.  A regular-sized fish who landed Big Brother UK, but a regular-sized fish nonetheless.

As someone interested in maybe putting on a one-person show in the future, I liked this performance.  It’s amazing to see another human being pour his heart out to a bunch of strangers.  He was fearless, sometimes singy, sometimes dancy (no doubt showing off the training from that fancy Australian performing arts school) – but also very honest and simultaneously very theatrical.  See it.  Learn about this great performer’s interpretation of the hand he’s been dealt.

Fringe Show # 2 ->I knew I wasn’t the only one who wanted to see Stewart & Colbert in an intimate setting.

My good friend Erin and I met up at the Theatre Passe Muraille for the 9:30 Backspace show of Fake News Fangirl.  You should see this show.  I’m not just saying that because I know Sharilyn personally and I think she’s wonderful.  Because there is that.  But if ever you’ve felt like you were a fan of something and tilting slightly towards the obsessive, Sharilyn’s show will help you to acknowledge you aren’t alone in this world and, in fact, it could be much much worse.  In high school, I really dug the Kids in the Hall.  But my so-called obsession is really nothing compared to the hours Sharilyn has spent on her affections for Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert et. al.

This show was a wonderful insight into the world of someone who isn’t just a fan of comedy, but who lives for comedy.  And not just for the laughter – I mean, Sharilyn is basically comedy Wikipedia.  And to hear about her endeavours – because  she’s done comedy — the open mic scene, improv, writing for the Daily Show & Colbert Report classes in NYC — she’s done it.  You will witness a struggle of the self as ‘one who does comedy’ vs. ‘one who loves comedy’ and see how blurred the lines are between the two.

A must-see for all the comedy nerds!

But…

Along with my being an active participant in Fringe this year, I can’t help but harbour a bit of resentment over the fact that I (we?) could have been in the festival this year, but that for reasons beyond my control (ie. I’m broke/internal collapse) – it did not happen.  What an amazing experience it must be to perform/produce/promote your work on your terms.  That being said, the more shows I see, the keener I am to make something happen Fringe-wise for next year.  In the meantime, I’m going to go plot out my next round of shows for the weekend.  Oh, and find my softball gear.  Comedy Softball season starts tomorrow!

Happy Fringe, everybody!

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