My Early Picks for the 2005 Vancouver Fringe Festival

Last night I went to the Fringe Preview Gala. Not only did I see excerpts from a bunch of shows, but I also grilled artists and staff alike for their favourites. Here’s a quick run-down of what looks promising:

  • The
    TJ Dawe Box Set
    – A Fringe veteran, and one of the most entertaining and
    talented performers I see every year (disclaimer: he’s an old classmate of
    mine). He’s doing a ‘best of’ his shows from the past decade. I wouldn’t hesitate
    in recommending his shows to anybody, from theatre noob on up.
  • Three
    Chicks in a Tub
    – This is a Bring Your Own Venue (BYOV) show that’s not
    on Granville Island. It’s in a bathroom in the West End, and features 30 minutes
    of comedy with 3 women in a tub. What’s not to like?
  • The
    Pajama Men in "Stop Not Going"
    – I don’t know much about this
    show, but the early buzz has been very positive.
  • Cosmic
    Banditos
    – I haven’t seen this show, but the creators are good friends
    of mine. They’re both smart, talented and experienced performers, and the
    show’s got a cool premise. They should have written a better blurb, though.
    Next year, guys, get me to write your blurb.
  • Live
    Group Sex Therapy II
    – I saw an excerpt from this show, and it was something
    funny, raunchy stand-up comedy. If you actually attended "Just Jack",
    Jack’s theatre show on Will & Grace, it might be a little like
    this.
  • The
    Fear of Going Down
    – I helped out with this show, so I’m unable to give
    an unbiased account. Disappointingly, not about oral sex.
  • Boy
    Groove
    – Again, haven’t seen it, but hear very good things about it.
  • The
    Anger in Ernest and Ernestine
    – If you’re looking for a well-performed,
    straight-up play that won’t scare you (much), this is for you. It’s a well-written
    surreal comedy, and the performances looked strong in the snippet I saw.
  • Ricardo
    Garcia’s "Flamenco Flow"
    – I was blown away by the excerpt I
    saw of this show. I just felt privleged to be in the room with such a great
    guitar player. This isn’t theatre per se–it’s music and dance. It’s got a
    very globalized groove. Part of the excerpt I saw combined flamenco music
    with hip hop dancing. It sounds dodgy, but I thought it worked.

Bonus top tip for the locals: The Fringe Silent Auction is going on throughout the festival at Performance Works. Currently, there are some amazing deals to be had for weekends away, jewelry, yoga stuff, rowing lessons and all manner of other fineries. Seriously, this stuff is super-cheap at the moment. I don’t know how 10 days of the Fringe will affect prices, but if you’re on Granville Island, I’d recommend wandering over. Thanks again to everybody who contributed.

3 comments

  1. I saw one of the “Box Set” here at the Saskatoon Fringe — I’d also recommend! (and I’ll never look at Shopper’s the same way again)

    I saw Self-Storage, Bonhoffer as well. I’d give each a 6 out of 10 — Bonhoffer is fairly intense, but includes much of his writings as dialogue (which I liked).

    Have fun! I love Fringe festivals.

  2. “Stop Not Going” is by two guys previously known as Sabotage (did Homeland Security make them change their name to Pajama Men?). We saw their show two years ago, without knowing much about them, and were absolutely floored. It’s hard to describe – the best I can come up with is “stream-of-conscious random tangential physical humour”. Very excited to see them back again this year – we’re going to see them this weekend…

  3. Boy Groove is hysterically funny. I saw it when it was in Saskatoon 2 years ago. My other picks are “Knee Deep in Muck” and “Sea Peach”. I’ve seen Catherine Kidd (Sea Peach) perform and she is amazing. Skip “Tangle”. I saw that, and have NOTHING good to say about it.

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