I love the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, but I’m not going to waste your time telling you why – it’s the same reasons as everyone else – hundreds of world-class performers congregating in Edmonton every year for 10 days and audience members trying to fit in as much theatre as their schedules will allow. What’s not to love?
A friend’s wedding was at the beginning of this year’s Fringe Festival, so I was only able to review two fringe shows for Sound + Noise (as I don’t agree with publishing a review with very few performances left): Ding-a-Ling and Impurities. However, I was also able to get to a few other shows – Kilt Pins, Cloven Hoof: The Trials of James Evans, A Picasso, Anatolia Speaks, Adore Canada: A Burlesque Tour of Canada, Asylum by the Lake. Here are my favorite moments of this year’s Edmonton Fringe – From Fringe With Love.
- The energy on the Fringe grounds on opening night, August 15.
- The eager and confident Fringe artists handing out handbills like crazy. Working as a marketer myself, I’m always impressed at all the work that goes into drawing an audience to a show when there are more than 200 shows for audiences to choose from.
- Noori Gill’s portrayal of a woman who is “just one of the boys” trying to be a “girly girl” while caught in a time warp at a speed dating event in Ding-a-ling.
- The incredibly well-choreographed scene changes and awesome props in Impurities.
- Kilt Pins‘ script. Beautiful, elegant, simple and yet an accurate portrayal (at least how I remember it) of exploring one’s sexuality in high school. Also, Sarah Culkin’s acting was fantastic. Having seen her in Walterdale Playhouse’s Exposure earlier this year, Sarah is one to watch in the next few years.
- Cloven Hoof: The Trials of James Evans’ flexible set in McDougall United Church. I’d love to see more plays in this space!
- The great acting in A Picasso. No wonder this play was voted Critics’ Choice. It’s hard to describe how natural and effortless Shannon Blanchet and Julien Arnold’s acting was. A great cliche to use would be that watching their performance was like drinking a smooth glass of brandy (or, if you’re me, a china white shot).
- Anatolia Speaks showing the beauty of a one-person show. As a seasoned audience member, I know these can be a toss up, however, Candice Fiorentino’s great acting and Kenneth Brown’s script that drew in audiences more and more as the play progressed was a bright point in my Fringe adventures this year.
- Jamie Northan as the host of Sinners, Freaks and Geeks Burlesque’s show Adore Canada: A Burlesque Tour of Canada. Jamie did a great job hosting this burlesque show – I even got over some of my shyness and participated… a bit.
- Everything about Asylum by the Lake. What a great way to close off my time at the Fringe this year. The acting, the script, the subject matter, the props… I loved everything about this show and I hope it makes its way back to Edmonton soon!