It’s over, and I’ve failed. Sigh. I set myself the task of seeing 30 plays in 11 days at this year’s Fringe, but I only managed 28. Two plays, Mud, Blood ‘N’ Honey and Jumble House Presents Active Space Improv, pulled out of the festival part way through their runs, so I missed out. I’ll blame it on Earl who disrupted my perfectly-planned assault, and cross my fingers for next year.
The Halifax Jazz Dance Collective is a small group of dancers and musicians who come together to explore jazz music and to create jazz dance pieces. Their Fringe show was a an upbeat and invigorating combination of originally-choreographed dance numbers using recorded pieces such as Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin”, and live music by woodwind player extraordinaire Scott A. MacDonald. This show managed to be both highly polished and exquisitely fresh. The young women of this collective dance with an infectious joy, and watching them express themselves is an uplifting experience.
The last Fringe show for me was Jewish Girls Don’t Kayak, and I have to apologize to Robyn Israel for not seeing it sooner. I’ve come to realize that bringing a show from outside Halifax to the Fringe (as Ontario native Israel did) means you don’t have the same built-in audience that local performers do. I can only hope that the houses were full for this funny, life-affirming story. Israel shares her struggles with coming to terms with her name, her Jewishness and her life as a single woman. While most of the material is light and humorous, Israel also explores some poignant examples of bigotry and hatred. This is a show that will speak to anyone who is searching for what it means to belong—and I imagine that’s just about everyone!