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Fringe Binge 2014: Day 5 

click to enlarge The world is turned upside down in 'Dentity Crisis
  • The world is turned upside down in 'Dentity Crisis




Daydreams of Kaleidoscopes  ★★★

After seeing this show, I left the theatre with a lot of questions. Why was the young man in the play dying? What was the relationship between his mental illness and his impending death? Why was his therapist a disembodied voice...was he real, a figment of the boy's imagination, or a product of his psychosis? I struggled with a lot of plot points. Why were they sending a disturbed, terminally-ill boy home? Why did the doctor vacillate between saying there was no hope, and that there was always hope? This play feels like a first draft of a really interesting work. I'd love to see it redone with more of a dramatic arc and a better fleshing out of the boy's visions—more "show", less "tell". 

No String Attached  ★★½

Kind of fringe-y: A  couple of sweet-faced twenty-somethings work hard to gross the audience out with what is ultimately a semi-sweet-snapshot of friendship.

Ida and Daisy  ★★★★

The opening scene of this play made me fearful that we were headed into Marion-Bridge-wanna-be territory, but happily that wasn't the case. Playwright/actor Lita Llewellyn has done something really interesting by writing a play that explores the effects of mental illness on family members and friends and by setting it in a place and period (rural Nova Scotia in the early '50s) where the subject was not openly discussed. The story is centred on the relationship between a lively, intelligent younger sister who suffers from schizophrenia and her loving older sister who has put her dreams on hold to care for her. Strong performances and a beautifully written ending contribute to making this a must-see. 

Waking Up Alone  ★★★

An interesting, but not wholly satisfying, story about a young teen suffering from post-traumatic stress. Ailsa Galbreath gives a winning performance, beautifully conveying the precocious young girl's humour and hyper-intelligence as well as her anxiety. It's easy to care about the character, but harder to understand what eventually puts her on the road to healing. 

'Dentity Crisis  ★★★★

Hold on to your hats. This show is a roller coaster ride of epic proportions. The pace is manic. The plot absurd. The performances are over-the-top perfection. Although it is a brilliant comedy, I was moved to tears by the plight of young Jane whose family gives new meaning to the word "dysfunctional". Real or imagined, her perceived situation is beautifully realized for the audience in this terrific and terrifying trip down the rabbit hole. 

How I Lost My Virginity  ★★★½

This show delivers an important message in an interesting package. Brian Schiller is a talented stand-up comedian who does an admirable job exploring some very difficult territory through humour. His honesty is refreshing and his delivery is heartfelt. The subject matter may not be what you expect, but it's a topic that I'm glad is being shared.

Aesop in Action  ★★★

Although kids will definitely enjoy this family-friendly retelling of some of Aesop's fables, adults will also be entertained. The staging is clever yet simple: "The Tortoise and the Hare" is retold as a broadcast sporting event with stuffed animal puppetry and hilarious commentary. "The Lion and the Mouse" charms with  actors in knit caps and t-shirts labelled "lion" and "mouse". Aesop's morals are delivered, but not in a heavy-handed way. Fun!









 

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