Fringe may be winding down, but you still have one day to take in some great plays. (And don't forget to tune in tomorrow to discover the Fringe award-winners.)
Delusions of Grandeur
I dragged myself into Delusions of Grandeur at 10:30pm after a long, full day of Fringe Festival-ing. My eyes were heavy, my brain was on overload and frankly, I wanted to be in bed.
Half an hour later, I left the theatre with a grin on my face, tickled by the snappy little morsel that is Delusions of Grandeur.
The play centres on Steven (Matthew Darrah) and Lynda (Nicole Moore) Doyle, a couple who seeks counselling from Dr. Arkin (Rob McIntyre) for a marriage that’s spiralling down the toilet. Lynda is domineering and acerbic. Steven is needy and passive-aggressive. Dr. Arkin is an analyst with a few issues of his own. The course of counselling is deliciously unorthodox .
Fast-paced, well-acted, cleverly-written and fun, this play was an unexpected delight.
- Kate Watson
Kitty’s Bound For Broadway
For Kitty Adler, a middle-aged, recently-divorced woman, who’s experiencing empty-nest syndrome, the time has come to pursue her lifelong dream of getting a show on the Broadway stage. After winning a Broadway lottery contest, Kitty seizes her golden-ticket opportunity and sets off on a journey.
I quickly learned that this show caters to a specific age demographic. Best described, it’s a show I would enjoy taking my grandmother to- but that’s not a bad thing. Kitty, (played by Kerry Miller) is a very likeable and endearing character- we want her to succeed. It also boasts great lines, comparing Broadway judges to a firing squad, and referring to Kitty as a “velvet hammer.”
While the show’s premise is not particularly fresh, it’s the most wholesome play you’ll find this side of Fringe. However, the show boasts a wide slew of simple songs, all of which run less than a minute. Miller keeps the background melodies so low that the tunes never have the oomph or resonance they deserve. Miller comes across as a reserved and timid singer. I kept finding myself wanting to stand up and tell Kitty to grab a microphone- to be bold, to be brave, to give that hammer some punch. As Miller says, “a play needs rhythm,” I think Kitty’s still finding her tune.
- Carey Bray
There have been quite a few plays in the Fringe Festival this year tackling mental health issues. Nostos Collectives’ "Gallery of an Anxious Little Lucy: Unifying the Overgrown World" is a collection of dances that explore the idea that in a world that seeks to divide us, how anxiety can be crippling both communally and individually, and how through art and nature we find strength in our unity.
The dancing is beautiful to watch, the seven dancers infuse their bodies with emotion, and every muscle is engaged with specificity and immediacy. I found the storytelling clear, but also open for emotional and creative interpretation. Given the personal nature of the subject matter, I think this allows for a deeper response and level of engagement with the audience. There is a joyfulness and a hopefulness here that is wordlessly contagious, and slices through the platitudes we often rely on in language.
The Museum of Natural History is not the ideal venue for this show, as the audience isn’t raked and it can be difficult to see and I would have liked there to be more overlap between the dancing and the beatbox music artist but in all Nostos have created a compelling and insightful show.
- Amanda Campbell
For All We Know
In a Fringe-season that was ripe with topics regarding depression and mental health issues, For All We Know is a refreshing departure that addresses these topics, while remaining its own entity. The play centres around Colin, a young man who’s recently come out of the closet and started a relationship with Wade. Feeding to this fire, Colin is reeling from the sudden departure of his ex-girlfriend Claire- a woman whom he previously bared himself to, emotionally and intimately. For reasons unknown, Colin is plagued by her memory, haunted by a ghost of his own devising. She lingers in the back of his brain- “a song that gets stuck in your head.”
Colin isolates himself like an island, frustrating those who’ve fallen in love with him. As the play progresses, Wade and Claire realize their limitations in helping someone who might not want to be helped, but its their devotion to Colin that makes this show truly touching. It is a show that succeeds by not succumbing to formula and resisting cliches that would have taken it into retread territory. Boasting a talented cast and perfect length, For All We Know is a bold way to end your Fringe-going experience.
- Carey Bray
For information about show times, venues and costs, visit AtlanticFringe.ca