By Zach Faye

I watched the first instalment of the incredibly earnest and possibly sinister Zach Faye’s Instagram livestream and I’m not quite sure what it is yet but I did it while eating a burrito from the comfort of my bed so I am already sold. A tale about a man and his box? A meta-referential meditation on theatre in the internet age? Something to do with bread? I’m intrigued. There’s three broadcasts left, and through the magic of Instagram, each one will be available for the 24 hours following, so you have no excuse for missing it. - Nicole Maunsell

Follow @howtoplaywithzachfaie for updates, performance times, and additional content.
Friday, August 30th
Sunday, September 1st
Tuesday, September 3rd
Saturday, September 7th

By Lily Falk & Franziska Glen

Crypthand adapts nineteenth-century lesbian icon Anne Lister’s coded boarding school diaries, set years before she became the swaggering subject of the BBC-HBO drama Gentleman Jack. The material lends itself well to adaptation (talking in code and innuendo is familiar even for today’s queers living relatively openly) and the anticipation and anguish of ill-fated teenage love is infinitely relatable.

For a performance billed as a workshop, this was highly-developed—the blocking is tight, the script is dynamic and the actors are exuberant. I can see this being an audience favourite; see it early before word gets around. - NM

2202 Gottingen Street
Friday, August 30th at 8:35 PM
Saturday, August 31st at 5:35 PM
Monday, September 2nd at 9:30 PM
Wednesday, September 4th at 9:30 PM
Friday, September 6th at 8:30 PM

By Colleen MacIsaac

Colleen MacIsaac brings us another short and satisfying Fringe show in the tradition of 2017’s Cartography and 2016’s dark matter.

We’re passing time in an isolated bunker with a forgotten researcher who only has a drooping plant and empty radio waves for company. There’s no dialogue, but plenty to say. MacIsaac is adept at building rich worlds with understated gestures and a few evocative props—I was charmed from the first bleep bloop of the antique radio. Like her previous work, mercury is infused with wonder, humour, nostalgia and hope. Indulge your tender heart and squeeze it in. - ML

Neptune Imperial Studio
1589 Argyle Street
Friday, August 30th at 7:15 PM
Saturday, August 31st at 3:35 PM
Sunday, September 1st at 4:45 PM, 10:45 PM
Monday, September 2nd at 9:00 PM
Thursday, September 5th at 9:30 PM
Friday, September 6th at 5:00 PM
Saturday, September 7th at 2:00 PM, 11:20 PM
Sunday, September 8th at 12:30 PM

A Barrel of Monkeys, or What You Will
By Kevin Gerald Connors

Connors’ Fringe shows over the last few years have not received positive receptions from Coast reviewers, due to some extremely objectionable material that relied heavily on racial and sexual attitudes that should have been left in the 1950s.

This style of humour, I’m happy to say, is absent from A Barrel of Monkeys. Here, Connors gets his laughs in another old-fashioned way—he works his ass off for them. Connors is skilled in a broad, highly physical style of acting in which every line—no matter how ordinary—is wrung for its full comic potential.

The story line—two monkey actor friends are competing for parts in monkeyified versions of Shakespeare’s plays—is silly, but it allows Connors and his scene partner to show off their Shakespearean monologue delivery, as well as engage in bad monkey puns and (comedically effective) over-emoting.

It’s light stuff, to be sure, but very funny, and Connors enthusiasm and commitment to his dialogue is fun to experience. This one, I would recommend. - Martin Wallace

Neptune Windsor Studio
1589 Argyle Street
Friday, August 30th at 7:00 PM
Sunday, September 1st at 4:05 PM, 8:30 PM
Monday, September 2nd at 4:25 PM
Wednesday, September 4th at 10:20 PM
Saturday, September 7th at 12:50 PM, 4:35 PM

Queens of the Glamazon: Fierce at the Fringe
Presented by Queens of the Glamazon

At one point in Fierce, Rogue Fatale asked the audience, “Who has never been to a drag show before?” Up went my hand. Yes, I’m embarrassed to say, last night was the first drag show I’ve ever attended.

For those of you more acquainted with the Halifax drag scene, I don’t need to explain who the Queens of the Glamazon (Rouge Fatale, Eureka Love and Farrah Moanz) are, nor, of course, what a drag show is.

For others, a drag show involves scenes of drag queens dancing and lip-syncing to popular songs (heavy on dance numbers, broadway-style anthems and torch songs), interspersed with periods of onstage banter. (Part of the format, to be sure, but also necessary to allow the queens time for the constant wig and costume changes.) If you’re the dancing sort, you can get up off your seat and try out your moves during the musical numbers. If you’re more the sitting type, you can still enjoy the arch yet deadpan tone of the banter. (You might, indeed, find yourself part of it.)

Fierce at the Fringe is delightful, and I’m hoping that the large Neptune Scotiabank Studio (the perfect space for the show) gets larger audiences in subsequent performances to fill it with the energy this show deserves and requires.

Oh, and I can’t end this review without making note of the ASL interpreter who worked double duty, conveying both the words and the mood of the musical numbers through her signing and dance moves. (For one number, one of the performers joked that it was really a “duet” between her and the interpreter.) For much of the evening, my eyes were drawn as often to her as to the drag queens. - MW

Neptune Scotiabank Studio Stage
1589 Argyle Street
Saturday, August 31st at 9:30 PM
Monday, September 2nd at 9:30 PM
Saturday, September 7th at 5:15 PM
Sunday, September 8th at 1:15 PM, 9:05 PM

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