The Toronto Fringe Festival is turning 25 years old this year and that, my friends, means that this year’s Fringe Festival will be chock-full with not only performances, plays and music galore but they will also be throwing a few parties to celebrate turning a quarter-of-a-century! From July 3rd to 14th, the festival will see 148 shows in 35 different venues celebrating local, national and international artists. So grab your coolest, artsiest of friends and be sure to get in on some of the creative action while the festival is in town. Here’s your rundown on just a smidgen of what you can expect at this year’s Fringe…
Or Be Eaten | Silent Protagonist | St. Vlad’s Theatre
A contemporary fairy tale set in Toronto, Or Be Eaten is a story about a young man in search of a home. His search leads him beneath the city into an old, unused subway tunnel where he finds dark and dangerous creatures and discovers that only the hungriest survive. Sounds much like life above ground, dontcha think? The story is told with the use of mask, song and puppetry.
Opera for Heathens | Kevztunz | Solo Room
From Mozart to Meat Loaf, Puccini to Queen, Opera for Heathens is an opera-rock cabaret for the 21st century. Kevin Armstrong is a versatile and unorthodox performer having forged a career in Europe performing everything from traditional opera to one-man-shows that pair his 4-octave vocal range with his skills on acoustic and 7-string guitar. My Grandmother often referred to me as a heathen when was I was younger. And I am partial to a bit of rock with an operatic flair. I guess you could say this is my kinda show.
Good Girl | Barking Birds Theatre | 1044 Bathurst St.
“What is the point in trying to be a good person, and like, not murder anyone? Because you can murder somebody and still have someone love you. Right?” This is Layla’s story. She’s probably a lot like you, or maybe not. (Murderous thoughts, me? Nah, never… *hehem*) Anyways, there’s some good old sexual content and violent shiz in this one. Leave the kids with the ‘rents.
3 Artists Search for a Festival | Code White Theatre | Tent
Three artists. Three pints of beer. Fifteen minutes. Will they get four NNNNs? Will it be picked up by a big theatre company? Will it be good? Or, will they just drink their second pint of beer? Doesn’t matter. They had me at beer.
Elizabeth – Darcy: An adaptation of Pride and Prejudice | Burt and Werneburg | The Campbell House
This is a love story. This is a comedy. This is two women playing all the parts. This is the Jane Austen you love with a squeeze of lemon. This is you moving through historic Campbell House with the story. This is you getting caught up, swept away, laughing out loud. Sisters are doing it for themselves! Girl Power! (Insert Feminist rant of choice.) And, it’s at a gorgeous location with audience participation, so best get your dramatic face on.
The Musical of Musicals: The Musical! | Vintage Productions | The Factory Theatre Mainspace
For the first time in Toronto! Sometimes one musical is not enough… If you can’t write an Oklahoma or Cabaret, a Sweeney Todd, a Mame, or a Phantom, then you might as well just pretend you wrote them. Why be a second-rate original when you could be a first-rate imitation? Now you can see five great musicals for the price of one! Musical lovers, I’d say you’re covered.
Here | Fulcrum Theatre | Randolph Theatre
When Emily tears a ligament in her leg, she is forced to spend a year on crutches and reconsider her dreams of being a dancer. A multimedia dance-theatre piece from the company that won Best of Hamilton Fringe in 2012, Here examines the notions of being stuck and learning when to say goodbye to something you love. If you like a lil’ dance served up with your drama, this is your bag. And it already won an award so they have to be doing something right.
Threads | Tonya Jone Miller | Solo Room
In August of 1968, an Indiana farm girl stepped off a plane in Saigon. The events that led her there and her ensuing adventures make for an incredible true story that is “a consistently thrilling celebration of the places we go and the people we meet,” -CBC, and “A true object of beauty – don’t miss!” -Free Press. Look at those reviews! This play is all the way from Portland, Oregon and I’d say it sounds like a must-see.
Polly Polly | Theatre Mischief | Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace
Polly stares at the movies and hates her life. Then… a voice starts to narrate for her, as if she was worthy of an audience. A stranger with a beautiful alto and an uncanny knowledge of Polly’s soul calls. “I’m Polly Eschfield,” she says. “I’m you. Find me.” A cinematic adventure into an existential crisis. Presented in Theatr-O-Scope Vision. What on earth is ‘Theatr-O-Scope Vision’?! I’m going just to find that out.
Fear Factor: Canine Edition | John Grady | George Ignatieff Theatre
An uncompromising and intimate look into the lives of John and his Bernese Mountain Dog, Abby. Their misadventures together in New York City and Chicago, as he faces his ultimate fears: love, loss… and dog yoga. I am a sucker for some puppy-love, but who isn’t? I have a feeling this is going to be full of the ‘aww’ factor. I just hope the dog doesn’t poop onstage.