Today our guest writer Juljka Nadir reviews some very out of the box shows for the newest edition of our Fringe Reviews. Juljka is a Vancouver graphic artist and her reviews pay attention to the visual as well as the artistic details of the shows. We hope you like these as much as we did!
In the not so distant future, Earth has become 85% dominated by genetically modified Swiss Chard in a botched attempt by Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Bieber to solve world hunger. The last remaining members of the human race are cryogenically frozen and hurdled into outer space as “human cargo”. One human becomes specially selected for an early defrost to fulfill an assignment as “sleep custodian” that “cannot be automated”. The result is a powerful, nuanced performance by Ingrid Hansen of the adventures of Kitt, our long-suffering astronaut hero.
Hansen’s heart-wrenching embodiment of Kitt flows with seamless transitions and awesome sound effects. A deeply funny script, Hansen makes you believe with masterful puppetry and the clever use of blast from the past upcycled stage props. An exceptional piece that encapsulates human loneliness and thrusts bravery in the face of life’s unexpected asks with intrepid hilarity.
From the four perspectives of a lab mouse, scientist, devastated mother to be and cancer itself, “Shadowlands” explores a story of biomedical research in the dark. Not afraid to take herself seriously, writer and actor Savana Harvey weaves parallel stories together around the mysterious death of a frustrated researcher. The outcome is a series of vignettes that raise unanswered questions surrounding stem cell research.
From the ancient sounding voice of a gold-laméd cancer cell to the repetitive excitement of a lab mouse, “Shadowlands” is a dedicated performance by Harvey. Portraying oppositional characters around a sensitive subject matter is admirable yet at the end, it feels like the central message, if there is one, is unclear.
If you’re not in the mood to be part of an interactive Shakespearean play – go see “Slumber Here”. With consent to be “touched and covered in glitter”, you may just find love amongst the fairies. In what was the dying light of Ron Basford Park on a mid-September’s eve, the familiar mishap and sweet confusion of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” morphs into life-action-role playing. Non-actors mingle with inquisitive Pucks and delightful Mechanicals as the audience is urged to go forth on their quest to uncover enchanted secrets.
Beware of the wrathful King Oberon on the top of the Fairy Mound and live a little with this “live Shakespearean video game” where what happens, dear mortal, is really all up to you.
The Immaculate Big-Bang
Stand-up comic New Yorker Bill Santiago is a talker. And lucky enough for you, he actually has something interesting to say. From the beginning of the beginning of the Big Bang to the significance of the number 33 after the death of his father, Santiago doesn’t appear to be a man to do anything half way – most definitely not his self-professed “deep Wikipedia research”. With science being the new religion, the confounding logic of confirmation bias ringing true and the still unanswered questions of the cosmos despite advancements in Quantum mechanics, this running monologue is as enlightening as it is entertaining.
From the philosophical to the personal, Santiago’s authentic performance and energetic, cross-topical script that bangs on many doors, is guaranteed to crack you up.
Tickets available here!
– Juljka Nadir