Reviewer: Ed Farolan


xGood Theatre
The Good of the Sun by Betty Lambert

Performance Dates 6, 9, 11 - 14, September at The Cultch Lab Theatre

Performers Elizabeth Kirkland, Jordan Schartner, Brent Hirose

I was disappointed when I watched this show last September 11 because I was hoping to be treated with "the scents and heat" of a Mexican garden. I didn't smell anything, and it wasn't hot at all. In fact, I had to put my jacket on because it was cold at the venue.This was originally a radio play, andputting it on stage didn't work. Radio plays of the last century should be left as radio plays. Besides, the topic of clashing culture, between Mexican and Canadian is an old-fashioned way of thinking. Kirkland was okay as Mary, but Schartner was wooden and robotic in the delivery of his lines. Hirose was good--he looked and acted like a Mexican doctor.

xAntie in a Drain
The Greatest Monkey Show on Earth by Ross Travis

Performance Dates 4, 6, 10 - 12 & 14 at Waterfront Theatre

Performer Ross Travis

Travis is quite an acrobat and his ability to imitate a monkey is amazing. He got a standing ovation at the end of his show last September 10th. In-between his acrobatics, especially the climbing and descending from a pole, he got wows and enthusiastic applause.The play is a take-off from Planet of the Apes where the apes get confrontational after being abused by humans. In this case, Charles is a circus monkey who gets tired of his master and snaps. He gets rid of him by tearing him apart. Freedom is his, and as a mockery to humans, he gets a volunteer from the crowd to become chained and enslaved. The house almost sold out so get tickets before the last performances sell out.


xSpired Theatre
The Hatter by Andrew Wade

Performance Dates 5 - 8, 11, 13 at Studio 16

Performer Andrew Wade

The Hatter is a take-off from Alice in Wonderland focusing on The Mad Hatter. Wade puts a twist in the story by showing who this character really is. He is a man trying desperately to get home. After Alice's adventures, the Hatter has lost his madness and now finds himself exiled from Wonderland. and stuck in the real world. Wade is a crafty playwright and gets the audience to participate, making us sing "God Shave The Queen" using the lusic of "God Save The Queen", and "Happy Unbirthday". He starts off before the show giving programmes and inviting us all to tea, as this is a tea party. This 60-minute show was pretty good, and Wade who is an Acting and Writing Major at the University of Victoria is an excellent and talented actor. As I was seeing him act, I thought of casting him as a Shakesperean actor. I think he would do a fantastic Hamlet.


vHappyGoodThings Productions
...didn't see that coming by Beverly Elliott

Performance Dates 5 -7, 10, 12, 14 at Performance Works

Performer Beverly Elliott

I reviewed Elliott when she did Lucille Starr at the Firehall and again with her band August at the Shadbolt a few years ago, and she's a terrific and versatile singer, as well as a funny stand-in comedian. In this fringe show, this beloved Vancouver actress sings and talks to a sold-out crowd about her life in a small town in Ontario where she worked in a gay bar, and other stories. She not only made us laugh, but also made us sad, particularly about her friend Frida who committed suicide. She's very charismatic and uses four letter words despite the fact that there were children in her matinee performance last September 6th. But wht the heck! It was a PG show and the kids came with their parents. She even went down to the audience and talked to us one by one, and when she came to me she said "Nice shirt". This is a must-see show but better get your tickets before the her show sells out.

vTwo Hands Productions
CODA by Mark Murray

Performance Dates 6, 8, 9, 12 - 14 at The False Creek Gym

Performer Mark Murray

CODA is the acronym for Children of Deaf Adults, and in this one-man show by Seattle performer Mark Murray, we find out some interesting information about how it feels to be a child of deaf parents, especially when both are deaf. Throughout the show, Murray uses sign language and at the same time talks, saying that his parents used only sign language but he would resppond with both sign language and words from his mouth because his parents could also read lips. He struggles to find where he belongs in this world of the deaf and hearing. The good thing about this is if he gives up doing the Fringe tours, he'll always have a job as an interpreter for the deaf.


vLotus Land Productions
Versus by Andrea Yu

Performance Dates 4 -8, 11 - 14 at The Firehall Arts Centre

Performers Pandora Morgan, Evelyn Chew, and Chris Lam

Andrea Yu's play mixes horror and the supernatural, and although she comments that it was influenced by the Korean film Oldboy, it looked more like an influence from Zombie and demon-possession movies . It's apparently a comedy mixed with thriller components. Versus is about a female playwright Andrea Yu played by Evelyn Chew, who's writing a play about a dead woman (Pandora Morgan playing herself) and .coming back to life to take revenge onher killer. I found the play interesting and I enjoyed the multiple roles played by Chris Lam. Chew and Morgan also delivered their roles quite well, and set and sound designs were well done, except for some instances when the sound overpowered the actors' lines. It was not a big crowd during the September 5 performance, but hopefully, by word of mouth, the crowds will start pouring in for the next shows.


junkBorn to Fly Productions
Junk! Words and Music by Paul Snider

Performance Dates 4 - 8, 12 - 14 , September at The Firehall Arts Centre

Performers Erika Thompson, Andrew Cohen, Alex Nicoll, Paul Snider, Boris Ulanowicz, Julie Langmann, Mimi Snider, Julia Walmsley, Nikki Snider, Brian Trepanier and Noel Villeneuve

"One man’s garbage is another man’s gold" is the theme of this musical, based on an old adage. In October 2013 after being inspired by the many people all over the world who recycle junk in unique ways, Paul Snider started building musical instruments from the junk he gathered from Vancouver thrift shops, scrap yards, recycling depots, garage sales, the Dunbar Haunted House, second hand stores, and roadsides. and found at the side of the roadwhile writing the words and the score of this musical.It's amazing how he built a wheel barrow bass, a garbage can cello, a paper maché violin, PVC tubing, mousetraps and other musical instruments from trash. I enjoyed this show, and it does have an eco-message regarding our environment--there's just too much garbage in our world today, and we have to stop buying new things and instead, recycle old stuff such as clothes, shoes, and with regard to food, to just eat the right amount of food and avoid throwing away leftovers, but instead, save them for another meal. This musical was well delivered: the actors sang, played musical instruments and even danced. I predict this will be one of the picks of the Fringe, and I hope this musical with its mesage goes on tour around the world.


Single Line Theatre
The Body of a Woman as a Battlefield in the Bosnian War by Matel Visniec Translated by Alison Sinclair

Performance Dates 6, 7, 11, 13, 14, September at The Cultch Lab Theatre

Performers Sinziana Corozel and Qelsey Zeeper

Although this type of theatre isn't my cup of tea, I was impressed by the acting of these two actors. Corozel portrayed Dorra, a woman who was raped and traumatized during the Bosnian War (1992-95) and Zeeper as an American psychologist who also gets traumatized when she goes to Bosnia to help a team digging up mass graves. While based on real life events, Roumanian playwright Visniec focuses on what the long title of this play is all about, ie, how raping women was used "as a form of military strategy to demoralize and humiliate the adversary", according to the programme notes. For those who like stories of people traumatized by wars, as in numerous cases of Canadian soldiers coming back from Afghanistan, this play might suit you.

© 2014 Ed Farolan