Magical Mystery Detour

Magical Mystery Detour

I unfortunately missed a show last night due to my inability to arrive at a venue fast enough, so I was only able to catch the opening performance of Magical Mystery Detour by Gemma Wilcox. I had previously spoken to the performer while she was at the Edmonton Fringe about her show and what Victoria can expect. Before the show, I had only recently heard of her previous work that has won awards all over the continent. All I knew walking in was that I was going to watch Wilcox’s character of Sandra take a journey that would follow some twists and turns. What I didn’t expect was the well-crafted one woman show that not only told a story, but proved to be one of the most relatable pieces of theatre I have seen in a long time.

Sandra is a single woman with a career, friends, a dog, and a seemingly normal life. The audience learns early on that her mother has recently passed, and this is clearly a weight Sandra carries. Wilcox’s performance was not just of Sandra but of many other characters including people, inanimate objects, and various animals. The other characters brought humour to the piece but also brought the audience closer to the performance. The play was full of truth with a magnifying glass directed at the insecurities of your mid-30s, and was easy to connect to. The play altogether was more light than heavy, with plenty of laughs through the characters and Sandra’s quirks. It was just plain entertaining to watch Wilcox perform and I think is definitely a play to see at this year’s Fringe.

In case you missed it, you can listen to my interview with Gemma below:

Magical Mystery Detour continues at the Downtown Activity Centre from August 26th-31st.

Until next time,
Phoenix

Selkie Tales

Yesterday afternoon, I took a venture to Selkie Tales. I had heard a lot of word on the street about this Scottish duo, so I was very excited to see the hype myself.

Selkie TalesI always find it inviting when performers are there to greet you as the audience takes a seat before the show. It sets up this feeling as if you are a part of the show and it’s more of an experience rather than a performance. Selkie Tales is exactly what the title implies. That is, a few stories, one of which includes a Selkie, told by two people. The atmosphere was that of a bedtime tale told by your favourite childhood babysitter complete with costume changes and various set pieces to aid your imagination. Their performance leaves a lot to be imagined, but the simplicity is key to the whole piece. They take you to the sea, on a boat, deep underwater, and yet you feel as if you travel with them the entire time. They are charming performers and with the aid of some acrobatic tricks, the entire show is quite a pleasant experience. Selkie Tales brings to life the folklore of Scotland and is something sweet and magical to check out this Fringe Festival.

Selkie Tales by Voicebox Theatre continues from August 27th-30th at the Metro Theatre.

Until next time,
Phoenix

The New Conformity

Many people find joy in changing and adapting, and others take pride in holding to their ways. Implied Intuition’s contemporary circus explores pressures to conform to social norms and trends. The show begins with uniform juggling, which is quickly disturbed. As in the social world conformist trends are not created by a top-down authority. Instead, each juggler influences norms through their tendency to conform, imitate, police, resist and innovate.

conformity

The New Conformity features the fun theatrics and impressive juggling of Yuki Ueda, Chris Murdoch, Sean Brossard and Sia Metta. From early adapter to laggard, each juggler innovates in his own way. Momentum builds as each man’s persona slowly surfaces through their juggling, physical theatre and music choices.

From working in radio I am always drawn to uses of audio in productions, and I loved how juggling was choreographed to diverse musical choices. Yet the audio transitions, including how the music sometimes abruptly moved from quiet to loud, were distracting at times.

You don’t need experience with circuses or juggling to enjoy The New Conformity. As someone who knows little about these topics, I was thoroughly entertained. This theatrical circus had the audience laughing and clapping, bringing them to their feet at the end.

The New Conformity plays at the Metro Studio. For showtimes click here.

Paleoncology

MoonDinosaurTheatre_Photo1_Fringe2014

An actor constantly wears a dinosaur costume on stage – do you understand their character is actually wearing one? Your loved one is diagnosed with terminal cancer – do you understand they are going to die? Through gentle humour and touching sadness, Paleoncology slowly draws in the audience and helps them understand.

Leaellyn, or Lee for short, is in her early twenties. Her older brother Daniel has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Lee supports him while trying to understand who she is without him. She finds comfort in her love of dinosaurs – lots of dinosaurs.

Moon Dinosaur Theatre’s production adeptly brings together disparate topics of family dynamics, personal potential, the loss of a loved one and dinosaurs. Kira Hall’s solo performance as Lee is outstanding, enhanced through the use of puppets, voice recordings and overhead projections. The other characters are largely seen through Lee’s eyes. The parents seem flat and strangely distant, but Daniel takes shape beautifully.

Paleoncology is my favourite show to-date, because it awakens the desire for connection over distances. Not only physical distances, also constructed ones of habitual small talk and fear of vulnerability. Like Lee and many people who tend to be reserved, I have struggled to connect with people I love. I am so thankful to have stepped into this show as it reminded me of the value of being vulnerable and expressing love for others.

Paleoncology plays at the Downtown Activity Centre. For showtimes click here.

The Rise of Basement Boy

There are an outstanding number of good local productions in this year’s Fringe. The Rise of Basement Boy is one of these productions, featuring Phoenix Theatre students and alumni. This light, energetic musical comedy has audiences laughing and toe-tapping.

IMG_0068

Archie Clarkson lives in his basement world of nerd culture, spending his time gaming with his best friend Bart and his grandfather. The world outside holds little interest until one-day the pizza delivery person is the girl of Archie’s dreams, and he has to venture into the real world or lose the game of love.

Considering I work with CFUV 101.9FM you won’t be surprised to know I love music, but musicals are hit and miss for me. Basement Boy is a hit because the lyricism is good, really good. The writing throughout is clever, constantly using an array of gaming references. While people who are into gaming and nerd culture will especially love this show, those who don’t understand the appeal of gaming might also gain some insight.

If you missed my interview with the writer and cast, here it is:

Basement Boy plays at the Downtown Activity Centre. For showtimes click here.

Magical Mystery Detour

Magical Mystery Detour

Gemma Wilcox is back this year with her new show, Magical Mystery Detour. Following the same character as her last two award-winning shows The Honeymoon is Officially Over and Shadows in Bloom, she returns with her Pick of the Fringe performance featuring over 25 characters and an exploration of the twists and turns of life. I caught up with her while she was performing at the Edmonton Fringe over the last couple of weeks. Listen below:

Magical Mystery Detour opens tomorrow at the Downtown Activity Centre. For full showtime information, visit the Victoria Fringe website.

Rope of Sand

Rope of Sand

After visiting Improv Club last night, I made my way to the Downtown Activity Centre. Rope of Sand is a production by local theatre company workingclasstheatre. Written by Tristan Bacon and Alyssa Kostello, the story is simple. Two people meet, fall in love, and then life happens and choices need to be made. A mixture often used in modern culture, it is easy to create a forgettable story. The story of David and Tracy starts off in the same place most do, a social setting over drinks, but slowly as the play unfolds, it is easy to see the writers created something unforgettable in context and execution. The writers creatively set the piece somewhere tropical, had dialogue that was relatable and witty, and forced the audience to look back on themselves while watching the characters unfold. The blocking and the mysterious character of “D” is what stands out most in this play. Local actor Nicholas Yee steals the show and does an incredible job of keeping the play light and on its feet while still bringing truth out of his character. The way the three actors use the venue is perfect and creates a quick pace that moves the story along in a way that keeps you sitting forward for 50 minutes. Rope of Sand is a great getaway for anyone looking for something young, light, and local in this year’s Fringe.

In case you missed it, you can listen to my interview with the cast below:

Until next time,
Phoenix