Deranged Dating

Credit: Eesie Pretorius

Late Monday night I found the Victoria Event Centre buzzing with fringers ready to see Deranged Dating. South African comedian and stuntwoman Shirley Kirchmann took the stage, commanding the room with her mix of stand-up and absurd storytelling.

At 35 years of age Shirley was doing something unacceptable – she was single! In her performance, she delves into this ‘problem’ and her efforts to solve it through online dating and matchmaking. The show flows like a series of vignettes, hedged by stand-up jokes and audience interaction. The humour is often crass, and as Kirchmann notes jokes occasionally ‘cross the line.’

Kirchmann’s is fierce and hilarious. I was not able to get into the show because it is not my type of humour and I did not connect to the topic. Yet I imagine many people will enjoy Kirchmann’s over the top account. For those who have been a deranged dater, suffering through terrible dates and online matchmaking, this is the show for you.

Deranged Dating plays at the Victoria Event Centre. For showtimes click here.

IMPROV CLUB

Dave Morris’ IMPROV CLUB is darkly funny and compelling, leading you into the mind of writer Chuck Palahniuk. A new story is carved every night that resembles Palahniuk’s works, such as Survivor, Choke, Lullaby and Fight Club.

improv_club-160x160Haven’t read Palahniuk? Don’t worry. If you enjoy horror, satire, morbid humour and improv this is the show for you. Enter the American underbelly and the grotesque inner workings of characters who never quite fit into society. Be prepared to laugh then feel uncomfortable by what just made you laugh. The show may take two steps two far but only to reflect Palahniuk’s work.

Morris adeptly mimics the writing styles of Palahniuk while giving the show a humorous twist. The first show was rough, with Morris ill-prepared for certain characters and themes. Also this dark improv structured in media res, so the story starts at a dramatic midpoint, is not easy. In taking on the challenge, Morris shows his talent and willingness to be vulnerable on-stage. I expect the show will only improve as it progresses through this year’s Fringe.

This article was co-written by Aaren Topley & Robyn Spilker. IMPROV CLUB plays at the Victoria Event Centre. For showtimes click here

Saudade

While there is no universal teenage girl experience, Saudade captures many themes I remember from my teens. Stuck in suburbia and highschool while poking fun at these absurd structures. Trapped in your body and emotions while wielding them for your own expressive purposes. In an up-close and energetic solo performance, Caitlin McCarthy of Vancouver-based company Theatre Plexus makes her debut at Victoria Fringe.

This coming of age story follows Erica through her last year of highschool. She wants to do the right thing, but what she wants more is to matter. By year’s end she finds her latent potential, but it is not what she expected.

The storyline works, but what I enjoyed more was McCarthy’s performance and writing. The detailed description of the contents of Mr. Nelson’s desk. The characterization of each teacher. The way cheesy, emotional music samples are used. The attempts to explain the absurd and inexplicable. If you are intrigued, be sure to see this show.

Theatre-Plexus-Saudade-Caitlin-McCarthy

Saudade plays at VCM Wood Hall. For showtimes click here.

Kitt & Jane

Tackling the uncertain future, the one where climate change, income inequality, resource scarcity could take their toll, is no small feat for a fringe production. In Kitt & Jane: A Survival Guide to the Near-Post-Apocalyptic Future, Victoria favourite SNAFU Productions takes on this topic with humour and curiosity. Kitt & Jane - Poster Art by Victoria artist Hank Pine - Web Poster sm

Apocalypse survival is articulated with David-Bowie-style jams on the glockenspiel and ukulele, giant-scale shadow puppetry, and fast-paced physical humour. The show is both a hilarious romp and a poignant exploration of the world today’s youth are inheriting and what they’re prepared to do about it.

Kitt & Jane won the 2014 CAFF Fringe lottery, which put them on the Canadian fringe circuit this summer. They will tour seven festivals in total. I caught Rod Peter Jr, one of the performer-creators, by phone during the show’s run in Edmonton. Hear what he had to say about touring, learning about the apocalypse and creating this production:


Kitt & Jane opens August 26 at the Downtown Activity Centre

Reviews: Geek Life

For opening night I chose my favorite venue, the Victoria Event Centre. At this popular year-round performance space, Fringers can lounge at round candle-lit tables while sipping beer, wine and cider. It’s the perfect place to relax with friends, have a drink and catch a show.

First of the night was Aji Slater’s Geek Life. Turning a common pejorative into a verb, Aji geeks juggling and clowning. This comedy-variety show follows his path from running backyard rollercoasters in Detroit, to attending clown school in San Fran, to heartbreak and beyond.

Aji has fabulous personality and energy. Add to this well-done sound production, juggling and comedy, both in the physical and verbal sense. My only wish is that Aji delve deeper into his occasional portrayal of other characters, which would make his storytelling even better.

Check out Geek Life if you want to laugh, learn about clowning and see your own geek side in a whole new way.

 geek-life

For show-times at the Victoria Events Centre, click here.

– Robyn