Edmonton Fringe Festival, The Beer Tent Reviews- ThunderCATS

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Review by Danielle LaRose

ThunderCATS explodes onto the stage in a brilliantly bonkers musical spectCATular that will have you howling with laughter until your face and sides cramp. Composing trio Martin, Abbott and den Otter have sunk their claws into a once-in-a-Fringe-time smash hit with the help of a disgustingly talented cast. Sarah Dowling dazzles as the elegant yet deranged Pumyra, Owen Bishop is hypnotizingly hilarious as wide-eyed Tygra, and Brennan Campbell’s vainglorious He-Man cat, Lion-O, is the hero we always knew we deserved. From the cheeky nods to other famously random cat-centric musicals to the fantastically feline dance routines to the tail-twitchingly catchy tunes, this mad-cat musical extravaganza will have kitties lining up around the block to see it again and again! Get your paws on tickets right meow, you bunch of pussies!!

ThunderCATS plays at Venue 22, The Luther Centre. Tickets and info can be found at the box office or online

Read these and other Fringe reviews in The Beer Tent Reviews, printed and distributed on the Fringe grounds and at participating venues. Check out @BeerTentReviews!

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Edmonton Fringe Festival, The Beer Tent Reviews- Reality Crack

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Review by Danielle LaRose

Two Rose’s lie bloodied on the floor of an apocalyptic scene. There are eggshells smashed everywhere and a phone that’s been severed at the cord. We’re cut off from the outside world save for a window suspended before the audience- what happened here? How did we come to this? This ingeniously surreal piece flickers and flashes to life like the static electricity of synaptic nerves firing into action, fighting to make sense of existence. Playwrights/performers Candice Berlinguette and Laura Raboud are absolutely riveting as they hurl themselves, holding nothing back, into every single moment of madness. The entire piece is moments, pieces of moments, trying desperately to cram themselves back into sense. Hilariously philosophical and terrifyingly absurd, Reality Crack is a wild ride you can’t miss.

Reality Crack plays at Venue 3, The Walterdale Playhouse. Tickets and info can be found at the box office or online

Read these and other Fringe reviews in The Beer Tent Reviews, printed and distributed on the Fringe grounds and at participating venues. Check out @BeerTentReviews!

Edmonton Fringe Festival, The Beer Tent Reviews- Baba Yaga

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Review by Danielle LaRose

In the middle of the forest stands a house. Literally, stands. On legs. There dwells the terrifying child-eating witch Baba Yaga. This Ukranian folktale, part Cinderella story part Hansel & Gretel, is brought to life by Alberta Musical Theatre Company with ingenuity and boundless charm. Kathryn Smith’s original music finds playful flair in the hands of guitarist Dempsey Bolton and soars on the voices of the talented young cast. Marguerite Lawler’s spunky Baba Yaga steals the show, and our hearts, with feisty charisma and effortless sensitivity. Children and adults alike will giggle themselves silly as Camille Pavlenko’s book is a treasure trove of witty one-liners, but it’s the message of light, love, and acceptance that will leave audiences glowing.

Baba Yaga plays at Venue 6, The Strathcona Community League. Tickets and info can be found at the box office or online.

Read these and other Fringe reviews in The Beer Tent Reviews, printed and distributed on the Fringe grounds and at participating venues. Check out @BeerTentReviews!

Edmonton Fringe Festival, The Beer Tent Reviews- World’s Wife

 

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Review by Danielle LaRose

Crimson curtains adorn the stage like a Victorian circus, framing a parade of sideshow acts here to share their stories. Three performers take it in turns to portray a conveyor belt of characters from myth and history- Little Red Cap, Medusa, Frau Freud. Cheryl Jameson’s performances are particularly magnetic throughout. Her Mrs Quasimodo (of Notre Dame Fame) reveals a truly affecting tale of misfit love turning to sour betrayal and driving her to desperation. However the unrivalled star of the show is the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy. The words of the UK’s first female poet laureate devastate and titillate in equal measure, painting the complexities of female experience in vivid colours. Shirley Bassey poignantly bookends the production- “Just a little bit of history repeating”.

World’s Wife plays at Venue 8,The Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre. Tickets and info at the box office or online

Read these and other Fringe reviews in The Beer Tent Reviews, printed and distributed on the Fringe grounds and at participating venues. Check out @BeerTentReviews!

Edmonton Fringe Festival, The Beer Tent Reviews- It’s Rabbit Night

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Review by Danielle LaRose

Is it though? What IS Rabbit Night? Cute videos of bunnies eating raspberries, bouncy videos of bunnies named Dennis Hopper dancing to Queen, suggestive videos of Bambi’s Thumper meeting his girl bunny underscored with sexy music…a velociraptor (obviously)…and a couple of disappointed guys dressed as bunnies. Or should I say Rabbits? If only we had received the memo about the Rules of Rabbit Night, we could keep all the presents they wanted to give us! Peppered with Rabbit-themed content that is sure to delight and disorient you, this comedy show is hilariously depressing and unabashedly joyful, and, I must say, a hopping good time.

It’s Rabbit Night plays at Venue 26, The Almanac. Tickets and info available at the box office or online.

Read these and other Fringe reviews in The Beer Tent Reviews, printed and distributed on the Fringe grounds and at participating venues. Check out @BeerTentReviews!

Edmonton Fringe Festival, The Beer Tent Reviews: The Drowning Girls

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Review by Danielle LaRose

It starts with a gasp and ends with a giggle. The Drowning Girls, three of them, splutter to life from within bathtub coffins to tell their tale of all being wed to the same murderous, thieving, gas-lighting crook. More specificity could be found in each of the main characters, but there is also power in the ghostly presence of the sisterhood, floating through each other’s stories. It’s often difficult to hear the actors’ voices in the space (which strangely enough sounds like an echoing marble bathroom), but Beth Graham’s script is unrelenting in its depiction of the autonomy-stripping, often desperate act of marriage. They had their own names once, but now their buckets are full of water, wedding-day perfume, his strong features, and empty dreams of happiness.

The Drowning Girls plays at Venue 48, The Dai Scott Stage at Hazeldean Hall. Tickets and info available at the box office or online.

Read these and other Fringe reviews in The Beer Tent Reviews, printed and distributed on the Fringe grounds and at participating venues. Check out @BeerTentReviews!

 

What’s the Buzz- May

May gets off to a rollicking start with lots of fabulous shows kicking off this week, so let’s get started! Time to grab your calendar, pick the closest patio for pre-show bevies, and make some plans with your buddies!

Stupid F**king Bird- Theatre Disponibilité, Motel Theatre, Calgary Arts Commons

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“Do you have any idea what’s passing itself off as theatre these days? Do you ever GO?! I know you think you should, but do you, ever, of your own free will”? Aaron Posner’s hilarious and irreverent “rip off of a classic” takes Chekhov’s notion of New Forms to a whole new level. Based on the timeless Russian tale of angst, misplaced love, selfishness, and our search for personal and artistic purpose, Stupid F**king Bird sweeps us away into a magical metatheatrical world of endless possibility. The Motel Theatre is the perfect intimate setting as this vibrant ensemble welcomes the audience to experience AND participate in a thrilling new form of storytelling.

This is only a short run and seating is very limited, so get your tickets now to avoid missing out on this unforgettable show!

Stupid F**king Bird runs at the Motel Theatre in Calgary’s Arts Commons now until May 12th. Tickets and info at www.artscommons.ca

52 Pickup- Lunchbox Theatre, Calgary

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Christopher Duthie and Ayla Stephens, Photo by Benjamin Laird

Another short running, game-changing show which you absolutely cannot miss! Lunchbox’s RBC Emerging Director’s Showcase sees Chris Stockton taking the helm on this fresh new piece about relationships that is literally brand new every single performance! A deck of cards, each representing a different moment, is thrown in the air and then the show can begin. As each card is picked up, we see these moments unfold in a mosaic that is all too representative of the chaos of relationships.

52 Pick Up runs at Calgary’s Lunchbox Theatre until May 12th. Tickets and info at www.lunchboxtheatre.com

Last Chance Leduc- The Backstage Theatre, Edmonton

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Oscar Derkx, Emma Houghton and Evan Hall in Last Chance Leduc, photo by Tracy Carroll

This brand new play by Katherine Koller couldn’t be more topically Albertan. Exploring the boom/bust system that holds such sway on our daily lives in this province, Koller takes us deeper into the impact it’s had on our personal relationships. A slice of our domestic and economic history on the risky frontiers of the oil boom comes to life in this story which is sure to hit close to home.

Last Chance Leduc runs at the Backstage Theatre in Edmonton’s ATB Arts Barns until May 19th. Tickets and info at fringetheatre.ca

Terry and the Dog, Edmonton Actor’s Theatre, Arts Barns Studio Theatre

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Edmonton Actor’s Theatre has been bringing us consistently inventive and exciting theatre for a few years now, and they show no signs of stopping. Featuring a stellar cast of local artists, Terry and the Dog is an intimate portrait of one man’s experiences of death, family, and alcoholism. Collin Doyle’s new play packs an emotional punch, but knowing director Dave Horak’s innovative style, this production is sure to bite back. Seating is VERY limited so get your tickets asap!

Terry and the Dog plays until May 19th at the Arts Barns Studio Theatre. Tickets and info at www.edmontonactorstheatre.ca

Legally Blonde: The Musical- Stage West Theatre, Calgary

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If you’ve never seen this totally fabulous show (snaps!), get ready for a high energy, high positivity, high quality broadway experience! This stage musical is even better than the classic 2001 film for MANY reasons. It has incredible music, unforgettable dance numbers and hilarious lyrics, plus it features a female-strong cast of absolute bombshells! It’s not just fluff, it’s not just pink and blonde and pretty, it’s a story for all us girls who have the guts to go after our dreams with positivity and joy. This is an ideal Mother’s Day experience so grab your ladies and make a night of it!

Legally Blonde: The Musical plays at Stage West Theatre in Calgary until June 24th. Tickets and info at www.stagewestcalgary.com

The Lion in Winter- Dewdney Players, Okotoks

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 James Goldman’s fantastic play of family politics is an absolute classic. Follow the inner workings of the ancient Plantagenet family as mothers, fathers and siblings battle for sway in England’s most infamous ruling dynasty. Perhaps you’ll find we have more in common with these ancient rulers than you thought, perhaps even some reflections of your own family dynamics!

The Lion in Winter runs at the Rotary Performing Arts Centre from May 11th to 26th. Tickets and info at www.okotoks.ca