After a first weekend of fringing, here's a few recommendations of what to see:
Conjoined: A New Musical
Do you have a love/hate relationship with a sibling? Then you understand the premise of this dark comedy musical, though it's taken to a whole other level in Conjoined: A New Musical. Local company Straight Edge Theatre presents a snappy musical journey (created by Stephen Allred, Seth Gilfillan and Michael Clark) about a pair of 'attached' brothers, one who is domineering and popular, the other resentful and determined to 'break free'. Pat (Josh Travnik--dynamite vocals) is the embittered twin, while handsome Braxton (Seth Gilfillan) is the earnest but largely unaware target.
The clever staging, impressive songs (and singing) and live music (Michael Clark and friends, from Edmonton Pops Orchestra) make for a wholly-entertaining hour.
Another local company producing fine works, Whizgiggling Productions brings Destination Vegas to the fringe stage. If you remember Destination Wedding from fringe's past, this installment follows three women on another adventure; a romp in the desert and on the wrong side of the law. Cheryl Jameson is the wrong-doer, Michelle Todd the naive mom and Kristin Johnston the 'young and very beautiful' Russian co-worker who do a dynamite job of this comedy too. The storyis a bit like The Hangover movie, bad guys in the desert etc. but with way better acting and better dialogue!
Local writer/director/performer Trevor Schmidt offers a brand-new work that is clever and engaging. Be sure to add Destination Vegas to your fringing list!
Eleanor's Story: An American Girl In Hitler's Germany
If you're able to score a ticket to this piece, which was rated 'Best of Fest' at the 2015 Edmonton Fringe, then do it. Based on Eleanor Ramrath Garner's best-selling memoir, this hour-long, one-woman show by Garner's granddaughter Ingrid, details Garner's youth as an American caught in WWII Berlin. With on-screen images and sounds, Garner recreates the horror of the time through a young girl's eyes. When her family moves from the U.S. to Germany for work just as the war breaks out, the true story follows the subsequent years of allied bombings, hunger, gestapo threats and the Russian occupation.
This story of social and political turmoil feels strikingly pertinent today, almost 80 years later. It's a must-see, poignant telling of war through a child's eyes.
Juliet: A Revenge Comedy
Here's the premise: What if Juliet decided not to die? Vancouver's Monster Theatre brings the award-winning exploration of classical theatre told through the lens of modern feminism back to Edmonton fringe audiences, and it's such a worthwhile way to spend an hour.
Finding a way to NOT kill herself and leave the storyline she keeps repeating, our fair Juliet embarks on an adventure with other kick-ass female characters (Lady Macbeth, Ophelia, Cleopatra, Miranda) to confront Shakespeare himself. It's a whirlwind of action, brought to life by Lili Beaudoin as Juliet, Bob Rasco as Shakespeare and Carly Pokoradi (who is awesome as everyone else). Written by Pippa Mackie and Ryan Gladstone, this very funny piece will have you looking at your favourite Shakespearean tale a little differently.
Head over to the Fringe grounds in Old Strathcona for show times and tickets, or order online at fringetheatre.ca.