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Fringe 2009 Preview #1: Solo Shows

June 30th, 2009 Steve No comments

The Toronto Fringe Festival is almost here. it’s unquestionably the largest annual theatre festival in Toronto, with over 150 productions this year in 30 different venues, ranging from most of the mid-level theatres (The Factory, Passe Muraille, and Tarragon Theatres, for example) to the smaller performance spaces in town (like Bread and CIrcus and Comedy Bar), to the site specific pieces being performed at such varied places as The Bloor Cinema, Honest Ed’s loading dock,  and the 3rd floor bathroom at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre (that one, “Puck Bunny“, has VERY limited seating).

Jimmy Hogg just won the Outstanding Comedy Award at the 2009 Ottawa Fringe for his show "Like a Virgin", which he brings this week to Comedy Bar for its Toronto Fringe debut.

Jimmy Hogg just won the Outstanding Comedy Award at the 2009 Ottawa Fringe for his show "Like a Virgin", which he brings this week to Comedy Bar for its Toronto Fringe debut.

With so much to choose from, I’m going to be publishing 4 different preview pieces in the days leading up to the Fringe, to hopefully help you choose how to spend your time seeing as many Fringe shows as appeal to you. These picks will be divided into four categories; Solo Shows, Ensemble Shows, Musicals / Dance pieces, and a Miscellaneous category (perhaps the truest Fringe category) that includes performance art, stage combat, children’s theatre, bingo calling, and more.

There’ll be 6 shows per preview piece, with a little background given on why that show is worth checking out, and 6 more “honourable mention” shows listed (that I plan to see myself). By the end of the festival, I hope to have seen all of the shows mentioned in my previews (and a few more besides). I’ll be posting capsule reviews of each show I see daily on the website until the end of the Fringe.

First up is the most “common” variety of Fringe show, and the one that arguably has the widest range of quality; the solo show. One performer up there on the stage, often performing her or his own work. Done well, it makes for spellbinding theatre; done poorly, it can be an excruciating ordeal to sit through. The shows I’ve picked come from touring veterans who’ve amassed huge fan bases for their Fringe work, and also Fringe newbies (though they may have plenty of non-Fringe theatre experience), but I’ve seen work done in the past by most of the “stars” (or creators) of the shows listed below; enough to lead me to believe thatyou won’t wish you’d sat closer to the exit of the theatre at any point in the show.

A final note: some of the shows listed in the Musical / Dance and Miscellanous previews are solo works as well,  so if your favourite entertainer isn’t listed here, that doesn’t mean they won’t be given some props later in the week (and remember, I’ll be posting scads of reviews, too…)

Here we go… Read more…

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FRINGE: "Bingo: The Show"

June 29th, 2009 Steve No comments

FRINGE: “Bingo: The Show“, w/ Megan Fraser, Mike Kiss, Kristen MacGregor, more, @ St. Vladamir’s Theatre, 10:30pm, $10 (less with Fringe pass)

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FRINGE: "The Emergency Monologues"

June 29th, 2009 Steve No comments

FRINGE: “The Emergency Monologues”, w/ Morgan Jones Phillips, @ The George Ignatieff Theatre, 8:45pm, $10 (less with Fringe pass)

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FRINGE: "The Parker and Seville Show"

June 29th, 2009 Steve No comments

FRINGE: “The Parker and Seville Show“, w/ Dave Barclay, Matt Kowall, Tim Gilbert, more, @ Honest Ed’s (Loading Dock), 7pm, $10 (less with Fringe pass)

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FRINGE: "Red Bastard"

June 29th, 2009 Steve No comments

FRINGE: “Red Bastard”, w/ Eric Davis, @ St. Vladamir’s Theatre, 5:15pm, $10 (less with Fringe pass)

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FRINGE: "Things Base and Weill"

June 29th, 2009 Steve No comments

FRINGE: “Things Base and Weill“, w/ Matt Richardson, Siobhan Richardson, Stuart Constable, more, @ The Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, 3:30pm, $10 (less with Fringe pass)

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KidsFRINGE: "Chicken Licken"

June 29th, 2009 Steve No comments

KidsFRINGE: “Chicken Licken“, w/ Michael Balazo, Maggie Maloney, Chris Locke, more, @ The Palmerston Library Theatre, 1:40pm, $10 (less with Fringe pass)

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FRINGE: "Just East of Broadway"

June 29th, 2009 Steve No comments

FRINGE: “Just East of Broadway“, w/ Jay Davis, Lorna Wright, Gene Abella, more, @ The George Ignatieff Theatre, 10:30pm, $10 (less with Fringe pass)

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FRINGE: "Naughty Little Children"

June 29th, 2009 Steve No comments

FRINGE: “Naughty Little Children“, w/ Chelsea Manders, @ The Lower Ossington Theatre, 9pm, $10 (less with Fringe pass)

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FRINGE: "Red Machine: Part One"

June 29th, 2009 Steve No comments

FRINGE: “Red Machine: Part One“, w/ James Cade, Tova Smith, John Gilbert, more, @ The Lower Ossington Theatre, 7pm, $10 (less with Fringe pass)

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