Although we watched 14 shows at this year's Fringe Festival, they did not have the wow factor of last year. There was no clear equivalent to last year's Kim Convenience, which went on to a professional run as part of Soulpepper's 2012 season. We did see a few shows that we really enjoyed:
Sharilyn Johnson stars in Fake News Fan Girl, recounting a the true and personal tale of her adulation and borderline stalking of "Fake News" stars Stephen Colbert and John Stewart. She delivers her story with humour, passion and vulnerability.
The musical 21 days was a fantasy based on the premise that Julie has a rare disease that only allows her to experience and live through 21 extraordinary days. She needs to decide whether she wants a long life of mediocre days or rather choose to live life to the fullest and enjoy the 21 great ones.
Unfortunately this year, we saw quite a few shows this year that we didn't really care for. We thought the musicals One in a Million and How I Lost One Pound were silly and forgettable, while Breaking Velocity was overly self indulgent. Samkon and Francis go Swimming (Part I) started out with an amusing premise but then ended abruptly.. we should have been forewarned by the "Part I" in the title. I fell asleep during Medicine - enough said? The final two plays were gimmicky but didn't quite work out. Spychasers was based on a novel by the same author who wrote "The 39 steps", so it sounded really promising. All the actors in the play were from a seniors theatre group and some of the "acting" was suspect. However there was great staging that was reminiscent of a production of The 39 Steps that we saw once off Broadway. The only thing I remember about The Ballad of Randy and Evi Quaid was that after the show, we read in the paper that Randy Quaid was actually in the audience on the night that we saw it.
We go to the Fringe knowing it is hit and miss in terms of what shows we'll like, so better luck next year.