The consumption of beer can make people sloppy and silly and so it is fitting that this show simulates that experience. Although this is an organized chaos. One minute the performers are running higgledipiggledly through the audience waving their arms in the air making silly noises, the next they are magically back on stage in time for the right lighting or sound cue, in the right spot with perfect timing on their next line. Yes, this show is VERY relaxed, very casual, taking itself not even a teeny tiny bit seriously, but at the same time the audience is always safe, we are always on track and, although they might not want us to feel that way, these performers do know exactly what they are doing.
Part history lecture, part silly sketch comedy, part 6 year old's birthday party (except with alcohol), A Brief History of Beer by Wish Experience is exactly what is says on the can. The information is interesting, but handed out in tidbits, giving us a surface level overview of the big picture history of beer. I would have loved to have dived deeper into each time period, learned personal stories and more historical details, but then we'd be there for hours. There are other "beer shows" that focus on specific countries and time periods, so perhaps if I'm lucky they'll return to the Fringe with one of those. PS if you're a star trek fan as well as a beer fan, you'll enjoy this all the more.
~ reviewed by Danielle Benzon
THE CAMPING GUY - VAN FRINGE 2018
I'm not a camper, so I was interested to hear about the humorous mishaps that can happen with a newbie to camping. The dynamic between the two actors was funny, if predictable. Good lighthearted entertainment. Appropriate for young children.
~ reviewed by Karen Flynn
~ video review by Karen Flynn
WRITTEN REVIEW BY KAREN ROLLER:
Jon Bennett’s How I Learned to Hug is a fast paced story of Jon’s trials and tribulations with love starting with grade school and including losing his virginity. But don’t worry he takes time to breathe.. and to run.. run so far away. With a few visual aids such as a projection screen and a pink satin dress he shares his most embarrassing moments including his horrible tattoo while he manages to incorporate references to his other project Pretending Things are a Cock. I think anyone who has loved and lost can relate to this piece and Bennett helps us realize that it’s okay to laugh at yourself and move on. Engaging, humorous and vulnerable he is a great storyteller and worth seeing.
~ written review by Karen Roller
This show before going I assumed it would be like most of the other magic shows, they show their tricks and do a big finale at the end, and possibly do a trick that has something to do with rabbits (because of the the title) and be super amazing and knock my socks off.
After watching the show, it was more or less what I thought it was but better. There was a lot of wit, sass and quick comments on how the audience should react to a trick, which worked well, when trying to get the audience lively and energetic. I thoroughly enjoyed Ben’s sass throughout the show, as the audience wasn’t super big or wouldn't catch the end of a trick or where to clap, so his sassy comments really helped and were quite funny for me. I enjoy some sass. There was a trick in which he uses a prop that relates to the show, but best to see it than have me spoil the fun. His layout of set and props was obvious but still kept secrets and hidden treasures which played an important role when wanting to show his next trick. I loved the pre-show music, that added to the tongue in cheek effect, as the pre-show music was The Muppets, doing covers, and making snide comments on the people watching, and what’s going throughout the show, like Statler and Waldorf.
The downside was the lack of audience members and the audience wanting to participate, which can end a show if the artist doesn’t bring all the energy to the room. It takes a lot of effort to keep the audience interested even when they weren’t interested in the first place, or slightly unsure of how to act. Ben was almost there but at times it dropped when the trick wasn’t clear enough. Overall I enjoyed and hope he gains more audiences.
Ben Price Magic Presents Rabbit Stew is playing at Studio 16 September 6 - 16, as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Michelle Williams
What would happen if your Air BnB guest showed up for the night and then never left again? When saving the farm calls for a modern approach, a couple at odds finds themselves hosting an odd-ball and things get funny fast.
Cado is the work of 19-year old playwright Ian Kuiken, and is performed by a cast of (mostly) young actors who are participants in G.R.A.F.F.I.T.I., the Fringe’s youth mentorship program. What Kuiken lacks in sophistication, he makes up in hilarious characters, fast-shooting dialogue, and perfectly timed poignant moments that are just long enough to drive his larger message home.
The cast is strong, and does a great job. It seems like perhaps one or two stage cues were missed, but hey, on opening night even the seasoned pros have their slips. After all, that’s what live theatre is all about, isn’t it?
Featuring themes around sex and weed culture, this play is perfectly rated at 14+.
Liz’s note: The play is called “Cado” and is performed by G.R.A.F.F.I.T.I. - Green Room At Fringe Festival… Is The Initials. It was performed at Havana Theatre as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Elizabeth Goode
C- - VAN FRINGE 2018
Reggae music soothed the Studio 16 Theatre as fringers trickled in at the Sunday, September 9th showing of Eric Jaffe’s C-. How appropriately college, I thought, recalling my own undergrad years with equal parts nostalgia and nausea.
C- is a one-man show written and performed by Eric Jaffe. Inspired by 65 interviews conducted with former fraternity brothers, as well as Jaffe’s own experiences, it is a story about life spent floundering in and out of college.
Jaffe is an entertaining performer and compelling storyteller. Speaking to him after his performance (I found him humble and gracious), I confessed my doubts going into the show. “How am I, a millennial woman, going to relate to the stories of these older men?” A middle-aged man who went to school in the 80s in the southern United States, Jaffe and I couldn’t be more different. Yet! I related to his stories of academia-acquired disappointment and confusion (ones that haunt me to this day). But despite many real moments of resonance, C- is also a show about male disillusionment. The vignettes were often punctuated by misogynist jokes and expressions of white male privilege, which, like the frat bros depicted, haven’t aged well.
C- is playing at Studio 16 September 6 - 16 as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Reija Jean
SELF-ISH - VAN FRINGE 2018
SELF-ish is the story of a woman, Esther (played by Diana Bang), in her mid thirties navigating the trials and tribulations that come along with that phase of life, additionally burdened and gifted with her Korean-Canadian family. As the play progresses we meet various members of her family, all played skillfully and hilariously by Esther. Bang puts on a strong and physical performance running, crashing, punching and kicking her way around the stage.
While the play starts off quite funny as the story progresses we discover that Esther may be using all the sarcasm and humour to detract from some emotional family dynamics. I was most struck by how Esther’s frustrating and sometimes sad moments are framed in a funny way, but this approach shifts as the play evolves into a more sentimental discussion.
SELF-ish by Classy Little Bitch Productions is playing at the Revue Stage 6 - 16 September as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Brieanna Fiander
He’s fast, he’s agile, he’s Fastcar: man of action! Blindfool productions presents a wonderful 45 minute one-man comedy show. The star of the show Amo Gullinello does a superb job of miming, sound effects, gesticulating and dynamic movement to convey a humorous sketch of how everyday life could turn into an action movie. He makes references to several classic action movies and through great facial expression and a few words creates memorable scenes with the help of willing audience members. Get ready to be a part of the action when you go to see Fastcar: man of action.
Fastcar: man of action is playing at False Creek Gym 6 - 16 September as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Selene Dublanko
What do you get when you cross 2 fashionable women, a Supperware party, and the Dark Lord? You get a hilarious Fringe performance called Jan & Peg’s Ritual Sacrifice. Val Duncan and Celene Harder slay as Jan and Peg, two polite and totally unassuming women from Wisconsin who want to sell you some containers to seal in the freshness of your jello salad, and figure out which one of us in the audience would most appease their master in a sacrifice.
Working together since 2012, these two performers have mastered quick and playful banter, Gilmore Girls writers would be jealous. I think a smaller venue would have been better for these two as I enjoyed the smaller crowd that were there and Jan and Peg did such a great job of making us feel at home in their living room.
The evening unfolds beautifully starting with some friendly sales and moving into the main event of the night, popping our proverbial ritual sacrifice cherries. In the end, you might just get to meet the man himself, and he is not what you would expect.
Jan & Peg’s Ritual Sacrifice is playing at Performance Works 6 - 16 September as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Brieanna Fiander
This clever piece by Gemma Wilcox takes you into the life of a woman surprised by a road trip mapped out for her by none other than her recently deceased mother. Her company on this solo trip includes her talking dog, her talking caravan, and 20 other distinct and opinionated characters that Wilcox single handedly brings to life with expertise, humour, and infectious energy.
In fact, it’s her vivacious energy that makes this one woman show impossible to look away from. Be prepared for audience interaction, supernatural objects, and just a ton of reasons to laugh. Mixed up in these many funny moments are a few solid, serious ones that really slow the plot down to the point you truly feel for Wilcox’s alter ego as she makes her journey.
I also have to commend Wilcox on her projection. I was seated at the back of the theatre and could hear each and every word spoken clearly. My only criticism in the sound department is that the songs used to break up the scenes were various degrees of too loud, and as someone who wears a hearing aid, I found it abrasive.
All in all Wilcox is a gem, and judging by the standing ovation she received, my fellow audience members felt the same way.
Magical Mystery Detour is playing at Studio 1398 September 6 - 16 as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Elizabeth Goode
Overcome Stage Fright and find confidence in your unique voice.