Ashley Whitehead and Natalie Tin Yin Gan have been working together since 2012. Their history as friends and artists is apparent in their dynamic on stage. They easily take cues from each other and play perfectly off of one and others skills and talents, making use of their vastly different body shapes and sizes.
The show is part musical, part dance performance, part stand-up, and all heart. These two women sweat on every inch of the stage and cleverly use various lighting techniques to create different settings and moods. Making sure to use inclusive language and calling out misogyny and general ignorance in a quirky, kind, and humorous way make this show a must watch for anyone who is pro vaginas. While they have your attention, these two might just teach you a thing or two.
There is a bit of audience participation. You may find yourself getting quizzed on some anatomy questions and clapping along to some old familiar tunes, but mostly your laughter and enthusiasm seems to be what fuels the artists. For all of the extreme physicality of the show, the best part of their performance was the their facial expressions. Every twitch of the eyebrow is well planned to elicit laughter and groans.
Speaking with the artists after the show, Whitehead and Tin Yin Gan shared that the show has been changing and evolving with each city. They warmly invited audience members to get online and share their thoughts and suggestions. This audience member feels like they have perfected so much of the show, but would have preferred to end with the running scene and bumped the final musical number somewhere in the middle, but I’m a sucker for symmetry.
I personally believe that this show should be sold out for every performance. It is clever, entertaining, charming, hilarious, and generally wonderful. Through a combination of clowning, athletics, musical talent, and acting, these two performers have managed to tackle a taboo subject and make it inviting and fun.
~ reviewed by Brieanna Fiander
It turns out that “fancy brains” can belong to funny people. Francis Brian Shaw is one such person. This show is his fifth instalment of Fancy Brain. This instalment is subtitled The Reckoning. Francis is said to have performed hundreds of stand-up comedy shows all across Canada including major city shows in places like Calgary and Toronto.
Shaw has excellent stories. He shares in a way that is personal, human and relatable. His stories are unique and his jokes are vulnerable. He shared a lot about how the comedic brain works. I felt this great theme tied the show together and could have been even stronger. I wanted more physicality in his storytelling. If he had savoured the stories more, the audience could have absorbed them better.
The Fancy Brain Show: The Reckoning is playing at the Revue Stage 6 - 16 September as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Annina Engelbrecht
The Lady Show – A Comedy Thing is smart, sexy, self-aware, and side-splittingly hilarious! It really delivers on the show’s tagline – “Putting the joy in feminist killjoy”. The creative team artfully and positively dissects topical discriminations in the news, pop culture, and society at large to unending laughter from the audience.
In the past I have had numerous emotionally draining experiences lamenting the patriarchy, racism, sexism, and misogyny; often enlightening but draining nonetheless. Before seeing this show, I never thought I could come out the other side of this topic feeling as enlightened and uplifted as I did leaving The Lady Show. I was in such high spirits leaving this performance and the positivity and hilarity has stuck with me. I am so thankful and excited to have discovered this comedy show! Can’t wait to see what the comedic genius of Fatima Dhowre, Diana Bang, Morgan Brayton, and Katie-Ellen Humphries brings us next.
Sonja’s Favourite Bits:
Missed the Mark for Sonja:
~ reviewed by Sonja Cvoric
It is definitely worth a watch just to experience Jem Rolls' brain unfold and ingeniously manifest on stage through the means of poetry, interpretive dance and throwing himself around the stage. I felt smarter leaving the show. He really delves into what it is that makes us human, which is essentially being an idiot. His ideas are philosophical and almost need a second viewing just to process everything that he said and to ponder on the wisdom of it.
It is a fast paced energetic show of chapters that tie together wonderfully. I thought it lacked an underlying story that linked all the chapters together somehow but the theme of idiocy and humankind is strongly held together throughout and he manages to keep your attention for the full hour. I'm not usually drawn to big word, or poetic performances but the Jem Rolls experience is definitely worth it and is far better than I expected.
jem rolls: I IDIOT is playing at Carousel Theatre 6 - 16 September as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Ferne Brown
5-Step Guide to Being German 2.0 Paco Erhard's comedy is internationally hilarious. You don't have to be German to appreciate his humour but if you are, there seems to be a touch of Mario Barth influence.
There is a reason this show has been sold out around the world since 2011.
His show is a look into how the world sees and stereotypes Germans and how those cliches have come to exist. His explanation with diagram, of a particular Autobahn problem will have you in tears. His delivery is energetic and he is a great storyteller.
Get your tickets for this one soon because they won't last long.
5-Step Guide to Being German 2.0 is playing at Waterfront Theatre 6 - 16 September as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Ferne Brown
Big Queer Filipino Karaoke Night! produced by Tender Container with Associate Producers Newworld Theatre and New(to)Town Collective is a queer, 19+ show that encourages singing, laughter and drinking!
Located at the XY, this cozy space invites audience members to feel like they are at an open stage Karaoke/stand up night where they become part of the show. Davey Calderon, the writer and performer of this one-person show artfully uses the entire bar space throughout his performance, mingling with audience members as he tells his story about his trip to the Philippines intermixed with Karaoke songs sung by both himself and volunteers from the audience. And while his interaction with the audience made it feel very personal, it did lead to some stage blocking problems, as he does have his back to the audience at certain portions of the show. Also, the lighting cues were a bit behind at times, but that should be improved as the show continues its run. Other than that it was a fun, energetic show.
All in all, Calderon strikes the right balance between funny, sweet, and authentic when telling his stories that make for an enjoyable performance and a safe space to display your vocal talents!
Big Queer Filipino Karaoke Night! produced by Tender Container with Associate Producers Newworld Theatre and New(to)Town Collective is playing at XY 6 - 16 September as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Jenna Masuhara
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