Reviews and Such Fringe and other Theatre

Fringe Fest: Plays and Poutine

My previous post focused on a couple of Fringe Festival plays that I attended last week. During the past weekend I took in a little more of the Fringe Fest. I attended two more plays, and took in a bit of the stage show.

*Show times can be found by clicking on the show links below.

Fringe Fest Food Truck
The Meltdown is one of several food trucks at the Fringe.

Encore at the Fringe

Along with the shows, the Fringe also features a daily stage. This stage is generally a mixture of local bands, along with local and international street performers. My mom told me that on Friday night there would be a performance by a band called Encore, whose bass player she knows.

Their set was at six pm. I get down to the Fringe site a little before their set began which gave me enough time to grab a bite to eat first. My choice for dinner is The Meltdown Cheese Truck. I first tried them a couple of years ago at ManyFest. Their specialty is deep fried cheese curds, but my meal is Bacon Poutine.

Bacon Poutine
The Meltdown makes a satisfying poutine.

The Beer tent is a great place for enjoying your meal and the stage shows. You’re close enough to get a good view, and far enough away for the music not to be overwhelming.

I would describe Encore as a pop-rock group. However, I am old and probably out of touch with any music of the last 30 years. On the other hand, I can say, Encore is a high-energy band. They are tight musically and they deliver a great set.  If you see advertisements for them around town, they are worth checking out.

Strokes of Genius

Following supper I spent a bit of time wandering around the festival site. Then I made tracks for 188 Princess to watch Strokes of Genius. Strokes of Genius is a sketch show written by Winnipeggers, Dianna Rasing and Mitch Krohn. Both Rasing and Krohn are recovering from strokes that hit them in 2016. These strokes occurred while each of them was in their thirties.

The focus of the show is on the effects of a stroke. All of the sketches are based on actual events in the lives of people living post-strike lives. Some focus on the way in which a stroke affects and changes the person who had the stroke. Some focus on how the health care system and society at large can be frustrating for a stroke sufferer to navigate.

Both Rasing and Krohn do a great job as the leads. The supporting cast also deliver strong performances. The sketches move from one to another at a good pace. Laughs flow freely in the show. The points that show is making about inclusion and accessibility get delivered gently, but unmistakably. This show will deliver a lot of laughs, but will also give you much to think about when you leave. Definitely go see this one.

A Man Walks into a Bar

On Saturday I only went to one Fringe show, and didn’t really take in much else. However the show I went to see is a really good one. A Man Walks Into A Bar is this years offering from Theatre By the River.  I started attending their shows over a decade ago, and try to get to see them, if not during the year, at least during the Fringe.

One of the things I like about their shows is that they are challenging. This years show is no exception. The premise is that a woman gets up to tell a joke, and there is a man there offering to help.

As the title suggests the play revolves around a man walking into a bar and getting into a conversation with his server. Throughout the play the man is making suggestions on how to make the joke funnier. Through this format the play examines relationships between men and women, with the focus on the service industry.

The play is very funny. Both Mel Marginet and Karl Thordarson, the play’s actors, make their characters believable and likable. This is particularly important as the plot unwinds, and we delve into the complexity of their interactions.

Given the questions being raised by movements such as #MeToo this is a particularly timely play. The play doesn’t ask the viewers to take sides. Instead it gives the audience the chance to reflect on their own behaviours. This is must see Fringe. It is also a good show to go with a group of both men and women and follow up with coffee and conversation.

That’s pretty much it for me and The Fringe Fest.  However, there is still the best part of the week to get down to the Exchange and take some shows in. As for me, time to get back to writing more about food in general. I might even go on the lookout for more poutine.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.