The final weekend of the Vancouver Fringe Festival is very nearly upon us! With 91 shows in the festival this year, I know it can be overwhelming to try to decide what to pick – especially in the final weekend when sellouts abound. Here are five shows I recommend snapping up advance tickets to before you head down to Granville Island for the weekend. In no particular order:
1. Roller Derby Saved My Soul – A coming-of-age story, but not in the high school sense. As Amy enters her 30’s she discovers what it means to be her own woman through Roller Derby. The shows nerds out a bit with Buffy references in the best way (the night I was there I was wishing I was with a friend who also loved Buffy so they would laugh with me), and writer/performer Nancy Kenny is charming. Oh yeah, and she does 2/3 of the show on roller skates. The show has been selling out, so I’d recommend either getting there early or buying in advance online.
2. Aiden Flynn Looses His Brother so he Makes Another – A simple, wordless retelling of the Frankenstein story that makes use of shadow puppets in addition to other movement. The show is touching, sweet, and the kind of show that you will only find at the Fringe.
3. Industry: The Food Must Go Out – A Laugh-out-loud riot examining the behind the scenes of the restaurant industry. Set in the restaurant where the three lead performers work, find out why you should never order hot water with lemon, experience a hangover on the job, and be prepared to get involved – you might even get some dessert or some wine out of it. And they are serving drinks during their late night shows. Tonight’s show is sold out and tomorrow’s is very limited, but there’s still some room for Sunday’s show. Again, I recommend you buy these online.
4. Magic Unicorn Island – Jayson McDonald (fringe god) returns to Vancouver with his new piece that is a commentary on the current state of the world. Beginning with creation, we see how we got here and explore one possible outcome. The evolution sequence alone is worth the price of admission. One of the most political fringe shows I’ve ever seen and McDonald is at his best when he’s playing kids.
5. The Greatest Monkey Show on Earth – Let me say upfront that I am not a big fan of buffoon so when I heard that one of the guys from last year’s You Killed Hamlet! was back with a new show I walked far away. But the combination of the Fringe-for-all and flyering intrigued me so I figured I could go as long as I sat near the middle with multiple people on either side of me. And I was okay and had a great time. Charles the monkey performs a series of feats of acrobatics, clowning, and comedy, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is a good show for kids – things get dark at the end but in a way that had me thinking as I left the theatre.
Bonus: The Chariot Cities still has a pair of shows left (Friday at 6:45pm and Sunday 1:00pm). Come see the show that critics have called “a hit show in the making” (Vancity Buzz) and “one of those rare but fabulous shows where the ensemble cast is so damn good” (Plank Magazine).
Seen something else that was excellent? Shout it out in the comments below.