VICTORIA FRINGE FEST: There’s always something new to discover on stage

33rd annual live theatre festival has numerous styles and topics to choose from

Don Descoteau/Monday Magazine

There is no one best way to “Fringe.”

Prospective audience members should keep that in mind when planning to attend shows during the 33rd annual Victoria Fringe Festival, says Intrepid Theatre producer Sammie Gough.

While many audience members chart out their festival “must-see” schedule ahead of time, Gough says, others make up their list after watching the popular free preview evenings. Fringe Eve Preview Night happens Wednesday, Aug. 21 from 3-9 p.m. in Centennial Square, while visiting groups offer their previews on Aug. 27, 9:30 p.m. in the Metro Studio Theatre.

“There’s so many different interpretations of what theatre can be,” Gough says. “The festival totally rewards audience members who are willing to take a risk, and with the fact all the shows are a maximum $11 ticket price, by taking a risk you’ll never be disappointed.”

Promoted for 2019 with the tagline: “An explosion of live performance!” the festival’s 47 shows – chosen as usual by lottery – offer a wide range of artistic entertainment, from monologues and short plays to musical revues, improv and more. There truly is something for everyone, Gough notes.

“It’s this weird and wonderful, out-of-the-ordinary space. As an audience member you never quite know what you’re going to get, but you know there’s going to be a surprise at some point.”

We asked some of the performers – one local group, one visiting from elsewhere in North America and one international – to tell us a little about their shows:

Sadie Evans, GRL PWR: A Musical History of 90s Girl Group Feminism (Salty Broad Productions, Victoria):

What would you say is unique about your show that people will find interesting or entertaining? This show is a love letter to 90s girl groups. It showcases your fave tunes with a historical/feminist lens! Nostalgia meets Education meets Entertainment! We’ll be dancing and singing live for the full concert experience.

Have you or any of your cast performed at VFF before? Many of us have done Atomic Vaudeville’s Sunday Funday Cabarets. A few of us have been in other shows in recent years and Emilee and Jana hosted the Fringe Preview last year.

Tymesha Harris performs as American-French entertainer Josephine Baker in the Victoria Fringe Festival show, Josephine. Photo by Roberto Gonzalez

What would you say to encourage Fringe Fest newbies to come and check it out? Take risks! Grab a Fringe program a see what jumps out at you. Talk to the performers in the ticket lineups and see their shows and ask what they recommend! And definitely hit up the Fringe Club and Fringe Kids for more amazing events!

*****

Michael Marinaccio, (co-creator/director/producer) and Tymisha Harris (co-creator/performer), Josephine (Dynamite Lunchbox, Orlando, Fla.):

What are you most excited about being a part of the festival and performing here? We have never been to Victoria, so we’re excited to bring this important historical work to audiences who have never seen it.

What’s unique about your show that people will find interesting or entertaining? Josephine Baker was the first African-American international superstar and one of the most remarkable human beings of all time. Our show tells her story in a unique and highly entertaining way, through song, dance, burlesque, storytelling and audience interaction.

How would you encourage Fringe Fest newbies to check it out? Fringe Festivals are a celebration and springboard for innovative, original performing arts. Because they reflect and represent such a diverse range of artists, genres and styles, there really is something for everyone.

*****

Charles Adrian, answering as his character Ms. Samantha Mann, Dear Samantha (London, England):

Charles Adrian, in character as Ms. Samantha Mann from his show Dear Samantha, will offer up advice to audience members during his run at the Victoria Fringe Festival. Photo by Holly McGlynn

What are you looking most forward to with the Victoria Fringe? I cannot wait to submerge myself in the buzz that the Victoria Fringe Festival generates, to discover new audiences, to meet fellow artists from all over the world and to revisit the Chocolatière by the bus stop on Fort Street.

What’s cool or unique about your show? I am offering myself as a sort of three-dimensional advice columnist (what we in the United Kingdom call an Agony Aunt) so anybody who comes to the show will have the opportunity to ask for some advice.

Have you performed here before? In 2017, I brought Stories About Love, Death and a Rabbit to Victoria and had the most wonderful time at my first Canadian Fringe Festival.

*****

The Victoria Fringe Festival runs Aug. 21 to Sept. 1. For full ticketing and schedule information, visit intrepidtheatre.com and click on Victoria Fringe Festival.



editor@mondaymag.com

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The cast of GRL PWR: A Musical History of 90s Girl Group Feminism bring a high-powered musical show to the Victoria Fringe Festival. (Courtesy Intrepid Theatre)

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