At the Fringe on Day 8

Rounding the clubhouse turn

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Jean, as written by Lee-Anne Poole and played by Stephanie MacDonald, is adorably forthright and self-aware. As Short Skirt Butch opens, she explains that she has gathered us together to apologize for behaving badly after a recent break-up. She assumes we have heard that she stalked her former lovers, stole their favourite sex toy and mailed it back to them with a saucy note—-and as she keeps reminding us, Halifax is a small town where that kind of gossip gets around. You don’t have to be familiar with all the various permutations of Jean’s sexuality “(I started as asexual and then became a pervert…at age six”, she declares) to enjoy this show. Jean wants what we all want: love, security and hot sex, and while she may apologize for her behavior, she never apologizes for who she is. It’s very refreshing.

I so wanted to like The Man Who was Hamlet. After all, fringe superstar George Dillon has toured this show all over the world to critical acclaim. But I honestly have to say that I just didn’t get it. The premise is that Edward de Vere, a court writer in the 1600’s whose work has drawn parallels with Shakespeare’s, may well have been the model for Hamlet, or perhaps even that he himself was its author. The 95-minute show zips through the history of the 1600s at high speed, yet perversely seems to drag. Dillon is an amazing performer to watch, but this work left me cold. Perhaps I’ll be swept away by tonight’s The Gospel of Matthew which is also a Dillon show. Stay tuned…

For shows times and locations visit www.atlanticfringe.ca

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