Fringe binging is not only a theatre adventure, but a city adventure, too.
For instance, last night's trek-about-town started at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, proceeded to Plan B on Gottingen, back downtown for a show at DanSpace and ended on Gottingen again at The Bus Stop just before midnight.
Along the way there was coffee and delicious vegan donuts at Plan B's Kaleidoscope Cafe, drinks on Argyle and a surreal and serendipitous fireworks display on the Halifax Common. (What were the fireworks in honour of? Why could we get so close to them? Inquiring minds want to know!)
So, as you plan your Fringe experience, remember to be open for variety in experiences as well as in shows.
Mature Young Adults by Wesley J. Colford
The program for Mature Young Adultss invited me to tap into my "inner sap". It described a play about romantic "old-school" love experienced by two teens, a love that is ultimately crushed by the world's hostility to their feelings.
In reality, my inner sap didn't get much of a workout. This play did not reach my heart, although it did engage my head.
I'll tell you why.
The young lovers, Caitlin and Jonathan, appear at the beginning of the play as 18-year-olds. While I was able to buy into actor Renée Haché being that age, it was much harder to see Wesley J. Colford as anything other than a man in his twenties. This threw me off kilter from the start.
The play is told in flash backs to the beginning of their forbidden relationship as 15-year-olds. While I understood how Jonathan fell in love with the beautiful and vivacious Caitlin, I never fully grasped what she saw him. The relationship seemed unhealthy from the start (Johnathan is controlling and insecure), so I was never able to buy into it as the old-school love referred to in the program.
There's a particularly vibrant and engaging scene near the end where the pair play off each others fantasy about what will happen when they kiss. For me, it was the scene I needed to see near the beginning to allow me to truly invest in the pair's relationship. By the end, it was too little, too late.
You may think all this adds up to me saying don't see Mature Young Adults. On the contrary, see it, think about it, and tell me why I'm wrong. Because the beauty of the Fringe it's the perfect place for opinions to be shared to help new works grow.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, 75 minutes, $10
August 31@ 4:00 PM
September 1 @ 8:00 PM
September 2 @ 3:00 PM
September 4 @ 7:45 PM
September 5 @ 10:35 PM
September 6 @ 5:25 PM
September 7 @ 10:20 PM
September 8 @ 3:00 PM
Bend by Ian Mullan
And speaking of growing new works, Bend is a little gem that has the feeling of something that will become part of an even greater whole.
It tells the story of a complicated love triangle (is there any other kind?) between two men and a woman set in Halifax in 1917.
The narrative is fragmented, and the end result is that viewers can play with the pieces and construct the story that pleases them.
There's a poetic feel to this play, and the intimate space of Plan B works well for drawing the audience in.
Plan B, 30 minutes, $6
August 31 @ 9:10 PM
September 1 @ 8:00 PM
September 3 @ 9:00 PM
September 5 @ 8:00 PM
September 6 @ 8:05 PM
September 7 @ 5:00 PM
Daybreak by Jack J. Ward
Daybreak is the kind of play that's hard to describe without giving too much away, so I'll just tell you why you should see it.
Ashley Marie Pike is a pleasure to watch as her character's emotions run the gamut from languor to pure terror.
Ira Henderson does menace very well and rage even better. There is a scene in this show that I guarantee will set your heart racing.
The plot contains some logical inconsistencies, and this will spark good conversations on the drive home.
Now that's bang for five bucks.
DANSpace, 40 minutes, $5
September 5 @ 9:40 PM
The Fringe Talk Show
If you're still undecided on what to see, I highly recommend taking in The Fringe Talk Show hosted by Kevin Kindred.
Each evening he interviews three acts about their own show and the shows they'd like to see.
It's a fun and funny way to meet some of the talent from this year's festival.
the interviews will be available on YouTube, too.
The Bus top, 30 minutes, $1
August 31 @ 8:00 PM
September 1 @ 11:30 PM
September 2 @ 10:00 PM