The 20th annual Ottawa Fringe Festival is June 15-26, 2016. Apt613 asked two of our long-time theatre reviewers, Brian Carroll and Barb Popel, for their pre-Fringe Festival recommendations. Have a look and tell us your four picks in the comments below.
Anyone who leaves a comment will be entered to win a FOURPLAY PACK to see four plays of your choosing. Available online until opening night, the FOURPLAY PACK offers a 20% discount on four plays – that’s four shows at $10 each. A random draw will take place at noon on Tuesday, June 14. Check out a list of shows here.
Apt613: I understand you two attend a lot of Fringe plays.
Brian Carroll: Yes! We see about 25 Fringe plays in Ottawa every June, then in July we go to Winnipeg and see over 50 more. So yes, we do see a lot of Fringe.
Barb Popel: We’ve been doing so for a couple of decades, so I guess you could call us dedicated Fringe fans.
There are 58 plays at this year’s Fringe. We’d love to hear your recommendations?
Brian: We’ll have more recommendations once the Fringe starts, but we have a few recommendations to get folks started.
Barb: In one case, I chose a play we’ve seen before. Otherwise, we picked them because we’ve enjoyed other work by these performers.
Brian: Or because the performers I interviewed a few weeks ago for Apt613 excited me by their pitch.
Great! Let’s hear it!
Barb: I’ll start with a play we saw a couple of years ago at the Winnipeg Fringe – Best Picture. I loved it because I’m a real film buff, and it’s 3 actors playing snippets from every one of the Best Picture Oscars. Yup, every one of them, all the way back to 1928. In 60 minutes. See how many of the films you can identify. A very funny romp!
Brian: My turn! My first choice is Lovely Lady Lump. In 2009, Lana Schwarcz touched heartstrings in Ottawa and across Canada with her show about aging, Grandpa Sol and Grandma Rosie. Now, her new comedy about surviving breast cancer has made critics and audiences laugh and cry all across Australia.
Barb: OK, I’m next with Love is a Battlefield. In recent years, Martin Dockery and Vanessa Quesnelle have wowed the Fringe circuit with Inescapable and Moonlight After Midnight. They’re back with a drama about a singer and her down-on-his-luck producer. I’m really excited about this one!
Brian: Speaking of excitement, how much more exciting does it get than fire dancing? Local company Moon Ballad Circus brings a new take on old myths. The Byward Market is building them a venue under the open sky. The Red Shoes
Barb: The next one on my list is Shakespeare Crackpot. Brian and I have thoroughly enjoyed every other play that Kier Cutler has done in which he’s lampooned “expert” academics who murder the Bard. I can hardly wait to see how he skewers them this time.
Brian: And for another Fringe fave, I recommend GET LOST Jem Rolls. Storyteller and performance poet Jem Rolls sold out in Ottawa and across the Fringe circuit with his last show, The Inventor of All Things. What word magic has this dynamic veteran of over 100 Fringe festivals created this time?
Barb: My final recommendation is V. R. Dunne. Howard Petrick is a fine storyteller whose true stories illuminate the history – especially the history of the American Left – that we never learned in school. V. R. Dunne was a labour organizer you’ve probably never heard of, but whose story you should know.
Brian: And my final recommendation is for Everybody Dies in December. Nancy Kenny wowed audiences in Ottawa and across Canada with Roller Derby Saved My Soul. This one’s a new one-woman work about a funeral director. What surprises lie in store this time?
Thanks for this. Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
Barb: The best way to discover the buzz is to ask the folks next to you in line. Don’t wait for all the reviews to be posted. Don’t wait until the final weekend. Start Fringing on June 16!
Brian: Take a chance and see something new and edgy! And remember – passes are a great bargain for already inexpensive theatre, and 100% of the ticket sales go to the performers.
Barb and Brian: SEE YOU AT THE FRINGE!
Apt613 will be reviewing EVERY.SINGLE.PLAY at Fringe this year. Reviews will be posted to the site with 24 hours of opening night and will be available here.