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Fully Fringed 2013

Since 2009, Fully Fringed has been offering well-written, independent reviews of each and every one of the productions in the Ottawa International Fringe Festival! We’ll be posting all our reviews for the 2014 Ottawa Fringe on this page as they come in. Check out for reviews of Ottawa Fringe plays from 2010, 2011 and 2012.

This year we sent a couple of reviewers to the Montreal Fringe to scope out some of the action. Check out their review of Weaksauce, Jem Rolls attacks the Silence and their thoughts on the Montreal festival.

guitars 6 Guitars
Review by Jason Yung
Solo, Storytelling, Musical, Arts Court Library. Towards the end of the play, Padgett cycles through each character faster and faster, to the point where they finish each other’s sentences and the meaning of the play becomes clear: while all musics, all musicians, all music lovers may be different chords, they are bound to the same song of life.
Picture 4 Around Miss Julie
Review by Brian Carroll and Barbara Popel, seen at Fringe de Montreal
Dramedy, BYOV H – T.A.N. CAFÉ. This madcap comedy will appeal to theatre students and young theatre professionals. They dominated the packed opening night house, laughing heartily at every in-joke. They clearly appreciated Standjofski’s plot twists. We recommend this play to that audience.
ask aggie Ask Aggie – The Advice Diva
Review by Andrea Flewelling
Bouffon, Comedy, Venue 2 – Arts court Library. Performer and writer Christine Lesiak provides hilariously candid and refreshingly honest advice on sex, relationships and life in general through a blend of improv, clown, bouffon, musical theatre and monologues. Ask Aggie – The Advice Diva is a show unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
ask aggie Assassinating Thomson
Review by Amanda Dookie
Solo, Storytelling, Venue 1 – Arts Court. The subject matter was informative, helping to educate the audience on the history of the Group of Seven and Thomson’s involvement, as well as mature, touching on sensitive topics such as disease, death, and family. These themes, coupled with the fact that Horak interacted with the audience added an element of improvisation and gave the performance a special feeling of authenticity.
barelyeventhere Barely Even There
Review by Trish Chang
Dramedy, Musical, Academic Hall. The problem isn’t so much the music itself, however: it’s how the show uses that music. Barely Even There aims for the emotional impact of the musical Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, achieving the depth of the Gray’s Anatomy musical instead. The music feels artificially inserted, rather than natural. The story serves the music, rather than the other way around.
Bat Shit Crazy The Bureau of Bat Shit Crazy
Review by Trish Chang,
Comedy, Studio Léonard-Beaulne. The Bureau of Bat Shit Crazy is a funny, madcap piece, that is everything the Fringe Festival is about. This comedy tells the story of two agents who, on a last case together, go universe-hopping to find the Prime Minister’s daughter’s missing cat. Sound crazy? Bat shit crazy, perhaps? Well, it is.
be a man Be A Man
Review by Jennifer Miller
REMAINING RUNS OF THIS SHOW HAVE BEEN CANCELLED. The show had lots of stand-out moments, from Babes in Trucks to a lightning-fast recitation of daily restaurant specials to an extended, wrenching description of one couple’s pregnancy story, but the best compliment I can pay it is to say that Be A Man is actually the show most Fringe shows wish they were. Check it out.
bike trip The Bike Trip
Review by Erin Murray
Comedy, Storytelling, BYOV G – The Courtroom. This play made me want to do drugs – am I allowed to say that? – well, whatever, it did. And understand that I mean that in the best way possible. This play made me want to be overwhelmed by the very experience of being human, travel to previously unplumbed depths of my own consciousness, face down my ghosts, laugh at the absurdity of the world, and become way too emotionally invested in a sandwich.
botched Botched
Review by Èva Morin
Comedy, Storytelling, Studio Léonard-Beaulne. The play had its lighter and even funny moments despite the heavy subject matter, but the short monologues performed by Alex Vincent in the role of Julie were, in my opinion, the standouts of the piece and definitely made me tear up a few times. Botched‘s three actresses — Vincent, Caroline Millen, and Olivia Lloyd — all gave stellar performances, especially as they were each required to embody multiple personalities within the play.
Cabaret Cabaret Terrarium
Review Brian M. Carroll
Comedy, Arts Courtyard.

The Cabaret refers to one of the characters, Gustave. He’s lost his memory, but slowly remembers that he is a cabaret singer, from Belgium. As cabaret fare, Gustave is pretty tame, appropriate to the general rating. Gustave is a stone-faced, physically awkward, heavily accented cabaret performer whose stiff performances of popular songs like Hotel California had most of the audience (including me) guffawing.
Photo courtesy of the Ottawa Fringe Cathedral City
Review Barbara Popel
Solo Comedy, Studio Léonard-Beaulne. The trouble with Cathedral City is that the short vignettes seem to be more interesting to the performer – and perhaps to his fans who are familiar with all of his previous plays and movie references – than they are to the average audience member. It’s rather like being asked to appreciate a string of in jokes when you aren’t “in” on all the references. They can be mildly amusing, but that’s all.
chesterfield Chesterfield
Review by Devan Marr
Dramedy, Physical, Academic Hall. Chesterfield is a great show that you should definitely go see. Not because it is an exceptional piece of high art performed by the best actors, but because it involves an anthropomorphized couch. Yes, the star of this show is a full sized talking couch puppet with an agenda. Oh and there’s a live rabbit, so that’s a nice touch.
DayWings The Day we Grew WingsReview by Dev Marr
Physical, Storytelling, Academic Hall. What particularly struck me about TDWGW was the range of physical movements, singing, and general energy that came with the play. There are leaps from a tree, dances, and songs as Clara Jenkins hears(and lives) the tales her friends spin for her.
Punchbag-Playhouse Die Zombie Die
Review by Dev Marr
Comedy, Academic Hall. So in the end, Die, Zombie. Die! is a fun, silly, adventure into a parallel world where we try to get along with our zombie brethren.  As a large cast show it’s a nice change of pace from your usually two handers, and it is worth a watch.  I just wouldn’t say it needs to make it onto your ‘must see’ list.
Glassiano-Productions Disillusion
Review by Lily Pepper
Drama, Studio Léonard-Beaulne. I appreciate what Disillusion is trying to do.  But I think it goes to extremes to present a morally simple story, when it could have dug its teeth into something messier and more complex.  The play doesn’t pull us in differrent directions, it leads us by the hand to a foregone conclusion.
bike trip Dolores
Review by Francois Levesque
Drame, BYOV I St Paul’s Eastern United Church. La pièce se déroule dans la cuisine de l’église St Paul, où il y a de la place pour environ 15 spectateurs, qui sont littéralement à quelques pieds des comédiennes. La cuisine, située au sous-sol de l’église n’a probablement pas été rénovée depuis bien des années et est le cadre idéal pour cette pièce. Chapeau à Kenny pour une pièce qui ne semble pas traduite, tant elle est fluide. J’ai apprécié l’ancrage de la pièce en milieu acadien, dans les années 80, choses qui la différencient de d’autres récits de quartiers ouvriers.
emissions Emissions: A Climate Comedy
Review by Andrea Flewelling
Comedy, Arts Court Theatre. The musical interludes are highly entertaining, particularly the enthusiastic finale which leaves the audience laughing while simultaneously contemplating our collective responsibility for effecting change to achieve sustainability for the health of our planet.
Brennan Richardson (cred Nicholas Amott) The Fight
Review Barbara Popel
Drama, Studio Léonard-Beaulne. I went into this play thinking “OK, they’ve probably stolen ideas from The Hunger Games and from innumerable gladiator flicks and video games.”  And yes, they probably have.  But the extremely well done fight scenes and some of the script make this a play worth seeing. On the whole the actors did a good job delineating their characters, and an absolutely terrific job at the fight scenes. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen better stage fighting.
Frenzy The Frenzy of Queen Maeve
Review by Jennifer Miller
Dramedy, Venue 3 – Academic Hall. A torn-between-two-lovers story is difficult to tell well, particularly when you throw guns and bombs into the mix, but Queen Maeve really nails it. While there are certain plot points that you might expect, the script lets them play out naturally. The show is really well-paced, alternating nicely between monologues and two-handers, and the soundtrack enhances rather than distracts. You’re left with the feeling that you’ve been told a really good story, the kind that really deserves some time and a couple of pints.
grimprov GRIMprov
Review by Èva Morin
Comedy, Improv, BYOV B – Lunenberg Pub.For its Fringe premiere, improvisational comedic troupe GRIMprov presented BONDprov, creating a personalized James Bond production based off the audience’s suggestions. The result made for hilarious, sometimes nonsensical, plots and developments, and the roaring applause and laughter from the audience left no doubts about the show’s success.
Colin-Godbout The Greatest Guitarist in the World
Review by Brian Carroll
Musical, Venue 2 – Arts Court Library. Reviews of Colin Godbout’s previous shows at the Ottawa Fringe: Transcanada ’69 and Last Gig of Lenny Breau have been very complimentary about Godbout’s guitar playing. The reviewers have been less enthusiastic about his ability to write and perform a story around the music. His latest show is a significant step up in Godbout’s showmanship.  He does play the music of these six musicians very very well; he also takes on their stage personae and some of their showmanship.
HappinessTM HappinessTM
Review by Liz Martin
Comedy, BYOV H – T.A.N. Cafe. Happiness™ has the sense of being an experiment still in its early stages. The show wavers from loosely-scripted, pseudo-confident sequences to adeptly rehearsed play-within-a-play bits, and tightly choreographed physical numbers. This change in tempo is jarring, but the “sales pitch” sketches have a charmingly inane spoof/commercial quality (à la Saturday Night Live) that makes these highly watchable.
The Hatter The Hatter
Review by Allison Vanek
Solo Storytelling, BYOV-I St. Paul’s Eastern United Church. WadHowever, even Wade’s considerable talents as a performer couldn’t save what is otherwise for the most part a confusing, jumbled, and chaotic production. He embodies the character of the Mad Hatter perfectly. However, even Wade’s considerable talents as a performer couldn’t save what is otherwise for the most part a confusing, jumbled, and chaotic production.
Jeff Imprisoned
Review by Brian Carrol
Drama, Academic Hall. I knew this formula. I’ve seen Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Only a few minutes have passed. The detective will apply the various tricks of his trade, solve the crime, get a conviction. All in less than an hour. Allie Bell twists that formula. This is some of the most powerful theatre I have ever seen. It’s unrelenting.
innocentwhenyoudream Innocent When you Dream 
Review by Jennifer Miller
Comedy Solo, Studio Leonard-Beaulne. In Zeb L. West’s Innocent When You Dream, we meet up with a modern-day Jonah (played by West) in the belly of a modern-day whale. Jonah’s just your average, heartbroken guy: working through his pain, looking for his car keys and trying to avoid the whale’s rectum. He’s got the audience and two books for company, and he spends the show telling his story alongside those of Don Quixote and Captain Ahab.
Insight-Theatre In The First Place
Review by Ryan Saxby Hill
Storytelling, Bytown Museum. This show is extremely accessible and I think that both adult and youth audiences will take a lot away. I would caution audiences that there is some discussion of sexual assault and some complicated sexual themes that may be difficult for some people. This isn’t a preachy show about sex. It’s a talented group of young people treating a complicated topic with the respect and intelligence (and humour) it deserves.
be a man Keeper
Review by Devan Marr
Physical, Solo – BYOV E – Studio 311. Ms. Zabloski brings a happy energy to the stage that is just infectious. As the quirky ‘Keeper’ of Emma Zabloski’s memory, we watch as she balances telling us about Emma’s life dealing with the day to day demands of the job. Of course, like all jobs there are the bad days. So while the show is mostly fun and fancy free, it has a nice human touch to it. After all, we all want to be appreciated for the work we do, and the roll of Keeper is no different.
Matchstick-Centered-Black-RESIZED Matchstick
Review by Trish Chang
Dramedy, Musical, Academic Hall. While this reviewer loves musicals, I’m sure that the non-musical lovers will enjoy this show. If you find yourself regularly at the Blacksheep, eagerly awaiting the Folk Festival or listening to CBC Radio Three, you’ll get along just fine with this musical. The masterful use of a minimal set, charming performances by the two actors, and some really great music make this show worth catching.
Moby Moby Dick, A Storytelling Adaption
Review by Erin Murray
Storytelling, Arts Court Library. When it comes to a story as immense as Moby Dick, I am not sure it is wise, or even possible, to fixate on one aspect of the narrative. By trying to force out the humour, Verger left many facets of the story unexamined – the intoxicating lure of the ocean, the many faces of the whale, both beautiful and horrifying, the impossibility of examining anything in its entirety, and the elusive nature of fate – without which the story is incomplete.
MorningStar Morning Star
Review by Lily Pepper
Solo, Storytelling, BYOV D-Avant Garde. As I nursed my ginger ale at the bar, Lucifer made his case, and it was convincing. The show is called Morning Star, and it is written, produced, and performed by Caitlin Corbett. As the Prince of Darkness, she looks lean, hungry, and bruised. Corbett plays Lucifer, and plays him as the original tortured soul, undone not by a desire to usurp God’s powers, but by his overwhelming compassion for suffering humanity.
My Second Smile My Second Smile
Review by Jennifer Miller
Solo, Physical. Arts Court Theatre. In My Second Smile, Noah Spitzer does his best to change our minds. This one-hour, one-man show tells the (mostly) true story of a young man recovering from thyroid cancer. Quarantined in his room after a therapeutic dose of radioactive iodine, Spitzer describes his diagnosis, surgery and treatment through a mixture of dance, impressions and straight-up storytelling.
YouthInfringementFestival Nebraska (Youth Infringement Festival winner)
Review byAmanda Dookie
Dramedy, Academic Hall. Nebraska is a good example of a play that is short and sweet. It uses dramatic elements wisely, has the right structure, and doesn’t try too hard to be pretentiously artistic or thematically convoluted and that makes it effective.
N Moves Nhar Moves
Review by Gabrielle Tieman
Dramedy, BYOV G – The Courtroom. Although audience interaction is at a high, with Nhar continually searching the audience for easy contact connection, the plot remains slow and lack-luster. If you wish to give Nhar Moves (Super Bad Moves) a shot, please do! The character is loveable and repetition is some people’s cup of tea – but make sure to grab a seat with a full view.
occupy Occupy Me
Review by Katie Marsh
Physical, Solo, BYOV E – Studio 311. It’s a masterful physical performance by Steinberg, who channels the cheerful yet slightly flaky vibe of the stereotypical yoga instructor all while bending her body into improbably shapes. As her monologue proceeds, we get a glimpse into the character’s problems, which are mostly of the ‘how do I find meaning in my life’ variety. It’s a credit to Steinberg’s performance that Sarah Lotus Flower remains likeable despite the somewhat navel-gazing nature of her dilemmas.
passages Passages
Review by Brian Carroll
Dance, Drama, Arts Court Theatre. As a company, the dancers are strong and disciplined in both traditional and contemporary dance. The choreography gave new meaning to traditional Celtic dance and used modern dance effectively, with two exceptions. I believe that the contemporary choreography that accompanied the results of the clearances could have been tightened up with no loss of impact on the audience. Similarly I thought that the seasickness and illness scenes on the ship could have been tightened up for more impact.
Gioco-Theatre Pilot?
Review by Brian Carroll
Comedy, Venue 2 – Arts Court Library. In Pilot?, airline passengers waiting for a flight from a Japanese airport are recruited for a television contest. I won’t tell you the name of the contest as that would give away one of the punchlines. (No spoilers from me, fellah!) They have to compete in physically, mentally and spiritually challenging tasks to earn clues so they can find the plain-clothed pilot of their airplane for their return flight home.
The Pit The Pit
Review by Erin Murray
Comedy, Academic Hall. A charming and engaging play, it will make you laugh while at the same reminding you how important it is to keep focus on what matters most in your life. You will want to go home and hug your partner/roommate/cat, curl up with a bottle of wine, and talk about the good old days and how you first met, chasing down the past before it disappears.
bike trip Prince of Denmark
Review by Barbara Popel
Comedy, Drama, Venue 3 – Academic Hall. Prince of Denmark presents the lives of the teenage Hamlet, Laertes, Ophelia, Osric, Horatio and the Rosengrantz/Guildenstern duo, plus a servant named Reynalda, a little while before Shakespeare’s Hamlet begins. The 8 teenagers who assay these roles vary widely in talent.
PrognosisJustice Prognosis Justice
Review by Anne-Marie Cenaiko
Improv, Tabareth Hall. Capitalizing on the popularity of shows like Grey’s Anatomy and CSIPrognosis Justice offers a silly, fun and at times nonsensical improvised hospital drama turned suspense thriller. The show began a bit slowly, with the actors gathering audience suggestions and setting the scene at the hospital where the drama begins. The actors quickly settled into their roles, playing with the common character stereotypes of the genres—a sassy nurse desperate for love and a devil-may-care detective, for example.
red bastard Red Bastard
Review by Barbara Popel
Ordinarily I’m not a fan of audience participation performances.  I like that fourth wall to be there between me and the performers on stage.  But Davis (whoops!  I mean Red Bastard) has a gift for getting people to play along with him, even if it causes them some embarrassment.  Or in a few cases, a lot of embarrassment.  Sometimes the audience I was in even interacted with him spontaneously without any prompting.  I can’t remember seeing that happen, other than in children’s shows.  Hmm, maybe that’s a clue…
sappho Sappho…in 9 Fragments
Review by Erin Murray
Solo, Physical, Arts Court Library. Seriously, whatever you are doing right now, stop doing it, and go see this play. It is incredible. Go see it. The aerial choreography alone makes Sappho…in 9 Fragments stunning and the lush voice of Victoria Groves as Sappho is captivating beyond measure. The set design is simple, but highly effective, and the whole show is a visual delight.
show The Show Must Go On
Review by Allison Vanek
Comedy, Storytelling, Venue 2 – Arts Court Library. The Show Must Go On is a one-man show about the adventures and misadventures that can happen while touring as a member of a travelling children’s theatre troupe. Like any one-man show, this one depended on the talents of its star, and Jeff Leard was more than up for the task. The Show Must Go On is not just a piece of theatre. It is a piece of theatre that makes you believe in the power of theatre.
SlutRevotion Slut Revolution
Reviewed by Gabrielle Tieman
Solo, Arts Court Theatre. It is emotionally entrancing and powerful at every corner – whether you are straight, bi-sexual, gay, transgender, you name it – she will hatch into every inarticulate desire in the room and hold you riveted to the end. Added into the personal equation is a nice twist on the look of how society sometimes depicts how each sex reacts to sex – you will agree so many times that your head might spin from all of the clarity.
St-Nicholas-686x250 St Nicolas.
Review by Lily Pepper
Solo Storytelling, BYOV-I St Paul’s Eastern United Church. St. Nicholas is a thoughtful, amusing, slow burner of a production. Welch is convincingly cynical and louche as a dissolute critic looking back on his failures with wry bitterness. In the world of the play, things are both more and less than they seem. Supernatural creatures are real, but their faults and foibles are no more epic and magical than our own.
Photo courtesy of Ottawa Fringe Superhero Showdown
Review by Barbara Popel
Storytelling, Arts Court Theatre. Superhero Showdown started fairly promisingly – the theatre was about three-quarters full, and most were parents with children ranging from babes in arms to pre-teens. The  majority seemed to be preschoolers. They were excited to be there, and when the lights went down, they behaved admirably.
this is funny THIS IS FUNNY
Review by Lily Pepper
Comedy, Mature, Studio Léonard-Beaulne. The show starts off with some standard improv-style pieces, where the actors reprise the same scene in different styles.  Soon, though, it became weirder and more frenetic, with brief lewd, impressionistic sketches.  The performers keep up a frantic level of energy throughout the show.
Backpack-May-Can The Tragicall Historie Of Nick Wade (And Other Fuck-ups)
Review by Dev Marr
Drama, Comedy, T.A.N. Coffee.  The interplay between the actors clearly stems from a history of working together and it showed.  There were sly grins, snarky comments, and general shenanigans.  But I just found I couldn’t get locked into the story.  It was very Fight Club meets The Clash, in Kanata.  Entertaining, but not enthralling.
Photo courtesy of Fringe Ottawa Tinfoil Satellite
Review by Allison Vanek
Comedy, BYOV-C Royal Oak. While the concept of movie-riffing is interesting, and I really loved Community’s take on the genre, it’s a comedic schtick that can get old really fast. For me, only about one joke in five in Tinfoil Satellite even made me chuckle, and there were no more than three or four times where I genuinely laughed out loud. Sometimes, it even felt like those of us in the audience were the unwanted guests on the outside of a really long inside joke.
Mango Under The Mango Tree
Reviewed by Jason Yung
Drama, Dance, Solo, Storytelling, Studio Leonard-Beaulne. I don’t like tragedies, but Under the Mango Tree is a widely acclaimed and exuberantly acted one-woman-show by the beautiful Ms. Veenesh Dubois. Dubois, who is a delightful thunder-ball of energy, passionately and masterfully acts the three main characters of the story: the grandmother, the father, and the young girl through her transformation into a woman.
vanity project The Vanity Project
Review by Anne-Marie Cenaiko
Drama, Musical, Venue 1 – Arts Court Theatre. In The Vanity Project, Tim Oblerholzer reimagines the story of Narcissus and Echo in musical form, pulling from a variety of musical stylings, including jazz, doo-wop, with some beach boy harmonies and even a little background beat boxing.
lavoixhumaine La voix humaine
Review by Èva Morin
Dramedy, Opera, Arts Court Theatre. Opera 5’s General Director Rachel Krehm plays the tragic “Elle”, a lovesick woman desperately clinging to a telephone conversation with her former lover. Since the audience can only hear Krehm’s side of the conversation, they are left guessing what “Monsieur” is saying to make her so agitated and frantic.
WeG We Glow
Review by Allison Vanek
Comedy, Tabaret Hall. The story is set predominantly in a boardroom, and thus the Tabaret Hall Senate Chambers is an absolutely perfect fit. The boardroom set is already there without the company having to do anything, complete with an excellent use of video projection and a very long wooden table that doubles as a raised stage. The production even creatively made use of the audience, seating 16 audience members around the long table, dressing them in suit jackets, and having them read scripted lines at certain points during the show as the board to whom the actors are presenting.
Bear-and-Co Windfall Jelly
Review by Amanda Dookie
Solo Dramedy, Arts Court Theatre. When life gives you lemons, you make jelly in Eleanor Crowder’s Windfall Jelly. Jam-packed with dramatic rhetorical devices such as epizeuxes and metaphors about life lessons, Windfall Jelly is a performance that tells the story of a husband and wife whose marriage has hit a turbulent storm.