Monday, June 10, 2019

Fringe Hits the Excitement Button in 2019

Tons of shows, variety of styles, topics and bending the norm. Music, mayhem and more makes the big Buzz

Check the schedule of shows by consulting Fringe’s program. 
The website is:


Vadim Gran

Drawl humour for sure that made us smile all the way – even if he never did in Russia. That, you don’t do. It’s the land where the enemy of bad is good, and where better is the enemy of good  according to  comic, Vadim Gran who launched his world premiere show here at Fringe though his production company. Shim Entertainment.  Life in Russia was about living in shit – the norm for him. He bravely left the ”land of the dead”. His one-man show enlightened us all about his coming of age to smile here in his adopted country. Girl friends never worked out for him, nor did his pals’ pot parties. Vadim’s understated manner worked in his favour, especially at the end, when he smiled. 


Me, Myself and Illusion

Loved it!  Illusionist, Jody Mihaly nailed it giving us the slick and vulnerable Jody, interweaving magic into his monologues, often using real life auto-biographical scene stills  that are projected onto the screen. His show brings people on stage to do daring dangerous illusions, along with very funny shtick, especially in his book memory trick trick that leaves the participant who joined him on in a state of ironic surprise. Not a static presentation at all,  uber-energetic Jody reveals his life hit rock bottom, and like a card trick, he closed the deck on that part of his life and started anew, thanks to his second wife who got him on the right track. Jody is clear about who he is, and his magic is astounding. It was fascinating to see (or not see) just how many tricks he had up his sleeve. Go see it; you’ll enjoy this highly entertaining piece of trickery.

Nancy Snipper and Jody Mihaly



Melanie Gall is a powerhouse of vocal range exploding with emotion to convey the timeless songs of Piaf and Brel. She gives up much of their life story, and though these singers never met, both shared the looking glass into life, loss and joys, particularly their sexual shenanigans that were rather well-known. Melanie has done solo shows about Garland and Sophie Tucker and more, performing in over 145 countries.  She has multiple opera degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, but they did her no good when she got her first break at a bar in Santiago, Trinidad. They did not want opera, they wanted Piaf and Brel. Her mother faxed her lots of song scores for her to learn from her Alberta home (Melanie grew up there). Melanie recounted many unique funny moments in her career, such as the time she sang for the king if Brunei> her poster showed her wearing an accordion, so when the he asked  her to perform with the accordion, she reported she left it in Canada. In fact, she does not play accordion, so the kind found one for her, and she managed to play a simple song. He was fooled. Melanie never sipped a glass of water during her solo show. She beautifully interwove song and her own journey to stardom in a refreshing, happy way. I loved the show, even if there was no male to sing Brel. She confided in me, there used to perform with a singer for Brel, but like the iconic Belgian scallywag himself, her performance partner took off, leaving her to hold the mike. We’re glad she has a great grip on it.

Edith Paif

Jacques Brel



Zack Adams and Nancy

This guy is incredibly gifted. The speed at which he speaks and turns what could be a nice thought into an ending zinger gets the laughs. Zach takes us through his goof ball days and unrequited crush with several Laras as he moves form kid to teenager to adult. None of his relationship worked out, and it wasn’t because he stepped on Lara’s feet while dancing in in school. He started the show introducing the calamities he encountered touring, including a mike that wasn’t there for a show, and then turned up without a stand.
This show goes from laughter to touching moments and fuck-you revenge songs – most of which he composed.

I love this guy. He’s uber-brilliant; you never lose interest in his compelling yet very funny delivery.


Philippe Gorbeille and Nancy with puppets, Sam (leftt and Benny (right)

Philippe Gorbeille deserves his Frankie nomination. he is a great puppet master who really captures the personality of the puppets he mouths for. This is a case of a missing man whose will is being searched for by a rather evil guy. There is a girl puppet in it who mourns the loss of her hubby. There are many characters in it but Sam is by far the coolest dude. In the end the girl gets two hubbies it would seem. Benny, one of the puppets interacts with the girls in the audience; I was one of them how lucky can a gal get? What a fun journey despite a rather childish plot.


From Vancouver comes this highly unique and clever use of lights on bodies. one becomes a  pinkish entity (in the first scene) without using the actor’s entire body as projection caret new ways of looking at it. How hilarious that teeth become the stomach; a huge tooth brush brushes them clean. How funny when the actor does undulations to create soapy water falling off her as she washes herself;  we never see her face. It is really hard to explain in words the optical illusions created on the human body via the light projections. Gender-bending, nudity and puppetry make this Fringe’s most originally creative out-of-the-box show for me of shows. The performers were Jessica Gabriel and Chloe Ziner who are from the award-winning shadow theatre company, Mind of a snail.



Bob Bell had to struggle the last day of his show with an audience of seven people. Though it was really a quiet highly intelligent rant against Trump and all his cronies, there were no laughs.

He was more like a political commentator than a stand-up comedian, though there were some funny lines. His show has been presented in Europe to acclaim, perhaps his best audience is in New York where he hails from.


Great frenetic ensemble acting giving up send-up snippets of various Shakespeare plays. I just hope the playwright did not roll over if he heard it. I have to be honest; it was not my cup of English tea, and at time the script made little sense other than nonsense. Still, it was fun to watch. The strongest actors were the playwright herself, Kate Hammer – it was a marvellous vehicle for her to show off her acrobatic corporal and verbal talents. Adrian MacDonald was fabulous in all his characters.  He’s a terrific actor and will go far. Al’ls well that ends well, so let it be said the collaborative efforts of everyone created a unique if not skitsy Shakespeare kind parody bash. Best performed at any frolicking Fringe Festival.

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