Dispatches from the Victoria Fringe 2018. Day Two.

Reviews of Water People by Ellen Arrand, produced by Theatre Inconnu, Fado by Elaine Avila, produced by Puente Theatre and Carey, OK! Timeless Timely Tunes by Carey Wass.

Everyone Fringe fanatic has a plan and a strategy—sometimes I borrow my friend Arlene’s and go to one venue to stay there to see as many shows as possible, at other times I want to plan forays to the off-site venues.  Friday night was a blend of both—catching an early show at Venue 2, the Downtown Community Centre, to then saunter to another at the White Eagle Polish Hall (in James Bay on Dock Street) and then back to Venue 2 to end the night.

Water People

Ellen Arrand is a beautifully descriptive writer, her long phrases replete with the details of life and a sense of wonder at the world. Delving deep into inner states of mind and the minutiae of daily caretaking for an elderly mother, she finds humour, love and small victories in abundance.

Over the course of the show, the many relationships—to her mother and father, husband and siblings, and various friends and confidantes—are clearly delineated. Her cat has pride of place too!

At a time when there are as many people over 80 as under 15 in Canada, the realities of Water People abound in the lives of its citizens—to care for an elder at home in a shared living situation is not uncommon, yet the voices of those involved are not often heard in the mainstream.

Carving out precious time for writing in a “10-year stint (so far)” of looking after her mother is clearly a monumental endeavour—as outlined in the story of attending students’ year end productions at UVic where Arrand goes back and forth from home to university multiple times during the day.

Director Clayton Jevne is a master of solo-storytelling himself; he’s paid close attention to the physicality of the piece, choreographing movement that adds interest and grace to the narrative.

Water People is filled to the brim with humanity—a small slice of life of ordinary people, finding pleasure in the simple tasks of daily living in what many would consider difficult circumstances.

Although Water People would seem to be best suited to an audience of aging baby boomers—concerned with their parents’ and their own needs—younger audiences too can benefit from the insights it provides.

Water People, written and performed by Ellen Arrand, produced by Theatre Inconnu
Venue 2, the Downtown Community Centre (755 Pandora Avenue)
Tickets $11 regular, $9 students and seniors
Duration: 65 minutes
Genre: Dramedy
Rating: Adults only

Remaining shows:
Aug 25 Saturday 08:30 pm
Aug 26 Sunday 04:00 pm
Aug 31 Friday 06:45 pm
Sep 01 Saturday 04:30 pm
Sep 02 Sunday 12:30 pm


It was the mid-1990s during the time of First Night celebrations in Victoria when our family attended a performance of a gypsy jazz group whose name has long receded from my mind—what has remained seared in memory however is the image of a slip of a young woman, still in her teens, singing her heart out onstage with a maturity belying her tender years.

Sara Marreiros (the Ghost of Amalia Rodrigues) has a rare musical talent, nurtured by two cultures, Canada and Portugal; this lived dichotomy provides a unique understanding of the complexities in Elaine Avila’s Fado.

Born in Canada, Luisa (Finn Letourneau) returns to Portugal, a land her mother Rosida (Cyllene Richmond) left during the dictatorship of Salazar to make a better life.  She’s there to study fado, the national folk music, and its relationship to kitsch.  Rosida is eager to reconnect with her nephew Rui (Pedro M. Siqueira) a young man she barely knows.

Music by Dan Weisenburger on Portuguese guitar, Judd Palmer (Antonio) and Siqueria flows throughout, underlining the melancholic nature of the quest and the conflicts soon apparent—Luisa wants to study something that can only be lived; Rosida romanticizes a past that was brutal for those who remained; Rui has to hide an important part of himself from those he loves.

Fado is permeated with ache and regret, with love and longing—the ineffable sorrow of being human and making a place in the world. In addition to the haunting refrains of Marreiros, there are standout vocal performances from both Letourneau and Siqueira and impressive playing from Weisenburger and Palmer.

In a world filled with the diaspora and people attempting to reconnect with what was left behind—people, place, culture—Fado resonates and pulls at heartstrings in inexpressible ways.  Part concert, part romance, part history lesson—of both Portugal and fado—enhanced by rich and excellent design elements, Fado is another triumph for director Mercedes Batiz-Benet and Puente Theatre. The club-like atmosphere of this off-site venue adds greatly to the experience and makes it well worth the time to take the trip into James Bay.

Fado, the saddest music in the world, by Elaine Avila, produced by Puente Theatre
Site D, the White Eagle Polish Hall (90 Dock Street)
Regular $11/ St & Sr $9
Duration: 70mins/2hours (with concert)
RATING: 15+ (No minors Aug 31 & Sept 1)
GENRE: Drama & Fado Musi

Remaining Shows:

Aug 26 Sunday 08:00 pm
Aug 28 Tuesday 08:00 pm
Aug 29 Wednesday 08:00 pm
Aug 30 Thursday 08:00 pm
Aug 31 Friday 08:00 pm
Sep 01 Saturday 08:00 pm

On Friday August 31st & Saturday September 1st, the show will be followed by a concert by Sara Marreiros (included in ticket price).  Enjoy the show, then stay for a live musical performance, with a licensed bar (for these evenings only, no minors allowed, and run time is 2 hours with intermission).  puentetheatre.ca

Carey, OK! Timeless Timely Tunes

Ah, the wonders of technology!  What would have once necessitated a dedicated sound studio, multiple instruments and numerous musicians, or, a band and concert hall, can now be accomplished with a small unit, only slightly bigger than a tablet—the looper.

Carey Wass has dedicated hours to learning the ins-and-outs of this modern marvel. In Carey, OK! he shares his musical discoveries and experimentations enthusiastically—his stage persona a combination of Energizer Bunny, Speedy Gonzales and Road Runner as he gleefully dances and prances, beaming joy and delight.

There are serious messages though.  Perhaps best known locally for originating the role of Misha in Ride the Cyclone, Wass left Victoria for Toronto and, ultimately Korea and Vietnam where he taught English.  In conversations with his students he came to realize they were living with crippling anxiety—You Shall Not Pass channels Gandalf to tame the monster of self-doubt.  Breaking Kayfabe takes a term from the professional wresting lexicon and expands it to modern culture.  One Man Army is pure mastery as Wass creates 5 different imaginary musicians and then performs as a band. His final number, Run Tom Run, takes a lesson from Tom Cruise’s action movies and encourages the audience to reach beyond themselves to connect with family, friends and strangers, to make the world a better place.

Missing a spring in your step? Feeling a little down and discouraged with life? Carey, OK! is the perfect antidote to what ails. Wass has recently moved back to Victoria—hopefully there will be many more concerts and shows on tap—as he says “this show’s for everyone!”

Carey, OK! Timeless Timely Tunes, written and performed by Carey Wass
Venue 2, Downtown Community Centre, 755 Pandora Avenue
Tickets $11 regular $9 students and seniors
Duration: 60 minutes
Rating: PG 14+ adult themes
Gentre: Solo Musical Supershow

Remaining Shows:

Aug 25 Saturday 06:30 pm
Aug 26 Sunday 06:30 pm
Aug 31 Friday 09:15 pm
Sep 01 Saturday 10:15 pm

About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.


  1. […] check out reviews from Day One (The Session, Reminiscences of Reconciliation, Fool’s Paradise), Day Two (Water People, Fado, Carey, OK!) and Day Three (Sherlock Holmes and the Curse of Moriarty!, The […]

  2. […] check out reviews from Day One (The Session, Reminiscences of Reconciliation, Fool’s Paradise), Day Two (Water People, Fado, Carey, OK!)  Day Three (Sherlock Holmes and the Curse of Moriarty!, The […]

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