Dispatches from the Victoria Fringe 2015. Day Eight.

Dispatches from the Victoria Fringe 2015. Day Eight. The Victoria Fringe Festival 2015, August 26-September 6, 2015.
Reviews of The Exclusion Zone by Martin Dockery, The Traveller by Daniel Morton and Two by Kat Taddei.

Read all of my Victoria Fringe Festival 2015 coverage HERE:

The Exclusion Zone by Martin Dockery

Hands and arms gesticulate wildly, creating loops and swirls in the air before heading home to wrap themselves in an embrace around the lanky body of Martin Dockery. Since first appearing on the Fringe circuit (his Victoria appearance with Wanderlust in 2010 remains firmly anchored in my mind) this prolific artist has written and performed in an astonishing total of 11 solo and two-hander shows, on stages big and small, world-wide. His appearances at the Victoria Fringe Festival have, however, been few and far between (Bursting into Flames and The Pit in 2014).

Listening to him spin his yarns, there is the sense of a story within the story, a moral waiting to be revealed in the intricate details that pile one on top of the other, along with characters and people, at a blistering pace.

Adventure follows him wherever he goes, to the Ukraine, in New York City where he lives, and at Burning Man.

The Exclusion Zone is inspired (and why will only be revealed much later in the story) by a book, Geoff Dyer’s “Zona” itself inspired by a film about a room.  Stories, within stories, within stories—akin to peeling back the onion of life.

Despite the fact Dockery admits that nothing really happens—either in his show, in the film or in the book—his storytelling hooks his audience firmly.

An entire generation remembers the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl. Dockery reveals The Exclusion Zone—a 1000 square mile zone devoid of human life, all that remains of the planned city of Pripyat, home to 50,000 people before that fateful day when they were forced to evacuate.

The Exclusion Zone is a travel tale unlike any other—revealing the dark complexities of “ruin porn”, an homage to the work of his favourite author—Geoff Dyer—and a philosophical reflection on the nature of art and the relationship between creator and audience.

Navigating every step of the way through the details, Dockery serves as careful, considerate and enthusiastic tour guide, eager to share his findings with the world.

Among storytellers, Dockery has a unique perspective on revealing kernels of truth, his tales a labyrinth for meandering.

The Exclusion Zone by Martin Dockery
Brooklyn, New York
Venue 5 St Andrew’s School
60 minutes • All Ages • Storytelling
All seats $11

Remaining shows:
Friday September 4, 2015 – 5:45 PM
Saturday September 5, 2015 – 6:45 PM


TheTraveller by Daniel Morton

The Traveller is a dark cautionary tale with disturbing undertones about life on the road, inspired by playwright Morton’s backpacking travels in Central America.

The Traveller (Max Kashetsky) never stops, ceaseless in his desire for more and more adventure, acquiring experiences to tick off his bucket list.

One night, in a far off Eastern European city, he meets a man who introduces him to the country of El Centro, and the story of a church destroyed—along with the people who sheltered there—during a particularly violent civil war.

The Traveller, sets off, travelling light with little more than a backpack, his guitar and a harmonica. What he discovers about himself sends chills up your spine.

Max Kashetsky accompanies his stories with guitar and harmonica, creating a plaintive and melancholic setting that is highlighted by a set design including archaic artefacts and curios. Foreboding hangs in the air. The pacing produces great trepidation—what will this traveller discover about himself? How far is he willing to go?

In a society pre-occupied by novelty and the next new thing, The Traveller provokes meditation on the reasons behind the need for acquisition.

Thoughtful, moody and self-aware, The Traveller is an invitation to tarry awhile; to listen and to share.

The Traveller by Daniel Morton
Garibian Productions, Vancouver BC
Venue 8, Roxy Theatre
45 minutes • PG 14+: Adult Themes, Violence • Dramatic Monologue
All seats $11

Remaining shows:
Friday September 4, 2015 – 7:45 PM
Saturday September 5, 2015 – 10:15 PM
Sunday September 6, 2015 – 1:00 PM
Two by Kat Taddei

A dedicated cast and crew of emerging artists bring young playwright Kat Taddei’s “hyper-real” work Two to life.

Often, when people read the word “emerging” they, mistakenly, believe the work to be un-skilled or of inferior quality. This is simply not the case. Indeed, many members of this production have been doing double duty at this year’s Victoria Fringe—director Colette Habel (also Two’s sound designer) helped devise and is performing in The Wyrd Sisters along with Nicholas Yee, Jack Hayes and Levi Schneider; Brett Hay is in The Daughter of Turpentine. Taddei herself is stage managing Two.

Fringe patrons will remember set and lighting designer Sean Brossard from his work on the 2014 Fringe hit The New Conformity, a juggling show, by Implied Intuition.

Suffice it to say, although young, these performers have years of training and experience to their credit, and it shows in the calibre of the show.

Anna SR (Kate Boutilier) and Anna SL (Sam Lynch) are two versions of one another—existing in parallel universes. Young servers pre-occupied with the unhappy realization they are going nowhere, they rush to work, hurry through their day, and hang out at the bar later. A childhood friend Mike (Michael Bell) won’t leave them alone—they make choices during the course of the day that will have a profound affect.

Mysterious “masked men” (Jack Hayes, Ardy Ramezani, Levi Schneider and Nicholas Yee) are both inhabitants of their worlds (passersby, patrons at the bar) and a mysterious and manipulative chorus.

Taddei’s script is taut, the language and style of writing completely contemporary; the worlds created are believable and realistic—costumes by Emma Woodhouse helping to create this impression

What twenty-two year-old hasn’t wondered at the direction their life is taking or pounded back shots at the bar with a stranger (Brett Hay as Jess), to later take them to bed?

Taddei’s script hints at hidden secrets and issues left over from childhood—why is Michael so clingy, what exactly happened on the playground, why do both Anna SR and Anna SL have nightmares?

Two universes, two lives, two endings. Two appeals to anyone who has ever asked the question “what would have happened if….?”
Under the appearance of mundane lives, is mystery.

Two by Kat Taddei
Catador Theatre, Victoria BC
Venue 3, Metro Studio Theatre
45 minutes • PG 14+: Adult Themes, Violence • Contemporary Drama
All seats $11

Remaining shows:
Saturday September 5, 2015 – 10:45 PM
Sunday September 6, 2015 – 4:00 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. […] review here: Winner of multiple Pick of the Fringe, Patron’s Picks and Best of Fests for his shows. […]

  2. […] of the Fringe 2015 playwright Kat Taddei (“Best New Playwright for TWO) returns to the Victoria Fringe with her latest work Art of the Eight Limbs, and this year, has […]

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