Dispatches from the Victoria Fringe 2015. Day Five.

Dispatches from the Victoria Fringe 2015 Day Five. August 26-September 6, 2015 in Victoria BC.

Reviews of Kiss Around Pass Around by Yanomi, Uncouth by Wyndy Wynazz and The Trouble with Facebook by Theatre Theatre.

Find all my Victoria Fringe coverage HERE:

As the last weekend of the festival approaches, be prepared by purchasing tickets in advance where possible—there are only a certain number sold and popular shows do sell-out of pre-sale tickets—or line-up early (at least one hour) to avoid disappointment.

Kiss Around Pass Around

When Yanomi first arrived on the North American Fringe circuit in 2009 with her zany character Little Miss Hiccup, she spoke very limited English. Over the years she’s toured the CAFF circuit with the show and is now ready to unveil the lovable, furry Kiss Around Pass Around.
This adorable creature is akin to a Japanese animé character brought to life. Of indeterminate origins—some say the word is Sanskrit, others ancient Japanese—one thing is certain, Kiss Around Pass Around has a zest for life and an unstoppable nature.

Carrying a large trunk everywhere she goes, and seeking help from strangers, her quest is long and arduous. Who are her parents and where are her mommy and her daddy? Mysterious letters, written on leaves, provide some directions. Valiantly she struggles against wind, rain and thunder and with the aid and the kindness of others arrives at her destination.

Kiss Around Pass Around requires the willing participation of audience members. There was nary a kid in the house and despite that Yanomi was able to coax people persistently into relinquishing shoes, reading letters and accompanying her onstage with her signature refrain, “Are you human? Are you kind?” Accompanied by a pair of goat puppets she sings and dances, tumbles and jumps from one spot to the next on her hero’s journey.

Kiss Around Pass Around is a show for people who retain a sense of child-like wonder and fun, or for those who are willing to suspend disbelief long enough to acquire it.

Filled with visual and sound effects, it’s proof that even a seemingly simple concept requires a high degree of artistry and skill.

Kiss Around Pass Around by Yanomi Shoshinz
Tokyo, Japan
Venue 2, Downtown Activity Centre
50 minutes • All Ages • Physical Comedy

Remaining shows:
Thursday September 3, 2015 – 9:30 PM
Saturday September 5, 2015 – 5:30 PM
Sunday September 6, 2015 – 4:30 PM

Uncouth by Windy Wynazz and Dan Griffiths

Poor Windy—relegated to cleaning duty while pining for stardom, she’s doomed to push a broom for the foreseeable future. Clad in a ratty nightgown and well-tousled hair, her physique reminiscent of a young Carol Burnett, she daydreams and imagines suggestive acts with the handle when suddenly “the Boss”—a disembodied voice—calls her smartly to attention.

Clown meets bouffon meets puppets, burlesque and physical comedy in a hot glorious tangle.

Wynazz somehow finagles an audition—but as for many performers, it’s more strip tease than musical. With great dexterity and prowess, including some head spinning, she’s willing to go the distance to secure a spot in the line-up.
At one point, her routine demands audience participation—and an eager young man follows her onstage for a tea party unlike any other. Performers who can coax, cajole and persuade most-often-reticent theatre-goers to become part of their act possess a very particular skill and Wynazz has it in spades.

The heroine magically transforms from clowning tumbling acrobat to glam diva and begins to belt in a manner that channels Judy Garland or Linda Ronstad.

Fringe festivals world-wide invite fans to shed the conventions of the fourth wall and “polite” theatre. There can never be enough silliness at the Fringe. Uncouth appeals to every prim and proper personage waiting for their chance to secretly “bust out” but relegated to cheering Windy on her road to success. One thing is certain—she’ll do it her way.

Pizazz and physicality combine in a unique take on the rags to riches fable in this high-energy, high-laughs show.

Uncouth by Windy Wynazz
San Francisco, CA
Venue 2, Downtown Activity Centre
60 minutes • PG 14+: Adult Themes • Physical Theatre/Clown

Remaining shows:
Thursday September 3, 2015 – 6:15 PM
Friday September 4, 2015 – 8:30 PM

The Problem with Facebook by Ian Simms

Teenage years are awkward at the best of times. Now, add social media, in this case Facebook, into the mix and the potential for trouble increases exponentially. What once took hours or even days to boil over can now reach explosive magnitude in a matter of seconds.

One man (Ian Simms, the creator of the piece) and three chairs are set pieces convincing enough to keep the audience of mainly 20 year olds (I had to easily be at least twice the age of everyone else) howling and tittering at the jokes as five teenagers (now all grown-up because they are 17) bicker and whinge about who is doing what to, and with, whom.

In an interesting twist and comment on the global reach of instant communication, they’ve all, unbeknownst to one another, found an unlikely confidante in an Iranian rebel, Abdul, who provides sage advice instantly. His wife Marika is none too happy about it either.

All the major teen tropes and stereotypes are there—sex, school, clothes, the dance, the Jock (Ryan), the Beauty (Stephanie), the Bitch (Rebecca) and the Nerds (Ricky and Beth). Simms handles the transitions easily between his male and female characters, who remain ever-so-slightly exaggerated in order to  ramp up the fun factor.

Anyone familiar with Facebook or teens will smile at the antics as Simms transitions from one character to another in a series of hapless episodes as the teens prepare for their big night out. There are no ground-breaking revelations in a work that harkens back to teen comedies like Ferris Buehler’s Day Off but a reflection from Abdul at the end of the show definitely puts their day-to-day struggles into perspective.

Simms is a recent UVic Phoenix Theatre grad and emerging playwright who presented his work Agency and Empathy at Intrepid Theatre’s YOU Show in the spring. He’s adept at re-framing societal expectations for a young audience, providing plays that engage the next generation of theatre patrons. This is no small feat, and one to be encouraged.

The Problem With Facebook written/created by Ian Simms
Theatre Theatre Victoria BC
Venue 2, Downtown Activity Centre
45 minutes • PG 14+: Coarse Language/Adult Themes • Comedy

Remaining shows:
Thursday September 3, 2015 – 8:00 PM
Saturday September 5, 2015 – 3:45 PM
Sunday September 6, 2015 – 8:00 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.


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