Dispatches from the Victoria Fringe 2015. Day Four.

Dispatches from the Victoria Fringe 2015 Day Four. Victoria Fringe Festival August 26-September 6, 2015.  Reviews of Casino Royale, the Birdmann in Momentous Timing, Soul, Ha! and Sperm Wars.

Elegant drama, quirkiness galore, physical comedy, heart-felt story and dramatic comedy filled my Fringe Day Four with the wide variety I’ve come to expect at the Victoria Fringe.

The day started with David Elendune’s adaptation of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale featuring everyone’s favourite spy, James Bond, continued with Birdmann weirdness in Momentous Timing, Jeff Leard’s Star-Wars inspired Sperm Wars with a cast of millions, Maxine Fisher’s personal story of life over adversity–Soul and finished with one of Victoria’s favourite funny men—Wes Borg—in Ha!

The review for Sperm Wars will be posted Wednesday.

Find all my Victoria Fringe coverage HERE:

Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale adapted by David Elendune

Suave, sophisticated and oh-so-elegant—words to describe the world of James Bond, and Outpost 31 Victoria’s production of Casino Royale, directed by Ian Case (noted for his Craigdarroch Castle shows) and featuring a coterie of reputed Victoria actors from such companies as Langham Court Theatre, the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival and Atomic Vaudeville.

Springing out of post-war pre-occupations of the early 1950s when Russia—once friend, now enemy—began its rise, Bond books and movies appeal to the secret spy in everyone.

Montgomery Björnsson as Bond is cool as a cucumber and completely unruffled throughout while Ellen Law as Vesper Lynd is the perfect combination of demure, competent and sexy. Villains Rod Peter as Le Chiffre and Mark Logtenberg as his henchman Boris inspire shivers, while Perry Burton brings Gallic charm to the role of René Mathis and David Biltek is the perfect “ugly American”—gruff and frank. For the home team Wendy Magahay as Loelia Ponsoby, Justin Guthrie as M and David Elendune as S provide the impression of a well-oiled organization where failure is not an option.

Live narration by Magahay and foley and voices by Caroline Mackenzie De Korte imbue the production with the feel of a radio drama.

In a tight 60 minutes, the suspense builds. Expect twists, turns and surprising revelations in this stylish and pared homage to the spy who defined the genre.

Large cast productions are few and far between at the Fringe, due to the logistics of touring; it’s always a pleasure to have the variety they provide over smaller shows.

A nod to 17-year-old Cameron Henderson who created and played all the instruments on the Bond-inspired theme.

Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, adapted and created by David Elendune
Outpost 31 Victoria
St Andrew’s School, Venue 5
65 minutes
All Ages: Coarse Language, Adult Themes, Violence. Cold War Drama
All seats $11

Remaining shows:
Monday August 31, 2015 – 7:45 PM
Wednesday September 2, 2015 – 5:45 PM
Saturday September 5, 2015 – 10:30 PM
Sunday September 6, 2015 – 3:00 PM

The Birdmann in Momentous Timing

Trent Baumann, aka The Birdmann, first appeared at the Victoria Fringe in 2011 where his quirky, odd-ball vaudeville act quickly accumulated fans, and awards. Since then he’s returned to the Fringe in 2013, and UNO Fest in 2012. Victoria can’t get enough of the Birdmann and the feeling is mutual.

Over the years The Birdmann’s original street-busking has transitioned into a set filled with juggling of unusual objects, magic and cheesy one-liners. Audiences looking for the “fringiest” of performances will appreciate the absurd humour of his comedy and storytelling.

Baumann possesses an enviable gift—the ability to quickly bring an audience on-side and into his world, where sequined stilettos substitute for telephones, and a giant egg accompanies the action on all manner of instruments and sounds.

Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” blares as the Birdmann reveals all for the grand finale.

Into every convention-filled day, a little Birdmann must come. See for yourself what everyone else is talking about. A man like no other—The Birdmann.

If vaudeville and the circus side-show had a baby, it would be The Birdmann.

Please note: The Birdmann in Momentous Timing final performance is Thursday September 3rd. His shows are popular and do sell-out. Consider an advance ticket or line-up very early.

The Birdmann in Momentous Timing
Venue 3 Victoria Event Centre
50 minutes. All Ages. Comedy Cabaret Theatre
All seats $11

Remaining shows:
Monday August 31, 2015 – 8:45 PM
Tuesday September 1, 2015 – 7:00 PM
Thursday September 3, 2015 – 10:00


SOUL=??? Nephesh by Maxine Fisher

When faced with the unthinkable, a young daughter diagnosed with a life-threating illness, and despite the doctor’s predictions, Maxine Fisher and her family cling to life and hope. Shira, meaning song, was born with spinal muscular dystrophy; her parents were told she would live a year at most. She is now a happy eleven-year-old.

Fisher uses her musical gifts and deep rich voice to round-out the story of living with a child with a severe disability. No saint, she sparkles with mischief, dancing happily around the stage singing songs about love, lust and life.

In moments of frustration, she turns to, and rejects, a male God, while remaining anchored steadfastly to her faith. Soul doesn’t sugar-coat the considerable challenges, rather choosing to focus on more life-affirming moments like Shira’s encounters with homeless people whom she knows by name, and her performance of Whitney Houston’s classic Greatest Love of All for her year-end school concert.

Solo storytelling provides audiences with windows into experiences they would otherwise never have. Fisher’s first foray at the Fringe brims with life, passion, desire and emotion—all attributes of the word “nephesh” as defined by Strong’s concordance.

Soul is a fundraiser for Victoria-based Help Fill a Dream Foundation, assisting children with life-threatening conditions by fulfilling their dreams, improving their quality of life and assisting their families with care and financial support.

SOUL=??? Nephesh by Maxine Fisher
Venue 1, the Victoria Event Centre
50 minutes. PG 14+. Coarse language. Adult Themes. Comedy/Drama/Song
All seats $11

Remaining shows:
Wednesday September 2, 2015 – 10:00 PM
Thursday September 3, 2015 – 8:15 PM
Saturday September 5, 2015 – 8:30 PM
Sunday September 6, 2015 – 2:45 PM


Ha! written and created by Chris Gibb and Wes Borg

There are many plays and movies about the backstage shenanigans that take place in the theatre, or chart the rise of the promising young star. Ha! by veteran performers and comedy writers Chris Craddock and Wes Borg is an insightful look into life on the comedy circuit.

First performed at the Victoria Fringe in 2008, when Borg was newly arrived in the city, with updated writing and direction by J. McLaughlin, Ha! has lost none of its edge or humour.

A true-to-life fairy tale as told to his young son by rising comedy star Colin McLeod, Ha! begins on the farm in Saskatchewan, and ends with a gig at Just for Laughs.

Along the way there are long road trips, failed jokes, first night nerves, and a series of lucky breaks. Borg plays all the roles—a mom trying to maintain peace in the family, a gruff disappointed dad, the young comedian and his joke-writing bride Gayle, Brad the black sheep brother, Fool—the veteran comic and Katie the female side-kick—with flair.

Routines from the many clubs on the circuit had the audience laughing readily. It’s all so tongue-in-cheek and probably a little too close-to-home, particularly at the Victoria Fringe Festival where many performers are looking to break out.

Borg brings great wit and accomplishment to Ha! Laughter is guaranteed at the hands of this master comedian.

Ha! created and written by Wes Borg and Chris Craddock www.deadtroll.com/ha
Venue 1, Victoria Event Centre
75 minutes. PG 14+. Coarse language. Extremely Coarse, Adult Themes. Comedy.
All seats $11

Remaining shows:
Wednesday September 2, 2015 – 8:00 PM
Thursday September 3, 2015 – 6:15 PM
Saturday September 5, 2015 – 6:30 PM
Sunday September 6, 2015 – 4:30 PM


Sperm Wars by Jeff Leard

It’s an epic inter-galactic battle with a cast of millions and Jeff Leard, skills honed on the “mean” stages of the nation’s elementary schools performing as a member of Victoria-based Story Theatre Company, is up to the challenge.

Legions of sperm fighter pilots in the ranks of the X and Y chromosome squadrons of the Sperm Army of the Left Testicle prepare to launch an attack on the planet of Ovaria, ruled by a high priestess and populated by masses of eggs with names like Emily, Eve, Elvira, Eugenia.

High energy, suggestive and raunchy hijinks ensue in this ode to conception in the theme of Star Wars. Despite the seriousness of the situation, where all will perish, the young fighter cadets with names like Captain Spark and Spunk can’t keep their hands off one-another, to the chagrin of proud Colonel Gamete.

Leard has an enormous facility for caricature (and oh, what he can’t do with an arched eyebrow!)—smiling seductively as Zandra, flicking hair with disdain as a disinterested Eve, testing thrusters and levels as the engineer (the single Star Trek nod), jowls shuddering in imitation of Admiral Ackbar (there are in-jokes aplenty, but even non Star Wars fans can appreciate the humour), but where he excels are all the whirling, clicks, beeps and whooshes as the giant apparatus of war slowly moves itself into battle stations.

Well written, tightly staged, and highly physical, Sperm Wars is ribald fun of the finest order and definitely not PG.

Leard is also performing Rumpelstiltskin and Other Tales as part of the Fringe Family Fest at the Metro Studio.
Sperm Wars written/created by Jeff Leard
Random Samples Collective (Victoria BC)
Venue 1, Victoria Event Centre
60 minutes. Adults Only. Extremely Coarse Language, Adult Themes. Solo Comedy.
All seats $11

Remaining shows:
Friday September 4, 2015 – 8:15 PM
Saturday September 5, 2015 – 10:15 PM
Sunday September 6, 2015 – 1:00 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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