Dispatches from the Victoria Fringe 2016. Day Five.

Dispatches from the Victoria Fringe 2016. Day Five. Victoria Fringe Festival August 22-September 4, 2016.

Reviews of Get Lost Jem Rolls, I Forgot to Fly Today by DownUnderground (Trent Baumann) and The Child Behind the Eyes by RKP Productions (review of this show will be posted Thursday).

As always, my complete Victoria Fringe Festival 2016 coverage can be found HERE:

Be sure to page through since there are dozens of entries–previews, and picks, as well as reviews. I have written 17 previews of shows I will either most likely not see, or will see too late in the festival to write reviews.  I hope to post reviews daily of shows I’ve seen the day/night before–some days are “show heavy” and it may take a day or two to catch up.  My final reviews will be posted Friday September 2nd.


  • The first few days of Fringe are a wonderful way to “front load” the Fringe experience–the last weekend (Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun) tends to be very busy, and many shows sell-out their advance tickets (although 50% of the tickets are reserved for sales at the venue IF you are prepared to line up well in advance).  If a show you really wanted to see is completely sold out, please–take a chance on a show by an unknown or lesser known artist.  That, to me, is the true joy of the Fringe–the unexpected and pleasant surprises.
  • Don’t forget–you need a Fringe button ($6). One of the guiding principles of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals CAFFTM is that all ticket sales go directly to the artists.  The sale of Fringe buttons helps Intrepid Theatre produce the festival.
  • Don’t be LATE–the show WILL start without you.
  • Embrace the line-up. Get to know your fellow Fringers. Many a friendship has been made as a result of a casual conversation.
  • Don’t be afraid to embrace the weird, wacky and wonderful shows at the Fringe. Pick a show that got a one-star or so-so review. This is what Fringing is all about.  Pick a genre you aren’t very familiar with, and go for it!

Get Lost Jem Rolls, Big Word Performance Poetry

No Victoria Fringe Festival would be complete without a visit by revered and awarded English performance poet Jem Rolls—veteran, after more than a decade, of over 100 Fringe festivals, and, a legend on the circuit.

In Get Lost Jem Rolls, this prince of poetry, master of perambulation and peregrination—metaphysical, metaphorical and poetical—delves deep into the wildest recesses of the Amazonian rainforest, the beaches of Indonesia, and the capacious reaches of his perceptive mind to unfold tale after hapless tale based on true experience.

The premise seems simple—a handful of note cards with brief reminders, given to the audience and then selected at random.  This poet may be a master at teasing out ideas and subduing words in service to his ultimate artistic goal but he (a nomad since 2006) is a clueless traveller—happy to admit to being lost, everywhere he goes—from adventures in the muddy weeds at Wreck Beach, to clinging terrified to his seat in a karooming bus in India.

And as he travels, lost and happy to be so—the philosophical musings pile up in pure distilled nuggets of truth.

“How can I have come so far, and know so little.”

“The human race, don’t you just love it? It is the only possible way to cope with it.”

“There is no point in making plans—things happen when you’re lost.”

Philosophy and poetry meld into a perfect whole in this ultimate road trip narrative by a master of the genre who finds fascination, everywhere he goes.

Performance poet Makes a living solely by shouting Sells nothing No books, CD’s, merchandise of any kind No teaching no broadcasting Nowt Punk rock ideology: no sell out No obeisance to any convention fast, slow dumb, smart light, dark hi-energy ever more physical/ theatrical max variety 60 shows a year in Canada on the summer fringe tour Born 62 Comprehensive peasant Posh university, Bristol Did nothing in 20s except think & be v poor [a lot] Started performing 93 Began big word, weekly poetry cabaret Rather very good, now forgotten Islington Then did Edinburgh, 96-04 Three-act show First successful edfringe poetry cabaret in decades Made money saying Pay As You Like At The End Moved Edin ‘01 Began cabarets & slams Decent shows, v successful, much impact, great fun Tried Toronto Fringe in 01 First toured Canadian fringes in 03 Hour shows Most fun & success ever First ever performance poet on tour Toured there ever since 30+ 5 star reviews 150+ 4 star Went nomadic in 06 No home for 43 months & and counting Write shows over winter, perform over summer Bags of laughs Bloody marvelous How did it all work out so well?

Get Lost Jem Rolls,
Big Word Performance Poetry, England UK
Location: Victoria Event Centre (Fringe Venue 1)
Tickets: Advance price: All Seats $11 + s/c* Door price: All Seats $11
Duration: 60 mins
Rating: PG 14+ Coarse Language
Genre: Comic Poetic Storytelling

Remaining shows:
Wed Aug 31 – 8:30pm
Thu Sept 1 – 6:30pm
Fri Sept 2 – 10:30pm
Sat Sept 3 – 6:30pm
Sun Sept 4 – 4:15pm

I Forgot to Fly Today by DownUnderground (Trent Baumann)
Also at the Vancouver Fringe September 8-18, 2016.

How far he has travelled. Trent Baumann first appeared on the Victoria Fringe scene in 2011 as The Birdmann in a neo-vaudeville act that made kooky look tame, returning to sold-out crowds and acclaim over successive festivals with The Birdmann in Momentous Timing (featuring high heels and strip tease).

In I Forgot to Fly Today he releases his inner Walter Mitty in a flowing, filmic stream of consciousness, reminiscent of movies by Jacques Tati, The Red Balloon by Lamorisse or the work of an early Charlie Chaplin. Gone are the ironing board, the magic teapot and the juggled plastic bags.  This everyman sports a crisp, dazzling cloud-laden suit and wakes every morning striving to leave his comfort zone, with dreams of learning to play the piano, speak Japanese and perform stand-up at the local open mic night.

In a piece overlaid with narration (filled with aphorisms, questions and one-liners) and a sound track, Baumann stacks and moves plastic milk crates to create sets, on occasion balancing them precariously upon his chin.

Breaking the fourth wall, he tosses packets of balloons into the audience—a spirited interlude follows.

An investigation of what is possible when you leave your comfort zone (“it’s not like it’s going anywhere”) I Forgot to Fly Today takes fringy to the next level with polish, panache and playfulness.

I Forgot to Fly Today by DownUnderground (Trent Baumann). Surfers Paradise, Australia
Location: Metro Studio Theatre (Fringe Venue 3)
Tickets: Advance price: All Seats $11 + s/c* Door price: All Seats $11
Duration: 50 mins
Rating: All Ages
Genre: Visual Comedy Theatre

Remaining shows:
Thu Sept 1 – 8:15pm
Fri Sept 2 – 6:45pm

The Child Behind the Eyes  by RKP Productions

On the eve of his first school day, Yotam’s mother Mihel (Nava Sarracino) frets and worries—her son is “different”. In a world where normal is celebrated, her family has felt the wounds of hopes dashed, friendships lost and insults from both neighbours and strangers.

Originally written thirty years ago by Nava Semel, and commissioned by an actress whose own child had Down syndrome, the script has been translated in over ten languages and performed around the world.

Although society has marched on with amazing advancements in the intervening decades, and inclusion is often the order of the day, talk to any parent of a nineteen year old aging out of the social services and educational systems to find out how many supports are really in place. The script is no less relevant today than it was then.

Once a parent, always a parent—fiercely protective of the son who has taught her the depths of love, this mother wonders what life will be like at for him at school, and, inevitably, when she is gone.  Saarracino brings the characters in this family—husband David, older daughter Talia, son Yotam—and the people who love and surround them, vividly to life with compassion and empathy.  The musing nature of the script is deeply rooted in philosophical and theological thought—who is God, what is a soul, how do we love, why?  Life’s deep questions–as seen by a family’s challenges–allow the audience to accompany Mihel as she travels along her road from initial denial, to bargaining, anger and eventual acceptance, while testing this passage against their own life dilemmas.

The Child Behind the Eyes is richly interpreted, intensely personal and deeply emotional—an introspective journey into the life of another that helps to illuminate our own.

The Child Behind the Eyes by RKP Productions, Anchorage AK.
Location: Fairfield Hall (Fringe Venue 6)
Created: Nava Semel
Tickets: Advance price: Regular $11/St & Sr $9 + s/c* Door price: Regular $11/St & Sr $9
Duration: 60 mins
Rating: PG14+
Genre: Dramatic Monologue

Remaining shows:
Sat Sep 3 – 7:15pm
Sun Sep 4 – 1:00pm


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. Vivian Melde says

    I did not find your review for The Child Behind the Eyes.

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