Dispatches from the Victoria Fringe 2016. Day Six.

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

Reviews of Does Not Play Well With Others by Moon Dinosaur Theatre, [title of show] by Urban Arts Productions and Effie and the Vampire: A Lesbianistic Musical Melodrama by Dragon Monkey Theatre

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.


  • Remember, 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!
  • Don’t forget to VOTE for your favourite shows and artists in the Pick of the Fringe (but wait until you’ve seen all your shows–you can only vote once). Voting closes on Sunday September 4th at 8pm.  The awards are Sunday September 4th at the Metro Studio Theatre and the doors open at 10pm.

Does Not Play Well With Others by Moon Dinosaur Theatre
Also at the Vancouver Fringe September 8-18, 2016.

Scandal at the network.  A well-loved children’s entertainer is fired after being embroiled in a scurrilous scandal. How will that affect his two puppet pals Oomph (Kira Hall) and Bae (Adam Francis Proulx) and what will their creators do now that they too are under scrutiny?

Timely and topical, Does Not Play Well With Others combines sharp satire, insightful drama and abundant puppet skills in a well-written and tightly performed piece that examines the pressures inherent in the life of creative individuals.

Man and Woman are truly two sides to the coin of creative genius—he, happily encouraged in classes for the gifted while she was diagnosed at an early age with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  Struggling to keep their shit together under the ever watchful eye of the post trauma facilitator hired by the network, the two puppeteers battle it out before aligning themselves in a desperate attempt to keep their jobs.

Does Not Play Well With Others is an ambitious theatrical creation, bringing together performers known for their solo puppet shows (Kira Hall—Paleoncology, Adam Francis Proulx—Baker’s Dozen: 12 Angry Puppets) and employing real-life, real-time puppets as well as extensive video footage (Ryan Couldrey) of their show, with cameo appearances by Mr. Keegleshits (Mike Petersen) as the affable host and a slew of video clips with news footage about the scandal.

Hall and Proulx put paid to the idea “does not play well with others” in this beautiful combination of their talents.

Does Not Play Well With Others
by Moon Dinosaur Theatre,
Toronto, ON
Location: Metro Studio Theatre (Fringe Venue 3)
Created: Adam Francis Proulx and Kira Hal
Tickets: Advance price: Regular $11/St & Sr $9 + s/c* Door price: Regular $11/St & Sr $9
Duration: 55 mins
Rating: PG 14+: Coarse Language/Adult Themes
Genre: Dark Comedy, Puppetry

Remaining shows:
Thu Sept 1 – 6:30pm
Sat Sept 3 – 6:45pm

[title of show] by Urban Arts Productions

A musical about two guys writing a musical? How can that even be?  What’s amazing is that it is and was.  [title of show] is the ultimate musical theatre nerd’s dream—a show about the process of what it takes, from initial creative idea (in this case motivated by an upcoming Musical Theatre Festival) to Broadway run.  And, in the process, to battle with the inevitable changes, edits and inter-personal clashes.

Self-referential without being self-indulgent, firmly birthed in the behind-the-scenes world of Chorus Line or Jitters, yet filled with contemporary worries and references (9:11, Trump, Sutton Foster) this production, by Urban Arts, returns for a second time (2011 Victoria Fringe-Pick of the Fringe for Best Musical) with the same strong local cast (Pat Rundell-Hunter, Liam McDonald-Jeff, Sadie Evans-Susan, Tara Britt-Heidi, Nancy Curry—pianist) known to audiences for performances with Kaleidoscope Theatre and Victoria Operatic Society.

Crisp and funny, [title of show] is the perfect showcase with its catchy numbers and improbable topics (inspiration fuelled by monkey-filled dreams and copies of Playbill?).  Behind every little girl or boy, struggling to master the notes or moves, is the hope of being on that big beautiful stage on the Great White Way.

Love for musical theatre and evident hard work by the Urban Arts ensemble shine in this aspirational story.

Four chairs, four actors, a pianist and 90 minutes—upending the genre forever.

[title of show] by Urban Arts Productions, Victoria BC
Location: Langham Court Theatre (Fringe Venue 5)
Created: Hunter Bell & Jeff Bowen
Tickets: Advance price: All Seats $11 + s/c* Door price: All Seats $11
Duration: 90 mins
Rating: PG 14+: Coarse Language
Genre: Geeky Musical Theatre

Remaining shows:
Wed Aug 31 – 5:00pm
Sat Sep 3 – 2:45pm
Sun Sep 4 – 6:30pm

Effie and the Vampire: A Lesbianistic Musical Melodrama by Dragon Monkey Theatre

Ah for a chance to boo and hiss at the villain, and cheer and clap for the heroine!  In Effie & The Vampire, a Lesbianistic Musical Melodrama, Wendy Merk of Dragon Monkey Theatre has adapted J.R. Planché gothic play The Vampire, written in 1820, to Fort Victoria in the late 1800s.

Lady Rockwell (Janie Woods Morris) insists that her daughter Lady Pandora (Catriona Black) marry Lord Carnsew (Kevin Stinson), the brother of her dear departed friend Lord Ruthven but Pandora has feelings for Effie (Rosemary Jeffery).  The querulous maid Bridget (Gloria Snider) bustles about and confides in rough-and-ready Floozie McSwill (Caroline Mackenzie).

An opening dream sequence filled with terrifying images (projection design Kevin Stinson & Jason King) has Pandora fleeing for her life—the hinted at horror is in clear juxtaposition to the prim and proper household of Lady Rockland, where all is as it should be.  Underneath lurk hidden and dark desires. Will the villain be vanquished? Who will win the day?

Robert Holliston provides accompaniment for a series of melodious musical numbers—The Log Driver’s Waltz, Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage, Let Me Call You Sweetheart, Row The Man Down, All Through the Night, and Wild Irish Rose—that beautifully showcase the singing talents of the group. And Lady Rockland is not above kicking up her heels either while Effie and Pandora dance a sweet waltz that underscores their friendship for one another (choreography Sylvia Hosie and Caroline Mackenzie).

If you loved the evil character Boris from Rocky and Bullwinkle, or cheered for the young woman tied to the railway tracks in a flickering silent film, you’ll want to put Effie & The Vampire on your Fringe list.

A whole bunch of silly fun performed by accomplished local thespians often seen on stages at Langham Court Theatre, Theatre Inconnu and St Luke’s Players, Effie & The Vampire is pure entertainment.

As for lady love in the Victorian era—as hinted at by images before the show began—it was entirely more prevalent than one might imagine.

Effie and the Vampire: A Lesbianistic Musical Melodrama by Dragon Monkey Theatre, Victoria BC
Location: Langham Court Theatre (Fringe Venue 5)
Created: J.R. Planche & Wendy Merk
Tickets: Advance price: Regular $11/ St & Sr $9 + s/c* Door price: Regular $11/ St & Sr $9
Duration: 60 mins
Rating: All Ages: Violence
Genre: Musical Melodrama

Remaining shows:
Sat Sep 3 – 8:45pm
Sun Sep 4 – 2:45pm
Further reading:


About @lacouvee

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  1. […] Timely and topical, Does Not Play Well With Others combines sharp satire, insightful drama and abundant puppet skills in a well-written and tightly performed piece that examines the pressures inherent in the life of creative individuals.  Review link: http://janislacouvee.com/dispatches-from-the-victoria-fringe-2016-day-six/ […]

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