Dispatches from the Victoria Fringe 2017 Day Five

Dispatches from the Victoria Fringe 2017 Day Five

Part of the pleasure of fringing is the ability to see so many different styles in a very short period of time.  My day five included the phenomenal character work of Charles Adrian appearing as Ms Samantha Mann in Stories About Love, Death & A Rabbit, followed by Kevin P Gilday’s  nihilistic and dark spoken word/multi-media meta-theatre Gigantic Lying Mouth, and finishing with improvised drama inspired by war movies from Paper Street Theatre in War: Improv is Hell.

Stories About Love, Death & A Rabbit by Charles Adrian as Ms Samantha Mann

At one time Victoria was awash in maiden aunts like Ms Samantha Mann—genteel, civilized, educated, tied with strong bonds to family and whiling away the days as life slowly passed them by. Some, like Samantha, can pinpoint with exactitude the moment things shifted.

This is extremely clever work, a character everyone can’t help but fall in love with, happily dithering away and absolutely refusing to get to the point—tangential reflections piling up one on top of the other, hinting, always hinting, at missed opportunities and deep emotional wounds.

And then, voilà, now comfortable with the audience, come the revelations of hidden talents and hopes, of daring to take a chance.

Samantha opens up about heartbreak and loss in poetry that is at first abjectly bad, and then, deeply touching, before gingerly daring to share her childhood skill.

At first tentatively, then slowly gaining confidence, as muscle memory returns, she executes a spritely number that had the audience holding its breath in anticipation of a successful conclusion.

Charles Adrian has created a memorable and unique character.

Ms Samantha Mann is simply delightful, anyone would be happy to spend an entertaining and lively hour in her company and would not fail to be moved by her eloquent and expressive storytelling.

My interview with Charles Adrian about Samantha Mann and the show


This show is selling out.  Be prepared to get tickets in advance or stand in line early.

Tales of Love, Death & A Rabbit by Charles Adrian as Ms Samantha Mann
Venue 8, St Andrew’s Kirk Hall, 680 Courtney Street
Duration: 60 minutes. All ages. Character comedy storytelling
Tickets $11/$9

Remaining shows:

Saturday September 2 10:45pm
Sunday September 3 4pm


Gigantic Lying Mouth by Kevin P Gilday

This Glaswegian poet doesn’t take himself too seriously, in a clever and dark meta-theatrical, multi-media show containing set pieces and featuring poems about toxic masculinity, pornography and life’s utter futility.

The poet is dead—victim of a tragic yoga accident.  In a modern reworking of Faust, after selling his soul, he must accede to purgatory through various levels of hell, denied heaven due to overpopulation. A serial liar forced to come to terms with his failings, Gilday is required to puzzle out his many transgressions before being given a pass to move on.

In a cynical twist, even hell has been outsourced; he’s dealing with a disembodied voice rather than confront a devil face-to-face.

The rivalry between his native Glasgow and Edinburgh is highlighted in a terrifically funny reference that perhaps only Scots can truly appreciate—although even Canadians will get the gist.

Gigantic Lying Mouth grapples with big issues and asks some interesting questions—“who does the atheist pray to?” being my personal favourite.

Gilday is an accomplished wordsmith with a flair for the theatrical who isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of spoken word.

My interview: http://janislacouvee.com/gigantic-lying-mouth-kevin-gilday-victoria-fringe-2017-interview/

Gigantic Lying Mouth by Kevin P Gilday
Duration: 60 minutes Adults only, coarse language. Spoken word theatre
Tickets $11/$9

Remaining shows:

Thursday August 31 5pm
Friday September 1 6:45pm
Saturday September 2 1:30pm
Sunday September 3 5:30pm

War: Improv is Hell by Paper Street Theatre

Dave Morris, the founder of Paper Street Theatre, has elevated the art of improvised theatre in Victoria since his early appearances at the Victoria Fringe Festival in 2010 (Dave Morris is an ass****) and 2011 (Photo Booth), founding the company in 2011 to focus on long form improvisation.  Producing work based on authors (Tennessee Williams, Lovecraft, Austen, Atwood), playwrights (Beckett, Mamet, ), film directors (Tarrantino, Hughes) and genres (the western, science fiction, romantic comedy, sit-com) they continue to push the boundaries of the genre, producing improvised theatre so inspired and polished as to appear scripted.  Humour is often a mainstay in their work, but for their 2017 Victoria Fringe offering, they set themselves a formidable challenge—improvising in the style of war movies like Apocalypse Now, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket.

A complement of nine battle-weary improvisers fills the stage, and with no more than a title—Feet First Into Hell—and a premise—breaking out of a POW camp—proceeds to imagine a tense, gritty, realistic drama.

Narrator and anti-hero Scott Thompson, the unit’s green horn, writes to his beloved Margaret, a sense of hopelessness permeating his words.

The platoon debriefs after the escape—alliances and personalities are revealed.  A cynical lieutenant (Dominik Buconjic) depends on his gruff sergeant (Dave Morris) to maintain order, before sending a small group on a suicide mission back into the camp to retrieve the remaining prisoners. Thompson has no choice; accompanied by a medic (Brooke Cameron), the loner (Missie Peters), and two battle-hardened veterans (Nicole Olszewski and Christina Patterson) he sets out, every sense on alert as they slither through forest and swamp—expanding from the stage into the room. Amid the gloom (improvised lighting—Emma Dickerson) crickets thrum; in the distance birds chirp while the ominous whump of mortar fills the air (improvised sound Dan Godlovitch).  A slow-motion gun battle ensues, with casualties on all sides.

Back in camp, the greenie finds himself an unlikely hero, despite being the sole mission survivor.  Cheered on by his comrades-in-arms (Chris Gabel and Byron Kjeldsen) he reflects, in flashback, the awful realization that killing felt good.

Audiences are rewarded with the thorough research of the troupe. War: Improv is Hell is an homage of the highest order, an improv-vérité reflecting the terrible price paid when people go to war.

War: Improv is Hell by Paper Street Theatre
Venue 1, Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad Street
Duration: 50 minutes. PG 14+ Coarse language, violence. Improv, comedy, drama
Tickets $11

Remaining shows:

Wednesday August 30 7:15pm
Thursday August 31 7:15pm
Saturday September 2 3:45pm

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