The 2008 Toronto Fringe in Review

by Megan Mooney (Cross-posted with blogTO)



I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself this week, I’ll have to re-learn what life is like with the luxuries like sleep. But, I’m here to tell you, sleep is a small price to pay for the excitement of Fringe.

With the end of the 20th Toronto Fringe Festival I thought I’d take a moment to provide you with a quick round-up of some of the highlights from this year.

Read on for a listing of each blogTO Fringe writer’s favourite show, and the listing of what shows are playing at Diesel Playhouse during ‘BEST OF THE FRINGE.’

(and yes, at some point I do intend to do a Mooney on Theatre overview that is specific to here, but for now I’m re-posting this)

BlogTO picks

Each blogTO Fringe writer was asked to provide the name of the show that, out of all the shows they saw, they enjoyed the most. Here are their answers:

Graeme StewartThe Christian Republican Fundraiser in Dayton Tennessee
Combining music, satire and a nifty concept, this high energy show perfectly captures the irreverant spirit of the Fringe. (Graeme’s review)

Megan Mooney Stand Up Monkey Poet
This was, without a doubt, my favourite of all the shows I saw. Funny, raw, relevant, made me laugh and made me think, it was great. (Megan’s review)

Robin SharpDogs Barking
I think you’re always fondest of personal Fringe discoveries; something you took a chance on that turned out to be incredible. "Dogs Barking" is a bad name for a play, but the show was nonetheless spellbinding. It had a perfect mix of humour, sorrow and devastation. No gimmicks, just four talented actors and an extremely solid script. (Robin’s review)

Roger Cullman A Brief History of Petty Crime by Jimmy Hogg
It stands out in my mind now, several days after seeing it. Kinda rare in shows these days. (Roger’s review)

Tatiana KachiraViva Vivi! 
Sparkling with originality and creativity, this brilliant show manages to be delightfully entertaining with only two actors and minimal props – just the sort of thing the Fringe is supposed to be all about. (Tatiana’s review)


BEST OF THE FRINGE at Diesel Playhouse

Maybe there was a Fringe show you wanted to see, but couldn’t because of timing. Maybe that show is on at the BEST OF THE FRINGE at Diesel Playhouse, my fingers are crossed for you. The shows are:

 Wake – July 16 to 18, 2008

Lupe: Undone – July 16 to 19, 2008

The Swearing Jar – July 18 to 20, 2008 The Swearing Jar – July 18 to 20, 2008 The Swearing Jar – July 18 to 20, 2008 The Swearing Jar – July 18 to 20, 2008 Nursery School Musical – July 20, 2008

Gameshow: The Musical – July 20 to 27, 2008

One Woman Show – July 23 to 26, 2008

The Christian Republican Fundraiser in Dayton Tennessee – July 23 to 27, 2008

About an Hour – July 25 to 26, 2008

One more show

Another show doing an extended run is Domestic. It will be in the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, July 15 to 27, 2008. Robin got a chance to see this on it’s last day – here’s what he had to say:

Domestic (reviewed by Robin Sharp)

Watching Domestic is like eating the frosting and leaving the cake behind.

Carly Heffernan stars as Betty, a perky 1950’s housewife, who arrives home one day to find her whole life torn apart. Her husband is face down in a pool of blood, God keeps calling on the phone to berate her, and every couple minutes an undead encyclopedia salesman comes knocking at her door.

Once the absurdist u-turns have lost their zing you’re left wondering…what’s this play about? Sure, it touches on concepts like consumerism and religion, but it’s all too abstract. I couldn’t figure out what Joel Babcock was trying to say.

As a fellow who craves storytelling over style, ‘Domestic’ left me sort of empty. A snack instead of a meal.

Domestic is playing an extended run at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. For more info see the Theatre Passe Muraille website.


And finally…

A great big huge THANK YOU to all the volunteers and folks who tipped the Fringe on the way into shows! Without you guys, there could be no Fringe. That would make me sad. So, thank you for making me happy.