Here, dear readers, is my annual pre-opening 2015 Montreal Fringe picks–sight unseen–for its 25th anniversary. As usual, this list is based upon the English language shows which I am more competent to review than the many excellent French shows.
Regular Fringe all stars over the years have been three tall men: T.J. Dawe, Keir Cutler, and Jem Rolls.
The Inventor of All Things
This year, Jem (6`5) departs from his cavalcade of spoken word musings on multiple hypocrisies to concentrate on one key but under publicized historical figure, Leo Szilard, who helped beat the Nazis in the race for an atomic bomb.
2056: A Dystopian Black Comedy
This year Keir (6`4 ) departs from his record of 22 straight Fringe acting performances but retains his role as writer and director in this futuristic romp.
Felix T.J. (6`3 ) does not seem to be here this year, but a new rising star, Martin Law (6`5) of The Chocolate Moose Theatre company, has written and directed this pastiche, inspired by Commedia dell`arte, of the ups and downs of living with a poltergeist.
To counter balance these three tall men without the assistance of Albee`s Three Tall Women, we have but one petite woman dynamo, but boy, does she play tall, Nadia Verrucci.
In Search of Mrs Pirandello
Besides Nadia, this play`s cast sports the most number of established locals of any show in theFringe, Davide Chiazzese, Michaela Di Cesare (who wrote it ), Chip Chuipka and Mike Payette. Little is known about the great Italian playwright`s wife other than a tiny reference. This play may well turn out to be Five Characters in Search of a Footnote.
A Nightmare for Oberon
Ms. Verrucci also appears in this show , involving Shakespeare`s drowned Ophelia, the fairy Queen Titania and the ever lovable Lady Macbeth all on a girl`s night out. Warning: lotsa drinking involved,
P.E.T. A. may picket this next show, but you’d be nuts to miss it.
Bar Kapra the Squirrel Hunter written by Scapegoat Carnivale`s Joseph Shragge, it features Johanna Nutter (who brought her ‘My Pregnant Brother’ to the Edinburgh Fringe last year) and Howard Rosenstein (who is bringing ‘Kafka`s Ape’ there this year).
From “away” are some promising shows:
AUSTRALIA Jon Bennet-It`s a Rabitt Night !!! After several clever Fringes here in the past and two at last year`s Zoofest, Jon (no H ) returns with a mix of family , estrangement , clever slides and many twists.
ENGLAND James and Jamesy in the Dark . This popular duo returns to Montreal with zany physical comedy and audience participation. Following last year`s crowd pleasing ‘2 for Tea’, they also have a second show, which is High Tea wherein they accidentally drown the world in Tea. Bring your own crumpets.
ISRAEL Gimpel the Fool Nobel winner Isaac Singer`s Yiddish tale (translated into English by Nobel winner Saul Bellow) adds rich Klezzmer music to relate Gimpel`s foolish belief in human goodness.
SASKATCHEWAN DISPLACED interweaves the stories of three immigrant women to Canada; Mary from the Irish famine of 1847, Sofia from post war Germany in 1947 and Sara from Afghanistan in 2007. Movement, text and music. 85 minutes,
VANCOUVER Peter N` Chris:Here lies Chris. They just won the Just For Laughs award at the recent Montreal Sketchfest.
Finally, some others, mostly musical, worth a gander include:
Captain Aurora: A superhero musical
Happy-What you need to be
Shirley Gnome: Real Mature
Sex, drogues et Kurt Weill