Sunday, June 24, 2012

Coming to a Fringe Near You

Coming to a Fringe Near You
Reviews from Montreal

Editor's Note: The Montreal Fringe is one of the earliest in the season and as a result some of the ratings below - for shows which will be appearing at other Fringes across the country - are presented simply as representative of a moment in the life of that production. Fringe shows have a knack for improving as they travel.

by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

I had been told by so many hard-core Fringers that if you have not seen a Jem Rolls show you have not lived. I am actually dissuaded by such hyperbole but this time I was assigned this venue and there was no avoiding the man and his latest work.

Simply, Jem Rolls - a performance poet - offers the kind of production that beggars the vocabulary. It is virtually impossible to do justice to both performer and text. Suffice it to say that ten minutes in I put away my notebook and was like a child - sitting forward in my seat utterly hypnotized as if I was five again and listening to one of my siblings tell me a particularly wondrous tale that I would insist on again and again.

I felt both assaulted and charmed by a fearless performer who pours his words over you - in poems, descriptions, interactions - to a blissful drowning by both poet and spectator. 

I'll stop now. I want to remember.

ZACK ADAMS : A Complete History of Zack Adams
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

Once again a performer at this Fringe had to do battle with his venue and the heat got so bad my glasses were fogging up. I wish I was exaggerating. But Zack Adams - a nerdy beanpole of a guy - just makes you smile to look at and through music (and some pretty amazing - and goofy - dance moves) the story of his career in show biz and his utter charm, he fought through the heat to a packed house's appreciation.  The show is personal, inventive, silly and energetic and now - having seen him at last - I understand why he is a Fringe favourite. Hey! how can you not like a guy whose fetish movie is the old version of Fame and who goes inside it enough to relive Coco's best scene.

by joel fishbane

Most people come to the Fringe with a one-person show, but this is the first time in recent memory that the one-person has been a cello. Cellist / composer Francesca Mountfort lets her instrument do all the talking in this exquisite concert that mixes film, music and abstract expression. 
Mountfort, who hails from Australia, stays completely silent in her china doll make-up: words have no place in this eclectic show that seems perfectly comfortable in letting you walk away with whatever you can. Being the pessimistic sort, I was struck by the sorrow of the music and found the compositions rich with both whimsy and melancholy. Perhaps it was the persistent sound of a ticking clock, but something in the concert left me with a deeper sense of my own mortality.
It’s not your average Fringe show which is all the more reason to check it out. I’ve done my best to describe it, but some pieces simply defy description – and pieces which defy description is pretty much why the Fringe exists. Eidolon, an ancient Greek word for spirit or apparition, lives up to its name. Like a travelling ghost, the show is an ethereal experience that passes through you and leaves something intangible in its wake.

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