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Random Thoughts - Thursday July 26th

Reviewed By: Justin Olynyk

July 27 2012

It’s Thursday afternoon and I’ve seen 42 shows so far at this year’s Fringe. (I saw fewer shows this year because a lot of shows seemed to start at the same time which meant more 45 and 60 minute gaps between shows.) Most of the shows I saw were good to very good. However, I don’t think that I will remember any show five years from now. Having said that, I also think I saw fewer duds this year. I also thought the dramas were really strong, while the comedies were hit and miss. Of the shows I saw this year, here are my favourites:

1. Threads: The True Story of an Indiana Farm Girl In Vietnam – The story of an American of Vietnamese descent who teaches in Saigon during the height of the Vietnam War. It’s a beautifully layered story that’s well performed by Tonya Jane Miller.

2. Three-Letter Words – Performance poetry done in rhyme. The poems range from the serious (environmental and political activism) to the fun (Santa Claus and the Elizabethan era). I know it’s a cliché but you’ll will think and laugh at the same time.

3. The Darling Family – A really dark drama about a woman who is wondering what to do with her upcoming child. Megan Andres is stunning in the lead role as a woman who is totally consumed by fear.

4. Danny and the Deep Blue Sea – Two strangers with low self esteem meet in a bar. Another terrific dark comedy from the king of the one act play, John Patrick Shanley.

5. Underbelly – Performance poetry inspired by the life and works of critic/poet William S. Burroughs who traveled across America in the 1950s and 1960. The poems are funny and intelligent and Jayson McDonald delivers another terrific performance.

6. The Seducer’s Diary – A love triangle in which the characters speak their internal thoughts. Stylistically, this play shouldn’t work but does thanks to three wonderful performances and the funny writing of Michael Nathanson.

7. Medicine – Fringe legend TJ Dawe is back with a new show about a spiritual retreat he took a few years ago. Warning, it’s not a comedy. Instead, we get an intelligent drama that suggests what we did as a child impacts us for the rest of our lives.

8. Artichoke Heart – A boy meets girl love story that’s infused with some beautiful poetry and fun music from Tom Keenan.

9. Unenlightened – Like Medicine, Unenlightened is also a story about a person going on a spiritual retreat. Elizabeth Blue does a nice job tailoring the comedy to what her character is feeling.

10. Wings of Darkness – An epic story about how the harmony between animals was broken. This story is well told through masks, costumes and mannerisms and is a warning about going to war under false pretences.

Best of The Fest

The following shows each have one additional performance on Sunday afternoon. The box office is split 50/50 between the performing companies and the Fringe.

Kids Venue

11 am - The Tempest

Venue 1

12:15 pm – Bare

2:45 pm – The Last Man on Earth

Venue 2

12:45 pm – Danny and the Deep Blue Sea

2:45 pm – Teacher in the House

Venue 3

1:15 pm – The Curious Case of the Killer Crossword

3:15 pm – Fishbowl

Venue 4

12:30 pm – Matt & Ben

2:30 pm – The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine

Venue 5

1 pm – The Tracey Fragments

3 pm - Threads: The True Story of an Indiana Farm Girl In Vietnam

Venue 6

12 pm – Almost An Evening

2:15 pm – Illuminati 3:The End of the World

Venue 7

1 pm – Wanted, if not Wed


Venue 8

12:30 pm – Peter n’ Chris & the Mystery of the Hungry Hotel

2:30 pm – Flashback

Venue 9

12 pm – Cabaret

2:30 pm – Fools for Love

Venue 10

1 pm – Vernus Says SURPRISE

3 pm – Bad Girls: Sunny Side Up

Venue 11

12 pm – Lost and Left Behind

2:15 pm – Redheaded Stepchild

Venue 12

12:45 pm – Stretchmarks

2:45 pm – Fubuki Daiko: Godzilla vs. Led Zeppelin


Tickets prices are $10 each. Advance tickets are now on sale at the Manitoba Theatre Centre or

Quote of the Day:

“If we are all destined for something huge, then who is going to clean the toilets.”

From Unenlightened (Venue 2)


That’s it for this blog. Enjoy the last few days of the Winnipeg Fringe Festival (it runs until Sunday) and we’ll see you at the 2013 Fringe.