Reviews & Previews

Montreal Fringe Festival: Top picks (sight unseen)

Angel Share features Chris Chuipika and Stefanie Buxton. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal Fringe Festival)

Angel Share features Chris Chuipika and Stefanie Buxton. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal Fringe Festival)

Having covered all 22 previous incarnations of the Fringe, I have a good feeling of what rough beasts may appeal. (These do not include dance or French films, as I am not qualified to judge those categories.)

Most shows are about 60 minutes long. Most tickets are $10 plus $2 service charge. Best deal is to buy a six-pack for $55 or a 10-pack for $85. Get the essential 52-page free program at the Beer Tent on St. Laurent at Rachel. The theatre portion of the three-week Fest runs June 14 to 24. montrealfringe.ca, 514-849-FEST.

SIX OF PROVEN QUALITY

TEACHING SHAKESPEARE Keir Cutler vies with Jem Rolls as being the oldest or tallest of the regular Fringe performers. His popular “teaching” series began at the 9th Fringe in 1999 with Teaching Shakespeare and led to Teaching Detroit, Witchcraft, Beethoven and other monologues across Canada, culminating in his 2011duologue

Teaching Hamlet with the amazing Brett Watson.

JEM ROLLS ATTACKS THE SILENCE UK-based Jem Rolls vies with Keir Cutler as being the oldest or tallest of the regular Fringe performers. His motor-mouth delivery of social hypocrisies is a delight each year. Silence, mate, ain’t gotta chance.

Leighland Beckman and DeAnne Smith bring Horrible Things to the Fringe. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal Fringe Festival)

Leighland Beckman and DeAnne Smith bring Horrible Things to the Fringe. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal Fringe Festival)

ANGEL’S SHARE Billed as about “grief, absolution, revelation and Scotch whisky,” this features two of Montreal’s best actors, veteran Chip Chuipka and rising star Stefanie Buxton. Set in Scotland.

CROSS MY HEART Talented local playwrights Alexandria Haber and Ned Cox collaborate again in a screwball romantic comedy with a twist. They have recruited star actors Brett Watson and Paula Costain to play the heartfelt couple.

HORRIBLE THINGS Upstate New York-born (but Montrealer by preference) comedian DeAnne Smith works hard for her money but gives free candy to the audience. Award-winning in Australia and Edinburgh as well as at our Just for Laughs fest, she is joined here by “depraved musician” Leighland Beckman.

THE RENDEZ-VOUS GALANT Kim Marin Haglund has toured the world with Cirque Eloise and Cirque de Soleil. She now appears in her first solo show as a weaver of “jazz, drink, high jinx and circus.” She says she is inspired by Tallulah Bankhead and Dorothy Parker so there are bound to be some grande-dame riffs and biting witticisms.

SIX WITH PROMISING PRESS KITS

AROUND MISS JULIE Theatre luminary Harry Standjofski was hired by five young Concordia theatre grads to write this play with three dynamic female roles. What would misogynist August Strindberg, author of the classic Miss Julie, think of this?

TERMINAL C Kim Nelson, who co starred with Johanna Nutter and other fine actors in “Good People” at the Centaur, here joins Tamara Richards of South Africa in a play about two strangers trapped in an empty room.

VERBAL DIARRHEA Storyteller extraordinaire Gerard Harris, who will be in Zoofest 2013, subtitles this show “Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Bomb at Love.” If you missed him on CBC’s Wiretap, catch him here.

2 FOR TEA From England comes this physical comedy duo, James & Jamesy. Sit in front if you want to be selected to join them onstage and sit in back if you are stage shy. It helps if you bring your own teacup. The craziest tea party since Alice met the Mad Hatter.

Elvis is Water isn't an impersonation but the story of young Elvis. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal Fringe Festival)

Elvis is Water isn’t an impersonation but the story of young Elvis. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal Fringe Festival)

ELVIS IS WATER Those who missed the rollicking one-night Chubby Checker reprise at the Rialto on May 18 with the real Chubby, 72, can still get their rock’n’roll fix with this Elvis musical about the King, who would have been 78 this year. This not an impersonation, but the story of the young Elvis.

URGE FOR GOING What Canadian doesn’t love Joni Mitchell? Carey Anderson, a lanky 12-year-old, masters a multidisciplinary puppet play inspired by Joni’s songs. Set in Saskatoon, this show has been described as a “country musical masterpiece.”

Around Miss Julie stars five young Concordia theatre grads. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal Fringe Festival)

Around Miss Julie stars five young Concordia theatre grads. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal Fringe Festival)

EIGHT OTHER SHOWS WITH INTERESTING TOPICS

SINS OF THE MOTHER Five women cope with intergenerational alcoholism.

BEAT THE PERCENTAGES Mitt Romney runs for office in Canada.

THE LAZARET In 2026, a new virus baffles the medical community.

LOVE IN THE TIME OF TIME MACHINES Sci Fi Best of Fest in Frigid New York.

THE VOICE OF WISDOM Solar Temple suicides in 1994 Quebec.

THE SKY IS EXPLODING On The Spot comedy trouper Rena Hundert is fast paced.

LEVIATHON Toronto Sex-T-Rex is back with a sci-fi fight against an omnipotent A.I.

FOUR FROM AUSTRALIA Zack To The Future; The Birdman; Fire in the Meth Lab; The Misery Factory

 What if Mitt Romney ran for office in Canada? Fringe-goers can find out in Beat the Percentages. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal Fringe Festival)

What if Mitt Romney ran for office in Canada? Fringe-goers can find out in Beat the Percentages. (Photo courtesy of the Montreal Fringe Festival)

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