Are you experiencing Fringe Festival withdrawal?

Do you find that there is just too long of a wait in between Fringe and Undercurrents?

Are you looking for something to do this weekend that doesn’t involve a self-induced turkey coma and/or PSLs?

Well, look no further because the Ottawa Fringe Festival has got your back with an exciting double bill of Fringe favourites being featured this week, October 8th-10th, at Arts Court Theatre.

Quickly establishing itself as the launching pad for new local (both professional and independent) work, the Fringe has taken it upon itself to bring back certain shows for encore performances allowing audiences that final chance to see something that might have sold out its run completely during the Fringe. This also makes a nice fundraiser (I’m assuming) for this organization where it can accumulate some funds off of the box office unlike at the Festival proper. Thus, by attending an event of this sort you are supporting both artist and organization which ultimately comes back (hopefully anyways) to benefit you, the spectator.

Artwork by Daniel Moisan

This year the Ottawa Fringe has invited back local artist and jane-of-all-trades Emily Pearlman as well as touring Fringe superstars Martin Dockery and Vanessa Quesnelle and their respective pieces, I Think My Boyfriend Should Have an Accent and Moonlight After Midnight. The New Ottawa Critics had the pleasure of getting to review both of these shows during their world premieres and, in preparation for attending the shows a second time, we will be sharing both our initial reviews with you here now as well as brand new reviews this Friday.

I reviewed Moonlight After Midnight when it showcased at the 2014 Ottawa Fringe Festival and since then it has toured across North America to primarily rave reviews. Dockery and Quesnelle have become quite the powerhouse team in Ottawa and almost everything they touch sells out fast. Coming off of a successful cross-Canada Fringe tour with their show Inescapable, performed by Dockery with Jon Paterson and directed by Quesnelle, I look forward to seeing these two on stage together again.

You can expect a complex narrative structure that encourages an active sort of spectatorship when watching this piece. I originally described this production as “not a traditional drama with a conventional plot line; the complexity of the story combined with the excellent character work of the two actors allows this performance to engage both the mind and the soul”.  You can read my full review here. This time around, however, I will be reviewing Pearlman’s show and my compatriot Ian Huffam (who originally reviewed Boyfriend…Accent for the NOC) will be reviewing Moonlight, having not seen it previously.

As I said above, Emily Pearlman is a jane-of-all-trades in the theatre world: performer, producer, playwright, dramaturg, and even part-time teacher; if you don’t know who Ms. Pearlman is, you have probably been living under a rock for the last few years. In any case, now is a great time to familiarize yourself with her work as I Think My Boyfriend Should Have an Accent is an introspective journey about romanticizing things and people that are different than you. Huffam points out that this show “asks its questions gently” and though it “may take a while for you to find your own answers for them […] that is exactly the point”.

Boyfriend…Accent is a relatively simple storytelling piece on its surface, supported only by the most minimal of power point projections. However the social and ethnic complexities that it investigates and explores offers up a safe space in which the spectator can reflect on his or her own attitudes towards the concept of the “exotic”. It’s a piece that vocalizes a number of thoughts that one might normally keep internally, hence the play’s secondary title: and other things you shouldn’t say out loud; allowing us to feel some relief about these uncomfortable questions and feelings we sometimes keep contained within ourselves.

You can read the rest of Ian’s review about this “heavy-hitting” show here.

I absolutely recommend checking out both these shows if not to support the artists themselves, but to support the Fringe Festival which is easily the most attended theatre event/festival in Ottawa all year. Not only that but it’s a final opportunity to catch two previously sold out shows that really got people talking. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the conversation.

Showtimes and ticket info can be found here.

Brianna McFarlane



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