2017 is a big year: not only is it Canada’s sesquicentennial and the Ottawa Fringe Festival’s 20th anniversary- but it will also mark the NOC’s 5th #OttFringe and, gosh, are we excited to be back! Running June 8th-18th, this year’s Fringe Festival will see a brand new line-up, some new venues, and another change to the beer tent location (shout out to Ottawa U, though maybe they’re doin’ us a solid after last year’s construction catastrophe outside of Academic Hall). Undoubtedly this is Ottawa’s hottest and largest theatre event (#thicc) every year, so we’re here to help you wade through the 55+ shows and give you some insight on what’s worth checking out.
Ian Huffam says you should see…
The Comeback Tour, Rhythm and Burgundy (BYOV A – Live! on Elgin)
Kristine Shadid and Allison Harris are each very funny on their own, but when you get them together with a guitar, the results are unstoppably hilarious. I’ve been anxiously awaiting new material from them and I can’t wait to see what they have.
Unbridled Futurism, makesndoes (Venue 1 – Arts Court Theatre)
As half of the duo that brought you Countries Shaped Like Stars and Live from the Belly of a Whale, Nick Di Gaetano knows how to spin beautiful nonsense with toe-tapping acoustic music. I wonder if the “futurism” means we’ll be hearing more synthesized music rather than live, but at any rate Di Gaetano’s onstage playfulness will be a joy to watch all on its own.
AL Connors: DJ Detective, AL Connors (Venue 3 – Studio Léonard-Beaulne)
Any show that picks up on other forms of performance besides the drama and the one-man show is enough to get me interested at Fringe. When the show is a live DJ set delivered by the one and only AL Connors dispensing valuable career advice, I get excited.
Wes Babcock says you won’t wanna miss…
Hootenanny! Smith and Somers (Venue 1: Arts Court Theatre)
I saw this show at the Fringe in 2015, and I loved it. It was absolutely full of technical malfunctions that made the show about the two most inappropriate/inept child entertainers in history all the funnier. Will Somers and Kate Smith have been reworking the show over the last 2 years, performing it most recently at Wildside in Montreal this past winter. So I am excited to see the polish that’s been put on by these talented creators.
Balls: Je suis un vidéoclip, MVMC productions (BYOV G: La Marquise de La Nouvelle Scène- Gilles Dejardins)
This show just sounds profoundly weird, and I have no idea what it’s really going to be about. I’m excited because it is taking place in a small attic at La Nouvelle Scène, with a capacity of 12 patrons. This tells you straight off that the show isn’t about commercial success, but is rather about making something strange and beautiful. I also don’t know much about the creators of the piece, so they are total unknowns to me, which adds to the excitement. [Editor’s note: Please be advised that this venue has limited accessibility and seats 12 audience members. The festival program notes that “Patrons will need to climb a ladder to access the venue”]
House Show, Two Second Push Up (BYOV F: Besserer House)
Another site-specific show, this one occupies an entire house in Sandy Hill. There are a number of companies that I’m familiar with, including the creators of Rideshares and Ropeswings, and Division 161 at OttFringe 2016, who have teamed up to create an immersive theatrical experience. The theatrical instincts of these creators promise to make something that’s at the very least an interesting experience, and has the potential to be truly unique. [Editor’s note: please be advised that this venue also has limited accessibility and seats 20 audience members]
Last but not least, Brie McFarlane is intrigued by…
Ten Little Sinners, Dead Unicorn Ink (Venue 2: Academic Hall)
I loved last year’s Well Isn’t this Super…(Marvellous Man IV: The Return of Marvellous Man) and I’m really gunning for DUI to keep that momentum alive this summer with their new erotic murder mystery. Inspired by literary icon Agatha Christie and starring a knockout cast of Ottawa locals, this NSFW play is sure to be a good time.
The Iliad for Dummies, Table Théâtre (Venue 5: La Nouvelle Scène- Studio B)
I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to the Classics and Greek Mythology so I was immediately pulled in by this title. Also, I get the feeling that Ottawa has only had a little taste of object theatre in the past (Macbeth Muet and Burger King Lear are only two just off the top of my head) so I’m looking forward to what this company will “bring to the table” in this regard. It will be incredibly interesting to see how the artists incorporate everyday objects to convey not only the complexities but the poetics of Homer’s epic, while also deconstructing it completely.
Fish Saw, Rundown Cutehouse & Sachie (Venue 5: La Nouvelle Scène- Studio B)
This show is categorized as “Clown, Drama, Solo, Multimedia”, which might not sound that out of the ordinary until paired with it’s synopsis which describes itself as being “deeply inspired by the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami” in Japan where “through the eyes of a giant talking Fish, a magical encounter of two girls across time and oceans tells the story of an eccentric family and incredible natural disaster”. I realize I’m just providing what’s already in the festival program here, but to be completely honest, from the synopsis alone, I’m drawn in by the potential this show has to be supremely creative and inspiring.
Love and Information, TWA (BYOV B: Studio 311)
The brave folks at Third Wall Academy tackle Caryl Churchill’s newest work. Love it.
God! The One-Man Show, Rich Potter (Venue 3: Studio Leonard Beaulne)
I honestly just want to know what a “Quantum Comedy” is.