Dining out on Fringe 2013

Fringe Outbreak

The London Fringe Festival, this city’s annual smorgasbord of theatre, starts on Thursday, June 6, along with the opening of the always exciting Visual Fringe.

The numbers: nine venues, 45 shows, 350 performance times.

Ack, where to start??!!?

If you’re not busy on Wednesday night (for instance, attending the ReThink London event scheduled at the EXACT SAME TIME at the Wolf Performance Hall), attend the performers’ showcase, which starts at 7 p.m. at the London Convention Centre Theatre. Each theatre company will have a few minutes to introduce their shows, giving you a taste of most of the offerings.

Here are a few of my suggestions to start you off on this year’s buffet, based solely on performers’ previous work:

Keith Brown: Exchange (Venue 2): Magic performed by a talented young man who obviously loves what he does. Suspend your disbelief for a while.

Circle (Venue 3): I’ve loved Bob Brader’s previous two one-man shows. This time, he’s got a partner in crime on stage, and instead of his own stories, a script written by his lovely partner in life, Suzanne Bachner.

The Italian Lesson (Venue 3): The program describes this show as “Operatic Monologue.” Yes, indeed. I don’t like opera either, but I’ve enjoyed every one of Sonja Gustafson’s previous operas presented at the Fringe.

Kenneth Brown (I’m assuming no relation to Keith the magician) is all over Venue 3 with Grumpus Gets Revenge, Anatolia Speaks and Minding Dad. He wrote last year’s Fringe favourite Letters in Wartime; I’m looking forward to seeing more of his work.

Riding Hood (Venue 6): Dance. Yes, indeed. Ashley Morrow and her brilliant company mesmerized me with their last two shows (both of which I saw twice). Go see this.

Iago vs. Hamlet (Venue 6): Last year, Jayson McDonald channelled William S. Burroughs in Underbelly. Can’t wait to see what he does with the Bard, with the help of occasional Stratford performer Harry Edison.

The Greatest Guitarist in the World (venue 8): While I expect that this will be more of a musical revue than a play, based on Colin Godbout’s last Fringe show, I also expect this will be an amazing musical revue, also based on Colin Godbout’s last Fringe show.

A Different Drummer (Site A): Written and performed by Dan Ebbs and Henry David Thoreau… and directed by Theatre in London’s impresario, Peter Janes! [Thanks, Laurie. –ed.]

Eurobeat — Almost Eurovision (Site B): I know nothing about this show. I just love Eurovision.

Happy Days (Site C): Once again, I reveal myself to be a philistine: I don’t get Beckett. But the Passionfool Theatre Company has consistently created captivating productions, and they’ve got a mound of awards to prove it.

The eight-member Theatre in London review team will be posting opening weekend reviews of ALL of the shows over the next few days; these should be very helpful in guiding your Fringing. Look for them on the Fringe website, and in paper form as The Banner on Wednesday; after the festival they’ll be posted here.

And don’t forget to talk to the people you see in pre-show line-ups — hear about a show, make a new friend!