London Fringe Theatre Festival Reviews

All of the productions and events in the 2019 London Fringe Theatre Festival are listed below. To see reviews or post your own, click or tap the title or the arrow beside it.

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Please note: at the moment, star ratings are a feature that can only be set by reviewers.

(Sex) Cult: A Musical (S)explosion (3 reviews)
  1. Do you remember what it’s like to be at summer camp, sitting around a bonfire while your counsellors play the guitar and sing to you. This show is like that, except your counsellors are really good musicians and the songs they play are incredibly sexual.

    (Sex) Cult: A Musical (S)explosion is a cleverly written piece about an absolutely wild concept. The backdrop of hypersexuality and nilhilism actually fits incredibly well with the simple style of the music played throughout the show. And, beyond that, the show is funny. Actually really funny. The storytelling is definitely the most lacking part in the show, but that feels really okay, because there are other, far more interesting things going on constantly. When you don’t think about it, you enjoy this show the most. You’re not analyzing if everything is logical or intelligently written, you’re just having a good time. And I think that is what (Sex) Cult is meant to be. A somewhat mindless way to enjoy yourself for an hour.

    If you’re not concerned with an incredibly genius and well written narrative and you want to see something funny, stupid, and straight up fun, then (Sex) Cult: A Musical (S)explosion almost certainly something you’ll enjoy.

    ****

  2. These extremely talented musicians have created a fabulous collection of witty and edgy tunes. Don’t blow your chance to come to this play!

  3. I’m not going to leave a full review, as the two here pretty much cover my thoughts. I just want to get this on the record so I can say “I told you so”: I want to see (Sex) Cult turned into a full-length production. It’s got the bones to be the next Drowsy Chaperone, or at the very least the next Bat Boy or Saucy Jack.

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2 Sherlock Holmes Adventures (1 review)
  1. The game is indeed afoot! And in the hands of two masters, John Huston and Kenneth Brown, these two stories – favourites both of fans and of Conan Doyle himself – take on a delightful, three-dimensional life. The two men fluidly change mannerisms and accents (“Welsh??!!?”) to play multiple characters, and as quick as the drop of a literal hat. The famous deerstalker cap is used to indicate which actor is playing Sherlock Holmes, but by the start of the second story, they trust us to keep track of Holmes without his hat. The acting is brilliant; the speed is breakneck. It may feel like the shortest hour of your life.

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2019 SHOWCASE (2 reviews)
  1. For those who couldn’t get tickets to the sold-out showcase, here’s what went down (via Joe Belanger at the Free Press):

    London Fringe and the Palace Theatre were married on stage by God (comedian Mike Delamont) symbolizing a planned “unification” of the two organizations.

    “What it is is a game changer,” said Kathy Navackas, producer of London Fringe, noting the process is under way but not complete.

    “This will allow year-round programming, shows and education for all ages and we’ll be able to better serve the artists in this community. It will allow for cross pollination with other groups. And, financially, it allows us to use and share our resources differently. We will both be so much stronger. The better way for arts organizations is working together.”

    Palace Theatre manager Colin Foster said unification brings “wonderful energy.”

    “Our missions and values blend so well,” said [Foster], adding the process should be complete in the fall.

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80s Kids Will Understand (3 reviews)
  1. Ah, the 1980’s – a time everyone will remember! But wait…do we really remember what the 1980’s were really like? Laugh along with this pair of comedians who reveal the down and dirty side to Polkaroo, the sad bus accident and the absolute truth about WWF wrestling.

    This production hails from Midland with London Fringe being their first Fringe show. Although a times a tad choppy going from sketch to sketch, the comedians are clearly a talented crew. The audience clearly loved the interaction despite some awkward moments.

    To sum up, come for the memories, stay for the swag, but be blown away by the Bladerunner Garfield skit. It is wonderful.

    ****

  2. I can’t say this is the best comedy at Fringe but I can easily say that Bladerunner/Garfield skit is the funniest thing I’ve seen all year.
    As an Eighties kid myself this was a great throwback to my youth. Everything from the shredded porno fairey, to copyright infringement, this play has it all.

    *****

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A Menagerie of Bones (10 reviews)
  1. I loved this. Great storytelling and because it’s true it is a sad story but needs to be told.

  2. A truly genuine, heartfelt recollection of a harsh childhood. Incredible to experience and told in a way that juxtaposes the joy of escapism with the uncomfortable realism of a harsh childhood flawlessly.

  3. This is a play about a dysfunctional family, based on true events. Told from the perspective of a child, the themes of abuse and escapism will likely ring true to many audience members. The concept of this play has a lot of merit, exploring the helplessness of a child stuck in an abusive household. The story is creatively told using a child’s toy box, including dolls made of yarn and tiny sets made of cardboard and paint. Kim Stark, the star and creator of the story proves to be a resilient performer, revealing after the play that she was nursing a broken leg. Her authenticity comes across with every word, and it clear that this story is very important to her. However, the poetic style of the show’s writing becomes very repetitive very quickly, and does not clearly tie into any of the themes of the play. Furthermore, there is a noticeable disconnect between the main story and the circus story which it frames. Rather than creating a contrast with Kim’s dark reality, the circus plot line becomes a disinteresting slog. In the end, the play felt like less of a play and more of a haphazard list of traumatic events and childhood imagination. Overall, an incredibly valuable and personal play about an individual’s trauma unfortunately falls just short of the level of quality which the topic deserves.
    2.5/5

    **

  4. Very well expressed story about survival in a dysfunctional family. Well done and the emotions expressed can be felt very well by the audience. A play that you will carry home and will make you think about your own upbringing and childhood adjustment to circumstances. Best play at the fringe this year in my opinion!

  5. In Menagerie of Bones we are given a glimpse into one day in the life of a young girl, her two siblings, her deeply abusive father and her emotionally struggling mother.

    To cope with the verbal and physical violence in her house, Kim Stark as a child creates The Land Of Small – an imaginary world she builds out of things that are thrown away or considered useless. These things are similar to the way she feels in her house, an afterthought, not relevant, disowned.

    The play weaves back and forth between a traumatic day in Kim’s childhood to her time in her imaginary world where her siblings are allowed to watch but not speak.

    In the Land of Small four children escape from an abusive orphanage and are recruited into a travelling circus lead by a kindly Circus Master and a nurturing bearded lady. Here the children find a place amongst the misfits. A home that is safe and happy.

    In the play Kim has created a magical miniature world with colourful cardboard Circus tents and trapeze wires. There are handmade figures that come to life as trapeze artists and side show creatures.

    The contrast between the painful reality of her childhood and her imaginary world are powerful and poignant. It shows that creativity and imagination can grow and flourish, even within the walls of violence and abuse. Kim has beautifully demonstrated that this imaginary world was her and her siblings’ safe place. A place that was their true home in a world that had failed them.
    Menagerie of Bones is a must in this years London Fringe Festival.

  6. I went into a Menagerie of Bones already knowing, more or less, what I was about to experience, and it still shattered me. There are stories you can never get out of your head, and this is one of those. Kim Stark talks about survival, and why escapism is sometimes necessary, in a way that is both poetic and brutally honest. This show will not coddle you. It doesn’t care about your feeling. It is just telling the truth, and overall, I think it is painful,but neccessary. I also think it’s the best thing Kim has ever written, which is, if you know her, high praise indeed.

  7. Brava! Excellent show tonight, Kim! I enjoyed how it flowed between reality and fantasy. And I thought how you portrayed reality was really brilliant. We got it, but there was a buffer and we didn’t get lost in it. Especially in a small intimate theatre. Really effective. And your performance was excellent as well. Focussed and clear. You can be very proud of your show.

    Congratulations!

  8. Menagerie of Bones was not enjoyable to experience. Themes of abuse, escape, alcoholism and fear are the foundations of the play, yet there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is ever he left but of knowing that the protagonist and her children do not grow to be burdened by the entire weight of that past. The play had a sense of the immediate, the moment.
    The two main concepts: the world of abuse and the World of Small we’re successfully separated by tone of voice and (perhaps too) subtle lighting.
    A choice may have been to change the pacing of text between the worlds to differentiate them.
    The play, overall, was a good example of a Fringe production and shines a light on a serious but important subject.

  9. Kim Stark gives an incredible performance in Menagerie of Bones. Every moment is filled with the intense emotions of a child in an impossible situation. You will find yourself holding your breath with her in one moment, and smiling with joy in the next. The juxtaposition of the world of her reality and the world of her imagination highlights the weight of responsibility she feels as a sister and a daughter and the struggle to remain true to herself in the midst of it all.

    You will be hard pressed to leave the theatre with eyes dry but you will be better for it.

  10. Kim: No one had to tell you to “break a leg” before each compelling performance of A Menagerie of Bones!
    You already had – in the midst of a frigid, icy winter, mere months before the Fringe.

    And just as you triumphed over adversity through your childhood, so too you persevered through this added injury to this tale of perverse insult, and gamely carried on, finding ways to cope and rise above the pain.

    I largely knew what to expect in your retelling and enacting of living through a childhood with abusive parents forever catapulting themselves past all edges of sanity and reason. Parental instincts, or hints of kindness were no where to be found.

    We have compared notes of our twisted “dysfunctional” upbringings over many mochas and cups of coffee at our neighbourhood cafe.
    And still I found your performance, astonishing and of-course profoundly saddening. It is a moving, and simultaneously matter-of-fact sounding accounting of having to grow up too fast as an eight year old child, protecting your self and your younger siblings from this madness. Your antidote to this horror, in using your considerable imagination to create The Land of Small is uplifting.
    You have obviously continued to cultivate this creativity and imagination in the life you live today.
    Bravo.

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A One Night Stand with Mike Delamont
A Solo from the Pit (4 reviews)
  1. IF A TROMBONE HAD A PERSONALITY…

    it would be Elias Faingersh from Malmo, Sweden.

    He will be performing this show only until Wednesday, so don’t miss it.

    Yes, it’s about what life is like in the orchestra pit, playing at one of the biggest opera venues in the world in NYC.

    It’s about a life dedicated to learning to play an instrument then finding out 500 people in the world have the same facility as you do and are all vying for the same chair in the orchestra. That you realize you don’t want, even if it could be yours.

    What happens next?

    The creativity that emerges when the trombone becomes a vehicle for self-expression is astonishing. Can the trombone evolve from just an instrument that can play recognizable tunes to become a character in an opera? A sound effects generator? An entire one-man band? Is there anything musically and dramatically that this performer can’t do with a trombone? He has performed his shows all over the world and we are fortunate indeed to have the opportunity to see him in London. Don’t miss it! Only playing until Wednesday.

  2. Opera and trombones. Hmmm… I understand your trepidation, and I like trombones (the nicer cousin of those “brassholes,” the trumpets).

    Elias Faingersh comes with outstanding musical credentials: Malmo University in his native Sweden, as well as Julliard, Yale, and the Manhattan School of Music. So while it’s an impressive accomplishment to become part of the orchestra at the Metropolitan Opera, it’s obvious he has the talent. But does he have the temperament?

    Elias shares his personal history, while giving us an insider’s look behind the music stands. Along with his amazing musical performance, he reinterprets some of those operas for us. I’ve never seen such an evocative use of a spit valve. His show is insightful, introspective, and often very funny. (And a warning – sometimes rather loud.)

    If you see only one trombone-based show in this year’s London Fringe, make it A Solo from the Pit.

  3. This show IS AMAZING. Not only is he a great storyteller, the man is a world class musician!

    Tis show was the first one I’ve given a standing ovation at in over a year.

    Final show is Wed, so fit this trombone into your schedule before it’s gone!

    *****

  4. I never knew you could do so many things musically with a trombone. Elias Fiangersh is a virtuoso trombone player and an excellent funny story teller. He tells the story of his days working in the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and in the process, skews a number of well known operas. Interspersed in the story he plays a number of jazzy trombone musical pieces. I know – hard to imagine but beautiful to listen to and its fascinating to see how he creates his music tracks. He digitally records a piece of music in front of you, saves it, puts it into a loop, and then repeats the process until you get a multi layered song which he adds his vocals to at the end.

    This show should definitely be on your list of shows to see at this years Fringe Festival.

    One warning – some people may find the music be quite loud at times ( it is a trombone after all playing in a small theatre) but its not deafening. It didn’t bother me.

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A Woman’s Guide To Peeing Outside (2 reviews)
  1. Holly Brinkman is an engaging storyteller who will keep you laughing at her anecdotes about growing up with a vulva! Peeing outside presents its challenges to women and Holly has all of the solutions to life’s little inconveniences. I’d love to have her as a pee buddy in any situation. Go and see her! You won’t be disappointed.

  2. A Woman’s Guide To Peeing Outside is less of a manual, instruction book, or self help seminar and much more of a compilation of Brinkman’s experience of urination told through awkward anecdotes and uncomfortable pee jokes.

    The show definitely fulfills what you are most likely expecting, with something more. It talks about love, loss, home, following your dreams, and yes, a lot of pee. But I think the claim of “You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll try not to pee your pants” is a bit of a stretch for this show. The comedy isn’t so much in the form of jokes, but rather saying rather regular things in a funny voice while making a weird face. Albeit, there are definitely some rather big laughs to be had throughout the routine. However, I think the most engaging part of the show is learning about Brinkman’s life growing up in a small town, falling in and out of love, and trying to make it big in the world. If anything, the pee jokes are merely there to assist this aspect of the performance and give the audience something to hold onto and remind them that it’s okay to smile through some of the more difficult moments.

    This show will take you on a ride of different emotions and energy levels, just as long as you’re okay with a few moments that are more uncomfortable than funny, or low than all out engaging.

    ***

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ABEYANCE (2 reviews)
  1. Interviews can be nerve-wracking and for the character in this performance it is no different. Sometimes your attempts to stay calm lead to calamitous circumstances and a lot of laughter. From hilarious dream sequences to dastardly pigeons determined to ruin your resume, you will be drawn in quickly to the storyline. Abeyance has virtually no spoken word but through the theatrical skills of the performer, you understand exactly what is going on. Tyler West takes his audiences on an odyssey of sounds and laughs that no serious Fringer should miss this year. Make sure sure you catch this show at Procunier Hall.

    *****

  2. This is a great story done in the spirit of Mr. Bean. It shows the tension we all feel and how time before a job interview changes all perspective. Mr. West takes people out of the audience to participate in his story. A great story that is easy to enjoy. I hope Mr. West returns to Fringe next year.

    *****

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An All New God Is A Scottish Drag Queen (1 review)
  1. Mike Delamont makes a triumphant return to London playing the Lord of all Creation. It left me wondering why God, who could appear as anything, would choose to appear as a man dressed like a woman.

    He starts with a sing-along with the audience. As usual, always funny. This would not be appropriate for children, that’s about the only thing I can say against it. He talks a little bit about London and Fringe Festival and apologizes for some of the mistakes that God has made. A very polished performance overall.

    While it’s not a particularly deep story, he never said it would be. If you want to laugh for an hour check this play out.

    *****

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At Home, On Stage (2 reviews)
  1. Keith Brown is back with another magic show full of his trademark charm and stories. The twist this time is that he’s letting the audience choose their own adventure as the show progresses.

    It’s a fun hour that flies by quickly – worth checking out!

    ****

  2. Keith Brown…our London magician. I’ve been watching him perform for many years now and he never ceases to amaze me. I thought I might have figured out something that reveals how he is able to win over the audience and then completely fool them with his fantastic tricks. He appears to swallow 10 sharp sewing needles. Of course, he doesn’t really swallow them, except for that one time when he needed to have one surgically removed because it had perforated his stomach. So maybe he does swallow them? Choose to believe in the fantasy!

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BLIND TO HAPPINESS (2 reviews)
  1. My first “must see” of this year’s Fringe.
    When you look at someone you think you know, what do you see? Many of us do a great job of masking our hopes, heartaches, & dreams.
    The play is well-written: clever, wry, & heartfelt. Ottawa’s Tim C. Murphy- the playwright & star- has simply nailed it. One of the best performances I’ve seen in many years of Fringe- watching.

  2. A quintessentially Canadian drama/comedy that covers a wide variety of heavy topics, ranging from isolation, mental health, addiction, and the meaning of happiness. The play is centered on a set of employees at a bar, and is told from multiple perspectives. Tim C. Murphy embodies all of the roles he plays, and his ability to switch between these characters is very impressive. While the themes of the show may seem dark, the end product is incredibly heartfelt, warm, and carries a positive and valuable lesson. A keen sense of humour elevates this from the depths of melancholic emotions which fill each character. All of the jokes land well, and are saved from feeling repetitive by Murphy’s great performance as a range of characters. Small details such as a hat, an apron, and dialect result in every character feeling completely unique, revealing their personal perspective, despite the fact that they’re all portrayed by one man. This play also features one of the most creative uses of a fourth wall break, flawlessly pulling the audience into the play without singling anyone out or sacrificing believability. A lovely show with an important message, masterfully crafted and perfect for a Canadian Fringe audience.
    4.5/5

    ****

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Carey-OK! : Timeless Timely Tunes (3 reviews)
  1. You’ve heard of a one man band, but how about a one man instrument? Carey says it best himself in his opening song, he’s like Jack Black plus Reggie Watts plus Prince. In my opinion, Carey-OK! Is like if Bo Burnham was your cool high school teacher. This is a hilarious variety show with original music and personal stories in between. The show features five songs, each of which is entirely composed on stage by Carey with a microphone and a looper. The production style alone is amazing to see. Carey creates one instrument at a time with his voice and layers them on top of one another all while doing aggressively silly dances and singing. His high energy and goofiness is very contagious, and every song he performs is a funny, catchy ear worm. And still, underneath the performance style’s silly surface, is a genuine and insightful message. Each song in the show escalates beautifully and adds up to a very heartfelt message in the end. It is genuinely inspiring to see something so unique and creative unfold on stage. A high energy show with a very talented performer is perfect for all ages. Easily one of the best shows at the Spriet Family Theatre this year.
    5/5

    *****

  2. This show is outstanding. I took my Grade 10 and Grade 8 daughters and we all absolutely loved it. The songs are resonant to the times we live in and inspiring. The performer is a tour de force. I highly recommend Carey-Ok!

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Danger Zone
Denial Is A Wonderful Thing (2 reviews)
  1. Denial is a Wonderful Thing is a minimal, nonlinear, one woman show performed by Christina Augello. Through an autobiographical tone, Augello recounts her brief international adventures with an Australian lover, and frames this event with tales about growing up in the 60s and 70s. For a story which jumps around in the timeline it is masterfully written, transitioning between timeframes and life events naturally while maintaining the tension of each event with ease. Jumping back and forth the script never fails to keep the audience on the edge of their seats, wondering what could possibly happen next. There is a great use of musical cues and lighting to contribute to an old timey atmosphere throughout, as well as help develop recurring themes. Where this show falls short however, is in Augello’s performance and delivery. While the events of the story are extremely personal, and should be filled with passion, Augello’s energy mostly comes across as hammy and over rehearsed. I can’t help but feel that Augello wasn’t really telling a life story, but rather dispassionately reading from an otherwise well written script. As shes the only one on stage, her performance ends up hindering a fascinating life story.
    3 /5

    ***

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DUEL LOVE (5 reviews)
  1. Duel Love is a comedy set in medieval London about a king and a knight competing for the love of a princess. The play is effectively a parody of other dark age stories and features lots of meta humour and of course a healthy amount of references to Monty Python. The fourth wall breaking, self aware humour plays extremely well in a small venue such as the Spriet Family Theatre as it contributes to an intimate experience between the actors and the audience. Though the humour is ridiculous, most of the jokes land well thanks to the performers and stage crew’s timing and on stage chemistry. The only jokes that don’t land are because of being dragged out for too long or because they are directly taken from Monty Python. The stand out actors are easily the princess and the king’s servant, who steal the show both narratively and with their great performances. If you’re the kind of audience member who is anxious about being called on or pulled up on stage, this may not be the play for you. But if you love meta, fourth wall breaking humour that encourages the audience to participate, Duel Love is a must see this year at Spriet.
    3.5/5

    ****

  2. Duel Love is comedy that pokes fun at days gone by and removes the censorship and filter from some current day controversy! I loved the audience interaction and ‘gifts’ to remember this show by and a dark reminder of NO Joe – no show. 🙂 Loved it and would recommend

  3. The play from start to finish was HILARIOUS!!!! A parody, farce, you name it!!! I laughed the entire show!!! BRILLIANT!!!

  4. Duel love was beyond hilarious, it was such a great play. It was so captivating that the hour seemed to go by in minutes. I was very impressed by what a great job the actors and actresses did.
    Definitely a must see.

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Edgar Allan (4 reviews)
  1. A clear contender for best of Fringe, “Edgar Allan” is a “manic lullabye inspired by the childhood and short stories of Edgar Allan Poe.” At times disorienting, always engaging and entertaining, the play focuses on the 11 year old Edgar Allan’s first year at a prestigious boarding school. He is consumed by a dark sort of ambition– the type that demands not only that he prevail but that his rivals be vanquished. After a series of successes, he meets his most dangerous rival: a boy named Edgar Allan. Is he real or another aspect of the protagonist? We don’t know but the rivalry is real and its course tragic. But the darkness is regularly illuminated by Edgar’s beautiful, melancholic songs. “Why is the night so dark? Why are the stars so far?” It is indeed a world in which “everything fun is a little bit dangerous, and everything dangerous is a little bit fun.” And exhilarating.

  2. This is a great show- well constructed, true professional performers creating an intriguing story. I left caring what happened next..the original music performed through out is excellent, I do like ukelele! Quirky, fringy- we stayed mesmerized with this show.. talking about it down the hallway and stairwell with the other audience members.

  3. Created by and starring Katie Hartman and Nick Ryan of The Coldharts, Edgar Allan is a deliciously dark, funny, and beautiful love letter to American gothic legend Edgar Allan Poe. Inspired by Poe’s short stories, poems, and personal life, Edgar Allan perfectly brings to life the creepy and surreal atmosphere of Poe’s work. The play follows a young prodigy named Edgar Allan, who is furious and devastated when another young genius also named Edgar Allan joins his class. As the boys battle for domination, the many layers of their delightfully freaky personalities come to the surface. The show’s music is simple yet extremely effective, featuring only two instruments throughout, one for each lead. These songs alone are worth several repeat listens, as they expertly weave together moody themes and character development. The set and blocking is well constructed, not only for the sake of audience viewing but also as a reference to Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado.” Furthermore, the colours and lighting are often used to give the audience insight into the minds of the Edgars, reminiscent of some of Poe’s more cerebral fiction. Props are also effectively used by the leads, creating humour and contrast between both characters. Every detail of the show is creatively crafted to evoke humour, horror, and wonder, and all of it works. A fantastic show by an incredibly talented team. I highly recommend any theatre fan to see Edgar Allen at Fringe this year, especially if you’re also a fan of literature and gothic horror. I look forward to seeing it again this week!
    5/5

    *****

  4. I’ll add my vote with the other reviewers that this is a fantastic show. Definitely a contender for the Best of the Fringe Award. Make an effort to see this show. You won’t be disappointed.

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Eye Candy (2 reviews)
  1. Eye Candy is a fun show pretty much about exactly what it says it’s about: pregnancy, but with a fringe twist (or 2).

    It’s really well done, with the right amount of funny bits mixed in with other story elements. The baby appears onstage in a couple different ways. Some really interesting technical aspects give the show a modern feel.

    Stephanie is a master storyteller and she’s got great content to work with. This is another one of her shows worth seeing!

    *****

  2. Another great show from Stephanie! As a veteran of other show created by her and her partner Ingrid, it is interesting to have watched Stephanie grown in her productions. Her bravery in the last minute twist was incredible! Make sure you see this (and her little one too)!

    *****

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F---boys The Musical (1 review)
  1. This is a hard play to describe. It’s the story of four girlfriends, with very different personalities, who meet every week at their favourite bar for Wednesday Karaoke. Every now and again they will break the fourth wall and talk about Fuck Boys, how to recognize them, how to avoid them, and especially what is wrong with them. In addition, it also appears to be a self-aware comedy with lines like, “Being in this musical is helping me deal with the break up.”

    This was my favourite play of the night and despite its name, it’s not 90 minutes of man-bashing. It talks about how hard breakups can be and why it’s difficult to move on after one, all the while giving us lots of laughs. It does end on a positive note showing that even the darkest night ends, not as quickly as we’d like, but they do end.

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Game of Crohn’s (1 review)
  1. Imagine if your life was dominated with an illness that no one wants to talk about. Game of Crohn’s gently introduces this topic with sweetness and honesty. You follow this character as he gets his diagnosis, goes through ongoing medical issues all while enduring all the pressures of becoming an adult. Crohn’s can be life dominating but with the light comedic touches in this performance you cannot help but fall in love with the character of this story and sympathize with his plight.
    The lighting and sound techniques were excellent and fit the story well. The plotline kept the audience entranced. A nice light show for everyone that teaches as well as entertains!

    ****

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Heroes (2 reviews)
  1. Generally, when we think of heroes, we think of lycra clad super humans. This trio of Heroes shows us that heroism can come in many forms despite tenuous grips on lucidity. Despite the often silliness of it all, you grow to love these characters and wish that their acts of heroism could actually bear fruit.

    A very strong dramatic, comedic performance from this fine group from Minneapolis who has also graced previous Fringe stages with excellent productions. It was an absolute pleasure to see strong, mature actors in what is traditionally a younger arts domain. If you are a previous Fringer and enjoyed “Underneath the Lintel” this is the same calibre of production.

    A do not miss show.

    *****

  2. We were intrigued by their performers showcase piece and decided to see the show on Monday. We were not disappointed – the performance impacts you on many levels. When they look off over the crowd describing what they see, you feel like you are right there with them. This is a must see production.

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Ingenue: Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland and the Golden Age of Hollywood (7 reviews)
  1. Ingenue, is a wonderful solo performance by Melanie Gall, following the story of Canadian actress Deanna Durban, how she became a star, her friendship/rivalry with Judy Garland, love affairs and the Golden Age of Hollywood.

    Although more famous than Judy Garland in the 30s, Deanna Durban has become somewhat of a forgotten star. I am however, very pleased to have learnt about her story, extraordinary talents and influence on the likes of Roosevelt and Churchill.

    Gall is extremely talented with an outstanding voice that delivers in each song. You’ll get a great combination of history and charm in this musical euphoria!

  2. Really loved this show…as a one women show…I felt like I was truly in the life journey of every character…so well done and talented.

  3. Until I saw this show I had not heard of Deanna Durbin despite the fact she was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood in the 30’s and 40’s. Melanie Gall does a remarkable job in telling her story and singing a number of songs from that period. I loved the show and only wished it was longer – the hour just flew by. Definitely worth seeing.

  4. The beauty and power of Melanie Gall’s voice brought me to tears. I sat in awe as I watched this amazing and passionate performance. This is a talent not to be missed.

  5. Tonight’s performance (Monday) left me in awe! Not only is her voice beautiful, Melanie’s telling of the story of Deanna Durbin is compelling. Do not miss this one!

  6. First show of Melanie’s for me and it will not be the last. Lovely storytelling and beautiful voice. This is a must see performance.

  7. I saw this show the other day, and it was the highlight of my Fringe. The singing was exquisite, the story compelling, and the acting was impressive. Bravo!!

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INK (7 reviews)
  1. This is performance art. Do not expect a story… Don’t go with preconceived notions… Just go for the experience and enjoy the ride.

    When you enter, the stage is empty, with just a roll of white paper suspended above the stage. It’s central to the performance, and a lot of fun to see Alistair interact with.

    The show is nearly free of spoken word – almost mimed.

    Go with an open mind!

    ***

  2. Alastair Knowles has created beautiful, evocative theatre in his production “Ink.” His two-dimensional character, made to appear as a black and white drawing, interacts with the audience to comedic effect (no spoilers here!) What magic can he create with a marker and a large role of newsprint? If you have seen Alastair’s other shows such as James and Jamesy, you will understand that as an audience member you’ll be a part of the show. And you’ll be more than willing to travel down the rabbit hole with him as your guide. The theme of how to become real in a superficial world appeared to resonate with the almost sold-out audience on Friday evening. At the end of the show, Alastair announced that this was his first solo show; it was a pleasure to co-create this performance with him!

  3. If you’re expecting a show along the lines of James and Jamsey you’re likely in for a disappointment.
    I found the show too artsy fartsy for my taste. My friend loved it.
    Conclusion – you’re either going to love or hate this show.

  4. The whole point of a Fringe festival is the freedom to take risks. And this show – which is about as Fringy as it gets – is the perfect example of a creative risk, and one which certainly works!

    In ‘Ink’, directed by Fringe veteran Stéphanie Morin-Robert, actor Alastair Knowles delighted the audience with his journey…well, I don’t want to give anything away, because the actual plot of this show is open to wide interpretation. But there was a journey, and Knowles committed fully to his character throughout.

    The two most impressive things about ‘Ink’ were the passion and physicality of Knowles, and the fact that the audience was completely on board with…well, whatever was happening (again, I don’t want to give anything away). Truly a commendable performance by an immensely talented artist.

    As one audience member declaimed upon exiting the theatre: “I loved it! That was nuts! Anything could have happened!” Truer words could not have been spoken.

    http://fringereview.ca/ink-4-stars/

  5. Really very much not something I enjoyed. My hubby didn’t care for it either, but was glad we went so we knew what is was about… the write-up in the Fringe book sounded intriguing; unfortunately the show for us wasn’t.

  6. This is a show that I could see again and again. Each time it could be interpreted just a little bit different. The story resonated with me on so many levels. It had me laughing and holding my breath at the same time – a great ride all the way – Thanks for an amazing show!!!

    Don’t miss this show – be open to this engaging performance and you will come away with a whole new outlook and understanding of an artist and his work…. open to interpretation

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Into the Tango (3 reviews)
  1. Into the Tango is a fantastic, passionate performance in which two dancers take us on a journey through Buenos Aires. Choreographer, Alexander Richardson and dancer Erin Scott-Kafadar have together, created a show which pushes boundaries throughout, and movements you did not know were possible will be effortlessly presented. Featuring classical music, electronic pop – and of course the Tango, you are sure to be captivated by this show!

    *****

  2. Alexander Richardson and Erin Scott were a hit at last years Fringe Festival with their show “Para Dos”.

    They are back with a new show for this year a blend of contemporary, tango, and ballet dances. What I find really exciting about this group is their fusion of pointe ballet and tango. Hence the name of their dance group Pointe Tango. Watching Erin dance tango while on pointe is mesmerising. She even does one number in the show where she is wearing a pointe show on one foot and a tango shoe on the other.

    Intricate Tango dance moves, and spectacular lifts make this a breathtaking show to see. Even if you’re not into dance this is definitely a show to try and catch at this years Festival.

  3. Amazing show – we were mesmerized for the start and the hour flew by. We saw the show last year and this year was just as stunning. A show worth seeing.

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Jon Bennett: Playing With Men (2 reviews)
  1. Jon made me laugh until I cried. Then laugh some more. And then he pounced like a stalking tiger and talked about some serious stuff. Repeat steps 1-3, insert crazy Australian football league stories, and repeat again. With a *lot* of hilarious swearing.

    The show began with a ramble of crazy, ADHD-level frantic energy. The energy settled after a bit, but Jon effortlessly held my attention for the whole show.

    Go see this show – you’ve only got 3 more chances!

    Comments based on Wed May 29 performance.

  2. Bennett’s exuberant storytelling is well-known to London fringe fans, but this show is a step away from his usual comedic tone. He is as entertaining as ever but he now has even more power as he has found the courage to address the subject of how men are raised in our culture through the ethic of sports which spills into the relationships of men to men and women to men. Australian rules football is a crazy dangerous game, but so is living as a man raised to thrive in this environment. His stories will have you pondering the question of whether men can really change and how that change might come about. A serious topic told through a series of anecdotes that will have you laughing, uncomfortably at times. Don’t miss it!

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Knowing You (1 review)
  1. Knowing You is a very moving play, following four siblings (all with different mothers) who meet for the first time to settle the will of their late father. The production is engaging, and I really connected with the characters, each going through their own emotional battle as they come to terms with the death of their father, as well as getting to know each other as siblings.

    The performance delves into human connection, highlighting compassion, understanding and forgiveness, and the cast do a really excellent job at portraying these complex emotions. I will warn you though, this show is a tear-jerker!

    ****

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La Vie En Rosen (3 reviews)
  1. Imagine a radio show dedicated to vintage French songs, and you’ve got the gist of La vie en Rosen.

    Cindy Rosen is your host, singing homage to love, life, family, and the beauty of Parisien cabaret.

    The show is 90% sung by Cindy and accompanied by talented pianist Marque Smith. All songs are sung in French; however, you don’t need to know the language to feel the emotions being sung (if you do parlez français – come to the Sun Jun 2 performance which will be entirely in French).

    Other nice touches include vintage family photos shared during the snow and extensive song trivia in her program.

    Review based on the Wed, May 29 performance.

  2. One of the great pleasures of the Fringe Festival is finding that hidden gem of a show. La Vie en Rosen is that show at this years Fringe. Performed and sung by Cindy Rosen and brilliantly accompanied on piano by Marque Smith the play tells the story of Cindy’s mother through narration (in English), and French songs.

    Clever, beautifully performed and sung, it’s a wonderfully light and entertaining way to spend an hour. This is a show for all ages and one that I strongly recommend the show. How much do I recommend it. I’ve been going to Fringe shows for over 20 years and I would put this shows easily in my top ten favorite shows. Run don’t walk to catch this show!

    Note that the show on Sunday, June 2, at 2:00 pm will be entirely in French. All other performances are narrated in English

  3. I very much enjoyed this performance. Cindy’s story took me back to a time that I may be too young to know about, but that I still feel connected to because of my French heritage. It was also such a nice feeling to hear some French music at the London Fringe. It is quite the rarity here in this city for some French classics. Trenet, Aznavour, Dassin, and even some French Eartha Kitt. Cindy’s story will inspire and make you feel like you’ve been transported to a French bistro on a calm sunny day. I think I need to pack my bags and go back there asap. Congrats Cindy and Marque!!

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Left Behind (4 reviews)
  1. As most war stories go, we get to see the side of the fight. We see the blood and the action. There is why Left Behind is unlike most war stories.

    The three-player show takes the audience on an introspective journey through the behind-the-scenes happenings of war, both modern and historical. You see what happens to a soldier after he dies, and learn his entire life story within an hour. The acting is powerful, especially considering a script of dialogue that doesn’t always feel like something anyone would actually say. But it is not a stretch to say that this show moved people to tears. Through flashbacks to war and the lives of soldiers at home, there is no shortage of moments to make you question your own morality.

    Left Behind is tragic. Left Behind is something that we hardly get to see. It is a conversation about war, told from the sidelines. It is a conversation we all need to have. But most importantly, Left Behind is a way to remind us what it feels like to be human.

    ****

  2. This was the perfect dose of real life tragedy I wanted to kick off my fringe with! Thank you for bringing this work home to London and for sharing these stories. Wow!

  3. This was a lovely story that brought me to tears. Thanks for presenting at Fringe!

    ****

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Left on Read (2 reviews)
  1. Zaid Shamsi has had an interesting life so far – a family that immigrated to the US on a visitor visa, and the ensuing fallout; a younger brother who made a big mistake; education at a Muslim school where he memorized the Koran in Arabic. He’s also had many of the experiences that are more common to most of us, including career and romantic missteps. His one-man show – and this IS his show; he’s the writer, director and performer – is intriguing, and he’s quite likable. However, his show could do with a second set of eyes: in its current incarnation, some stories are unclear, and what would seem to be more important events are told with the same weight as less significant matters.

    Left on Read has the potential to be a good show. While it’s not there yet, it’s not a bad way to spend an hour.

  2. fabulous!!! i loved the comedy, the culture, the story and the message. This was probably my favorite show of all the years I have been going to the Fringe.

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Lens (2 reviews)
  1. Lens is an intriguing show, focusing on the important topic of mental health through contemporary dance. There are many talented performers in this show, and their passion and dedication lends itself to an emotive performance, however, at times it felt disjointed and I couldn’t quite connect with the story. Overall, the performance was powerful, and the dancers are very talented.

    If you enjoy contemporary dance you will likely enjoy this show!

  2. Lens is an absolutely fantastic show that provides the audience with a clear and powerful message. The relatability and real life take on important life issues will give you chills.

    I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity of seeing this show twice and was not disappointed. OCC is made up of so many incredibly dancers, all of which are highlighted individually and collectively throughout the show. Everything was amazing from the dancing, to the lights, to the music, to the choreography. Everything was simply breathtaking.

    Three words to describe Lens: Brilliant, Powerful, and Jointed.

    I strongly suggest that everyone see this beautiful show.

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Like A Virgin (1 review)
  1. You never know what you’re going to get with a Fringe show. And opening night at a Fringe show ups the uncertainty. This is Jimmy Hogg’s third visit to London, and I’ve loved his previous shows, so my expectations were high – I love his loose style of storytelling.

    This year’s show may have been looser than usual – as Jimmy tell us at the beginning of Thursday night’s show, it’s a “world premier,” and he promises “a very unique theatrical experience.” And it was. He spins and dances through the story of his sexual awakening (Including a brief trip to the woods – I wonder if he’s encountered the Shredded Porn Fairy from 80s Kids Will Understand), occasionally losing track of his tale. But the audience is with him the whole way. While the bolts have yet to be tightened on this blue BMX bike of a show, and we might wonder about those “spare” parts, it’s taking us on a sweet, funny and entirely engaging ride.

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LYSISTRATA (1 review)
  1. I would like to start by saying the Ancient Greek comedy, Lysistrata was first performed in Athens in 411 BC, and still holds its place in today’s society discussing themes of gender and power. In order to keep the peace between Sparta and Athens, the women, lead by Lysistrata, devise a plan to with-hold sex from all the men in the land until peace can be made between the two cities – we have a war of the sexes!

    Lysistrata is a comedy, and there are some very funny moments throughout the show. The cast – particularly Elle Hounse who plays the lead of Lysistrata, commands the stage and captivates the audience not only through laughter but also thought. Worth a watch!

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More Than Messy (2 reviews)
  1. Connor is an outstanding athlete and dancer. In this show, he dances to great music (can anyone share where to find the playlist?). He’s currently listed as a teacher at a local dance studio, yet this is his first solo show.

    As Peter Janes said, a lot of this show feels like a tease between Connor and the Big Metal Hoop; most of the show is Connor dancing without it, but at the end you’re certainly rewarded.

    It’s impressive – at several points I felt I was watching a marathon performance. There is no spoken word, just movement loaded with intention.

    If you love dance please see this unique show!

    ****

  2. Phyllis – Lettuce
    Binky – Snarky Puppy
    …And the Gods Made Love – Jimi
    Rabbit – Tanya Tagaq
    Rainy Day, Dream Away – Jimi
    Moon River – Frank Ocean
    Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) – Marvin Gaye
    It’s a Long Life to Always be Longing – Hawksley Workman
    London – Benjamin Clemintine
    Toxicity – System of a Down
    Kill my Hope – Folly & the Hunter

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Not: A Bev Oda Memoir (2 reviews)
  1. Where else but in a Fringe festival would you find a play about Bev Oda, former Conservative MP… and time traveller? Some of us may remember Ms Oda’s $16 orange juice, and other instances of her profligate ways, but where did she come from? Playwright/performer Clara Madrenas reveals the TRUE STORY. NOT is a great tale for political nerds and neophytes. It’s clever, insightful, and wonderfully wacky, and might help to explain our current bizarre political landscape.

  2. A fantastic tale of Canadian political gaffes and ridiculousness that could only come from the land of Timbits. Laugh, cry and re-think your voting strategies! As usual, e308 never fails to impress (and they are from London, Ontario too!)

    *****

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Pack Animals (4 reviews)
  1. Pack Animals: Mansplain to Me!
    One of the top shows of the Fringe so far! Start with two extremely funny comedic actors, add a wilderness setting, some brilliant and catchy tunes, plus a skewer of references to our society’s demand that women look and act in a particular way, and you have a brilliant hour of entertainment and social commentary. These two need their own TV show, but then you can’t say the F word on CBC, can you? Don’t miss it!

  2. Pack Animals by S.E. Grummett and Holly M. Brinkman (aka Scantily Glad Theatre) takes us on an overnight camping trip unlike any you’ve ever experienced. From a series of “Hinterland Who’s Who” sketches in which they develop a taxonomy of the species of male one is likely to encounter on the dating scene to their wonderful song about Mansplaining, Grummett and Brinkman use wildly inventive bits to make us laugh and reflect upon on our own ways of being and of interacting with others. “Gender is performative” is an idea that, once allowed into consciousness, spreads like acid, corroding assumptions and destabilizing the world view built upon them. Profound, honest and hilarious. Who could ask for more?

  3. The best part of this show for me was their comedy songs, which reminded me of the Black Roses. I wished there were more of them!

    The show discusses topics of LGBTQ2+ and feminism in a really friendly and open way.

    And of course, there are lots of other funny jokes and puns about the outdoors life.

    Good show – go see it!

    ***

  4. It can be a challenge to be both hilariously funny and politically relevant. This play is both. I hope the LGBTQ2 community and allies comes out to support this show.

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Power & Privilege in the Arts
Red Haired Girl (5 reviews)
  1. Go see this show!! It should be great. My friends and I loved the earlier workshop production of this play in Toronto and we can’t wait to see the new London fringe production.

  2. This powerful performance pulls you in right from the first line. It’s the story of a woman who is either being interrogated or interviewed by a police detective. The entire play is her recounting the events that lead up to a man being killed and his son being blinded. While she tells the story, performers act out the scene she is describing. It’s unclear how involved the detective is, at times he only speaks to the protagonist and other times he interacts directly with the people in her story. The performers are amazing and paint rich, vivid characters. This is one you don’t want to miss. Be sure to see Red Haired Girl.

    *****

  3. Red Haired Girl has twists and turns that keep you involved until the end. Is all this possible from one family? Seeing is believing. Recommended.

  4. The Red Haired Girl grabs you from the start and leaves you wanting to see how things will end
    Go See This Show!!

  5. With its poignant writing and passionate acting, this moving story of The Red Haired Girl will keep you intrigued from the beginning until the end. I highly recommend experiencing this truly unique play about a woman named Jo, played by Regan Brown and her tumultuous search for the daughter she gave up as a teen. The accomplished cast plays robustly diverse characters as they skillfully weave you through a riveting story you will certainly never forget.

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Rehabilitating Richard (2 reviews)
  1. This play shows the contrast between the actual Richard III and Shakespeare’s play. Perhaps I would have enjoyed the show more if I was familiar with Shakespeare’s play, but this story seems to lack coherence.
    The actors give top flight performances that made me really care about the characters. However, the story felt rushed and disjointed to me.
    The play does tell a good story with a beginning, a middle and an end. It addresses the inaccuracies in Shakespeare’s play. If you’re familiar with Richard III and you’re interested in learning more about him then you might want to check this out.

    ***

  2. Great performances from the whole cast. This is quite the undertaking. I like how the play tied a character’s struggles with physical imperfections, connecting it to Richard III and the plight of the outcast. Another case of the victors writing history. Would love to see this developed further into a longer play.

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Reunited Shorts (18 reviews)
  1. Such a thrilling theatre experience! From the many laughs to the very heartfelt moments, all around Reunited Shorts is a spectacular collection of short plays and makes for a “short” but fun time. I highly recommend you get out to see this show while you can!

  2. Congratulations to Len and the cast and crew of “Reunited Shorts”. Such a great production! A wonderful emotional journey, for sure! You had us laughing and crying! See it while you can!

  3. I’m so glad I came to see this show! It has a great balance of light hearted humour and more serious content. The cast perfectly brings to life the characters from these short plays. Be sure to see this one, you’ll be glad you did!

  4. Reunited Shorts is a must see at the Fringe! Each short play takes you on a journey into the lives of two people and their reunion. The writing in this show is so wonderful that, within each brief encounter, there is cause for laughter, surprise, nostalgia and reflection. Well done!

  5. Put Reunited Shorts on your must see list at London Fringe! A spectacular little collection of short stories performed by a wonderfully talented cast touching on real life situations. I laughed and cried. Bravo!

  6. If you’re new to Fringe festivals, Reunited Shorts could be your entry into this wonderful and occasionally weird, weird, weird world. In 60 minutes, writer and director Len Cuthbert shares six short stories. You get four romantic comedies, and two dramas, all less than 10 minutes long – perfect for our Internet-shortened attention spans. It’s a fun assortment of theatrical bonbons.

  7. Len Cuthbert’s work is consistently outstanding and Reunited Shorts is a great example of this – as a window into Len’s deeply thoughtful, poignant and also quite humorous script writing. In this series of six short pieces, the audience is taken on a journey into experiences of grief and sadness, joy and humour. He isn’t afraid to tackle topics that are often, sadly, still challenging within our society and does so with care and dignity.
    Bravo to Len and the fabulous troupe of actors in his Reunited Shorts!

  8. Reunited Shorts was a great experience! Every story had a different feel, twist or take away. I particularly loved You, Me, Me, You. It was performed so perfectly!
    Congrats to the cast and crew! You all did so well!! Thanks for continuing to write meaningful scripts, Len. ☺️ Don’t miss Reunited Shorts!!

  9. You’ve got to check out Reunited Shorts! This group of talented actors delivered each witty and heartwarming script with excellence! The 60 minutes flew by way too quickly leaving me wanting to see more. Len Cuthbert’s creative script writing continues to amaze me! Don’t miss out! This is definitely a Fringe must see!

  10. Reunited Shorts is a lovely showcase of Len Cuthbert’s witty, poignant, and versatile scripts. Each 10-minute short explores a timely, true-to-life theme that’ll leave you thinking long after the show is over. Although it’s a small cast, the variety of the stories they tell and the emotions they convey will certainly impress. Don’t miss this show before it closes!

  11. Writer and Director Len Cuthbert once again displays his clever wit with “Reunited Shorts”. A writing style that is incredibly unique, moving, and certainly not to be missed. A wonderful display of diversity from the cast playing polar opposite characters from scene to scene. A fringe-must-see!

  12. Reunited Shorts was AMAZING! Len showed off his excellent and diverse writing skills and the cast delivered wonderful, heartfelt performances. Humorous, thoughtful and moving, it is a definite must see!

  13. A little bit of every emotion in these stories. Tight writing and actors with amazing timing and natural performances.

  14. A great show full of entertaining vignettes about the human experience. Funny, touching, relevant, nicely realised with a talented cast of young performers. All told in a witty way that is uniquely Len Cuthbert.

  15. Another wonderful show by Len Cuthbert and his cast. Len continues to write shows to make his audience laugh and cry at the same time. The actors execute such diverse characters with precision from scene to scene. An excellent display from many talented people and a definite must see show in this years Fringe Festival. Don’t miss Reunited Shorts!

  16. The plays were incredible, well written and the cast did an amazing job at playing each role! I was very impressed! It made me laugh and feel so many amazing emotions! I will definelty watch it again!

  17. An amazing show filled with clever lines that make you laugh out loud and moving moments that will bring you to tears!

  18. This show is full of vibrant characters ready to take you on six different journies. Each story is fully captivating, and getting to experience little surprises throughout the show was truly amazing.

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Road Trip With Secrets (2 reviews)
  1. Two fun little comedies about relationships and how differences can be both good and bad and sometimes both at the same time.

    At times the dialogue lacks flow and I could have used a few more laughs. The minimalist use of set was well done. This forces the audience to focus on the characters.

    The first tells a story of a couple going to and from marriage counselling. As they talk about what they want to discuss during the session and the issues that came up during the session, we learn each one’s role in the relationship. The second is a story of two women who have been friends since childhood, reuniting after years. Six different performers play the two women at three different points in their lives.

    ***

  2. Enjoyed tonight’s performance of Road Trip With Secrets. While both were good – especially could relate to the couple on route to marriage counselling and enjoyed the dynamics of the 2 actors on stage. The bathroom set was excellent.., quite the creativity required to build that! This play is worth checking out for sure!

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Say Nothing (2 reviews)
  1. An amazing performance by gifted dancers. I did not think I would enjoy this performance but it was engrossing. Not settling for simply performing to music, but also dance to poems covering subjects like domestic violence, flowers, the 9/11 attack, and the poisoning of the ocean (I particularly enjoyed the way the dancer used her hands to mimic the look of a wave breaking on a rock).

    The only thing I suspect you won’t enjoy is the way they will make you feel like you need to hit the gym more. Their movements are so expressive and sensual even without words you can clearly see the story they’re telling. The music is a wild collection of contrasting styles and sounds. I loved it.

    ****

  2. What an amazing production. These young dancers are fantastic. The choreography is brilliant. The story line is so clear. It literally took my breath away at times. You have to see this!

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SCAREDY CAT (1 review)
  1. Fear is probably one of the last emotions you would expect a comedy show to be written about. Yet, Scaredy Cat does just that and manages to pull it off in a somewhat logical way.

    Written in the form of childhood anecdotes and personal introspection, Scaredy Cat’s main draw for humour is reaching out to the awkward, uncomfortable side sitting in the audience. But the show often tries too hard to attain that sense of ‘quirkiness’ and ends up leaving nothing more than an in-your-face performance along with a script that just doesn’t warrant the level of energy or confidence that is being given off. That being said, the show does have a fair amount of laugh out loud moments. The storytelling really does flow smoothly from one bit to the next, connected with little pieces of Rhamey’s past to fill in the blanks and set up the jokes.

    Scaredy Cat clearly makes its main focus to be funny, which happens to miss the mark a few times. However, the show makes up for much of this through interesting stories and an engaging performance.

    ***

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Self-Help Shelf (1 review)
  1. Maggie is a young employee in a bookstore coping with the stresses of her mundane life. During a dream, millennial self-help guru Trish Carrison talks to Maggie about tapping into her innermost thoughts. In the end, Maggie realizes that the answer to what she was seeking was within herself all along.

    Solo storytelling is difficult to pull off well for many veterans of the stage. Although not brilliant technically, Self Help Shelf is a great start to writing and directing a play for this young playwright. Appropriate for most over the age of 16, Millennials will love this play and other generations will see similarities to their own youthful angst.

    ***

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SpinS (2 reviews)
  1. SpinS is probably the most awkwardly impressive thing you’ll see all year.

    With a variety of wild props, the show manages to retain your attention for a full hour without ever breaking a sweat. Unicycling, juggling, and a little bit of magic all make hefty appearances throughout this show, spaced in between with fantastically painful puns. SpinS loves to incorporate the audience into the show, which makes the experience seem less like you’re watching a performance and more like you’re helping to put it on. Its simplicity makes the show something wonderful for children and the adults who never wanted to grow up.

    SpinS is a weird show. Like a modern Vaudeville act done by a single man in his pyjamas. And that weirdness is so much of the charm that the show holds dearly. A must-see for anyone who wants to let loose and smile like a child again.

    *****

  2. SpinS is a sweet show by a man with a very gentle personality, perfect for bringing children to see. I saw Sunday’s show and he did his best to interact with all the children in the audience – even the one(s) at the back!

    He does short but impressive bouts on his unicycle, juggles all kinds and numbers of things, and shares a few stories. Nothing scary or naughty – just honest to goodness niceness!

    ***

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The Ghost Project (2 reviews)
  1. The subject of campfires and late-night dinner parties comes to Procunier with the delightful characters of Karie Richards’ “The Ghost Project”. Expertly and thoughtfully re-told tales of ghostly visitors and bumps in the night, audiences will love this show. This is a one woman show with Ms. Richards portraying 13 different characters and experiences. Audiences will be spellbound at the honestly and thoughtfulness of this play. This play does run for 85 minutes, which could be tad long for some. But if the length does not concern you, settle in for a lovely play about the spectres that remain on this earthly sphere.

    ***

  2. Thanks for the comments! For the record, the runniing time is actually only 75 minutes………….Jeff Culbert, director, The Ghost Project

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The Immaculate Big Bang (2 reviews)
  1. As our society ages and we begin to wrap up our own earthly affairs, the question of what happens afterwards becomes more pre-dominant in our minds. But yet for each of us, that journey is as personal as it is perplexing. Join this production, as they explore the question of what death really means not just to the dead but also to the living. Bill Santiago riffs on all of this with a smart, funny commentary on what that experience means to him. His observations on the Big Bang theory and “what exactly is nothing if it is something” will have audiences will nod and laugh along. This play could use some more technical devices to enhance the storyline. But all in all a wonderful way to spend an hour to ask “What If?”.

    ***

  2. This show was really, really good. I laughed until I had tears running down my face. There wer some softer more poignant moments, too. i highly recommend this show.

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THE WALK IN THE SNOW: The true story of Lise Meitner. (4 reviews)
  1. A mostly-chronological biography of a physicist doesn’t sound like particularly engaging material, but this premiere performance from Jem Rolls is captivating. In his return to the London Fringe after an eight-year absence, Rolls tells the life story of Lise Meitner, the co-discoverer of the process of nuclear fission. Despite being told in prose rather than Rolls’ usual poetry, The Walk in the Snow has the same cadence and sense of urgency in every phrase, and it’s stronger for it.

    The production is simple, featuring only the actor, some period music cues, and a lot of lighting changes (that had Rolls chasing his marks a bit during the opening show). It’s all this story and this performer need in preserving Dr. Meitner’s legacy.

  2. Lise Meitner’s story is one that not enough people know about. This show is a powerfully written and performed speech about Lise Meitner’s life, and centers on her figuring out how to split the atom as she flees from the nazis during the second world war. While the show is minimal, Jem Rolls is an amazing speaker and easily carries the show on his shoulders. Not only is Meitner’s story fascinating and historically important, Rolls’ passion about the subject raises the quality through his delivery and body language. He is an incredibly talented speaker, and could probably describe paint drying and somehow make it interesting. While the story briefly brings up race and gender as a hindrance in Meitner’s life, I think that a little more discussion about the ramifications of genocide, as well as the consequences of splitting the atom would have been interesting to cover. I couldn’t help but wonder about how Meitner felt about the bomb outside of it as a scientific pursuit. What does the bomb mean to her in light of being a jewish person during the holocaust? With that said, if you are a history or physics buff, or are interested in the untold story of a woman whose work changed the world, The Walk in the Snow is a must see.
    4/5

    ****

  3. 5 Stars for ‘The Walk in The Snow’

    This show is a fascinating recounting of an almost-forgotten moment in scientific history, the aftermath of which (among other things), significantly overshadowed simple story leading to a world-changing discovery.

    Jem Rolls is a consummate storyteller, whose passion for the history of Lise Meitner is evident. His seamless melding of poetry, humour and casual asides make this story – and the characters involved – come to life.

    Rolls had my attention from the moment I entered the theatre, with European violin music interspersed with audio from a Nazi rally creating immediate context for his story. I was enthralled with the story itself, and with Rolls’ technical prowess as storyteller.

    A gem of a tale – recounted with passion and prowess – that shouldn’t be missed.

    http://fringereview.ca/the-walk-in-the-snow-5-stars/

  4. With the subject matter, the stadium seating in the Spriet Theatre and Jenn Rolls standing in the front without any props I thought I was attending a university lecture rather than a Fringe show. Jenn Rolls does an admiral job in telling the history of Lisa Meitner and physics in the 20’s and 30’s. I enjoyed he show though I have to admit I wasn’t exactly sure how Lisa Meitner changed the world with her “Walk in the Snow” other than she explained and proved how nuclear fission worked. For those who are in the same boat as me or want a good primer before seeing the play I suggest you read this “Coles Notes” version of the play.

    https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200712/physicshistory.cfm

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Throne Life (1 review)
  1. Throne Life is a very ambitious show. A set like something you wouldn’t expect from fringe theatre, costume changes put on by the solo performer, and electronic music about the Bible. But perhaps the show is a bit too ambitious.

    The show is confidently performed, despite feeling a bit unsure of what it is trying to do at times. The exact story seems absent frequently, jumping from idea to idea, told through strange anecdotes, and interspaced with what seem like motivational speeches on top of electronic gospel music. It is certainly unlike anything you have seen before. With a passion that is the biggest part of the act, the show seems to try to do so much and to be so deep, but loses a lot of the impact it could have had, if only it were for a simplified script and more rigid storyline.

    Throne Life is a combination of a confident performance and a show that perhaps could do with a little less confidence.

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untether (1 review)
  1. Untether, is a contemporary dance performance which explores life’s limitation through movement and human connection. I am not an expert on dance, however I did enjoy this show, which is full of intriguing ideas and freeing choreography.

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When Life Gives You Apples (23 reviews)
  1. I hate giving negative reviews of a show. (Those who can’t do, criticize, right?) And it’s extra hard when my opinion—and that’s what this is—is so at odds with as highly appreciative and vocal an audience as attended Friday’s opening performance. So take this for what it’s worth: despite all the things I’d usually love about a play, like writer/director Tricia West’s obvious connection to the subject matter, her trademark wordplay, and a bushel basket full of trivia, When Life Gives You Apples just didn’t work for me. I found some of the many revelations either obvious or arbitrary, and the resolution of a side plot about marital infidelity fell flat in its logic, plausibility, and mechanics. I don’t know how much of the piece was in the original 2017 production (titled Ms. Cransen), but I can make an educated guess, and I suspect the shorter version would have appealed more. But I’m just one person, and I encourage others who might (okay, will probably) disagree to share their thoughts about this production.

    **

    1. Peter, I know what it is like to be in your shoes; not wanting to write a negative review for a something you didn’t like and respect that. I didn’t like every show I was invited to write about – many times relying on more than my personal feelings; trying to balance being honest as well as take into consideration what others saw in an attempt to include both sides. I appreciate that although you didn’t like the script (and I know not everyone will) that you also acknowledged you were in the minority and that the audience had their own reasons to give it a standing ovation at the end; further inviting them to share their thoughts below. Thank you for that.
      I know that this script might not be seen as award winning… and that’s okay, because it is more than words on paper. It is the passion and dedication the actors each poured into it, bringing it to life on stage. It is the laughter and heartfelt tears that moved the audience in ways I am still in awe of. It was having individuals share how we captured the reality of a subject not easy to watch, let alone laugh about – and was appreciative of the opportunity to do so. How even the tears brought them a smile. I admit your review took up more space in my mind than it deserved and I wish it didn’t have me question what I worked so hard to put on stage, or momentarily take away from the beautiful reviews from individuals it did touch. Instead, recognizing that there will always be a few bruised apples – that’s life; but mixed in with several good ones… you can still make a pretty good apple pie.

      1. Thanks for understanding, Tricia. And although it’s implicit in everything I try to do in and with the local theatre community, I think it’s worth saying explicitly: the simple fact that you, collectively and individually, have put something creative into the world, on stages in front of actual real human beings, is always worth celebrating.

  2. Peter, thanks for inviting the world at large to comment on your comment. I agree with you on only one point – the audience was highly appreciative and vocal, sending the cast off with a standing ovation for an excellent presentation and interpretation of this fine work. I must admit my bias up front – I know Trish and strongly support her creative bend while managing her busy and demanding life. The original was, in fact, not a shorter version but was also an excellent interpretation of the subject. This version was tailored to the Fringe requirements and ended up being a fine tuning of the wonderful Ms. Cransen. Perhaps for those who are fortunate enough not to have been touched by the tragedy of Alzheimer’s disease this play does not resonate the way they would like. For those of us who have lived through any variation of the situation presented in Ms. Cransen/When Life Gives you Apples I know that it is an honest, heart felt rendition of the circumstances faced and challenges presented. My recommendation to Peter is to take very seriously the advice my Mom gave to me at a very young age – if you can’t say anything nice…..

    1. Thanks for the advice, John. Unfortunately, as part of TiL’s review team I didn’t have the option not to say anything, and rather than blow smoke and equivocate I wrote what I felt and why. It doesn’t mean I’m right and everyone else in the audience was wrong, it means I didn’t like the production, and realizing that I said quite clearly that my evaluation obviously differed from others.

      Please don’t suggest that I didn’t like the show because I’m somehow untouched by neurodegenerative diseases. I have seen family, friends, and acquaintances disappear into themselves, and I had them at the top of my mind when I wrote my brief review.

      In a way I’m glad that I disliked Apples so much, because this has become by far the most-commented-upon production at this point of the festival; I just wish they’d be as vocal about any of the 40+ other shows in the Fringe!

  3. Ms. Cranson was wonderful from start to finish. As a local actor/director, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing so many new faces to me as I only recognized John Moore and Trish West. My dear friend Angela and I were both moved to tears on opening night. I tip my hat off to the writer and actors who took the audience on a roller coaster of emotions from warm laughter to full-blown tears. I highly recommend this production. 5/5

  4. Enjoyed the performances of the cast, everyone was excellent. The timing of the script and the personalities given to the characters. Trish’s anecdotal monologues broke things up and gave you a little more insight into the personalities of each character. I don’t want to suggest one can’t watch this play unless you have been impacted by the disease and I think we feel guilty laughing at some of the unfortunate behaviors if brings out in the ill person. You can’t help but laugh while you are in pain for the person and all affected by the havoc inflicted do to Alzheimer. Afraid for the loved one, but also wondering if this will be us one day, laughing at things but scared for our own loved one and ourselves all at the same time. Wondering when, when is the time to put them in a home without feeling you are abandoning them.
    I feel the show allows you all of this, in a time when we still don’t have answers to chase the illness away. It is hard to navigate this as a writer and for anyone watching, you could feel the real experience through this show. I think the situations on the humour makes it even more real, understood by people who’ve gone through it. Trish captured the stress, the sadness for those living with the person and the humour of the person along with the tragedy of the whole horrible disease. This production gives you a peek in the window and reminds you gently what it was like, while not making a textbook story out of it, at a manageable pace with lots of laughter moments.
    Check it out.

  5. My son and I were fortunate enough to attend the dress rehearsal of this production and loved every minute of it, including the moments that brought us to tears. Alzheimer’s is something I worry a LOT about, because my maternal grandmother died from complications of the disease and my mother has been in a nursing home for the last couple years with advanced stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia. For those of us who, as others have said, gone through the trauma before, there was a great deal in “When Life Gives You Apples” with which to relate. I had been estranged from my own mother for several years, so I didn’t truly see the face of the disease until well after she was already in a home, which raised a lot of guilt inside me. Seeing the struggles through another family’s eyes helped open my eyes to what my step-father must have gone through leading up to his committing my mother to long-term care. I truly believe that this story is one that needs to be told, and I’m glad that Trisha and her amazing cast have done so.
    It’s the mark of a good story when the audience can find it relatable enough to see some of themselves in the characters on the stage, and the cast and playwright accomplished the task before them with great aplomb!

  6. Saw today’s performance and have to say how receptive today’s audience was. Not to be stereotypical that only the girls might shed a few tears, but surprised that the guys did too. Felt bad to see one person sitting in the back with tears running down his face. There was lots of laughter too which is a good thing being such a sensitive topic and kept things from getting too serious. I didn’t have anyone to relate to with Alzheimer’s, but that didn’t take away from still enjoying the show and now have an awareness I didn’t have before. The cast felt so natural watching them on stage and the standing ovation they received was well deserved. One of my favorites this Fringe so far!

  7. Kudos and Congratulations to Tricia West and the cast for another incredible production with “When Life gives you Apples”.
    The sometimes subtle differences from the original Ms Cransen enhanced the feeling that you were part of the family as they struggled with Winnie’s Alzheimer.
    Job well done.

  8. I know everyone receives the plays differently because of their background, experiences, whatever…but I thought ‘When Life Gives you Apples” was nothing short of INCREDIBLE. As others have said it’s a play that makes you laugh and cry. The actors were all amazing. I loved that the lead (Winnie) was played by a man – he did a GREAT job (although I had to work extra hard to understand him because of his accent – but that’s just me). Can anyone tell me why a man got this role? He, all the actors were so good! Definitely worth seeing this play.

    1. Hi Kara, I am sure many have wondered the same thing, I’m always surprised more haven’t asked. While creating this story, I took my personal experiences and combined it with many others who have lived with Alzheimer’s. Hearing their stories, I soon realized how emotional and personal this story could be. Everyone’s experience with Alzheimer’s is different, this disease has so many faces – but one thing that was consistent, was the raw emotion. My hope by putting a male into the character role of Winnie, was that it allowed individuals watching the play, an opportunity where they could relate it to their own experiences. To be able to see how easily anyone of us could be in that role; either as their mom, dad or even themselves. As well, because I had a ‘character’ portrayed on stage – my desire was that you could laugh at moments you normally wouldn’t feel right doing so and maybe the tears wouldn’t hit too close to home. xx

  9. Hi Trish! I so enjoyed your play last night – it was so very engaging and I found myself drawn in by the actors’ performances. I have to admit I was distracted a few times watching Carl!! I kept thinking “I’m sure that’s Carl….but he’s so convincing I’m not sure”!! Wow….He was so believable as an older woman Wonderful performance and he drew me to tears at the end.
    We had a great time – thanks again.

  10. Went to tonight’s performance while hubby watched the basketball game and glad that I did! It was a quiet crowd so I was surprised to see how many were affected and had tears when leaving the theatre. Myself included. Bring Kleenex – this one surprises you. The emotion sneaks up without you realizing it and pulls at your heartstrings at the end.

  11. My wife and I went to this play Monday evening and were blown away. We knew the basics of what the play was beforehand but definitely weren’t expecting to be so moved by the performance. We laughed, cried and felt so deeply for the all to real scenarios. It was a phenomenal performance by everyone included. I honestly give it a 10 out of 10 and would highly recommend this show to anyone looking for a moving show.

  12. THIS PLAY HAS PIES AND A DOG! LOL In all honesty, we really enjoyed this play. The set and all the props was amazing and how little details were there but for you to find. we expected the laughs, but who would have thought a play with a guy dressed as an old woman would have made us cry? Well done to the entire cast. the acting is what made it all work so well. 5 out of 5

  13. You can tell there was personal experience associated with this play. Some of the comments and situations cut so close to home. And as much as it is not a situation you wish on anyone, the care and tenderness and at times humour that the play conveyed left you feeling hopeful. The raw emotions the actors showed were so true to the situation. Thank you for not sugar coating a situation more and more people are having to deal with. And thank you to everyone for an excellent portrayal that left me hopeful.

  14. My friend and I went to see this amazing play Wednesday June 5. It was extremely interesting to see this play and be reminded of the laughter and tears that living with Alzheimer’s as a patient or a family member. We really enjoyed the character development especially the actor that played Ms Cranson. If you get a chance to see this play, please do! You will not regret it. Hats off to play right Tricia West and her talented team of actors!

  15. We saw the original play Ms Cransen when my mom’s art work was on display. We both saw the preview at the opening gala and loved it although hard at times to watch thinking about our own situation. She isn’t able to come see this variation of the play with me but watching it brought me back to 2 years ago and I remembered that day fondly. Sad because I know she no longer can. Nice to see how you’ve developed the script – like that we get to see more emotion with the boyfriend this time around. The actress who played the daughter at the end emotional performance was lovely too. Nice to see it back on stage.

  16. They play works well as a comedy, it makes the family dynamic feel more real and less like a play, and for the short period of time you spend with the characters, you really learn what each character is like, which makes the drama more impactful and heart warming. And although the play is relatively short and the set is reality basic, it manages to get the message across clearly, and the small set works well for it, it keeps the viewer trained on the actors, who were amazing at demonstrating the family connection, and less on the set. Overall, “when life gives you apples” was a well written, well acted and well directed play that played with viewers emotions. 5 stars

  17. Can’t wait until tonight to see this again! Saw it a couple of years ago and was deeply moved then. My first few thoughts when the play started was wondering about the character Ms Cransten and if it was really a guy. That lasted maybe 5 minutes as I was caught up in the story. We laughed and cried but mostly were left thinking about what we just witnessed long after the show ended and how Alzheimer’s affected the family supporting that person. It opened up a lot of dialogue about what if? 2 years later it still has an impact and this time I’m wearing waterproof mascara!

  18. Saw this play last weekend and even though I enjoyed it, it didn’t affect me to the same emotional level as some of the reviews on here. That being said, I found myself thinking about this story many times throughout the week and somehow a week later when I look back, it seems to affect me more. Thinking about the characters and performances. Not one to easily forget!

  19. We loved it! Carl was very convincing is his role as Winnie…wow! We can’t believe how many lines he knew! They were all amazing in their rolls…it felt like it could have been any one of us in their situation. It made Matt and I think about what our lives would be like if any of our parents or each other had this disease. So touching:)
    Great job T and cast!!!

  20. I have just left a play I seen at the fringe Festival in London Ontario. This was the second time I have seen the play ….. When life gives you apples. Again I was teary eyed several time during the performance. It is a very touching story about a family who is dealing the awful disease of dementia. I have been overwhelmed with this disease many times in the past few years as I watch my father slip into the awful arms of this horrific experience. Watching the play reminds me I am not alone. You know you have seen an awesome play when it moves you to raw emotions, both tears and laughter. Thanks to everyone involved in the performance. Well Done.

  21. This show was so beautifully done! I saw Ms Cransen the first time, but the new script took the show to a new level.
    The actors portrayed such a wide range of emotion that took you on a very personal journey through the lives of this family. We laughed, we cried and we will remember this theatre experience for a long time!

    Congratulations to Trish, the cast and crew!

  22. To all of the cast of Ms. Cranston. You broke my heart and I know I was not alone. I lost my mother to the horrendous disease. It first robs them of their humanity while you look on unable to help but only watch helplessly as you lose them again and again, piece by piece.You all captured over and over the frustration, anger, terror, love and yes humour that rides along on this perilous journey and somehow encapsulated in in one hour. What a great and important performance one and all and yes I wanted to grab the little dog too. Thank you for getting it exactly right and Trish….BRILLIANT!

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WORKSHOP: Introduction to Argentine Tango
WORKSHOP: Singing Master Class with Melanie Gall
WORKSHOP: Storytelling with Jon Bennett
WORKSHOP: Urban Dance O.N.E. Contemporary Co.
WORKSHOP: Waldoodle Art Monster with Walter Sayers