Vintage Toronto Ads: Act III of the Fringe Festival
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Vintage Toronto Ads: Act III of the Fringe Festival

Source: Now, June 27–July 3, 1991.

“The miracle of the Fringe,” wrote Now’s Jon Kaplan in his preview of the third edition of the festival in 1991, “is that with about two hours of technical rehearsal and only 30 minutes to set up, shows at the Fringe have offered countless surprises and first class productions to local audiences. It’s true grassroots theatre, ready to provide an opportunity for the development of challenging new pieces that cover all areas of performance.”
The 1991 Fringe consisted of 200 performances by 50 companies over 10 days. Organizers had hoped to up those numbers but, as Star theatre critic Vit Wagner noted, “In this year of the Gulf War and the recession, government funding and corporate sponsorship were harder to come by.” Audiences were relieved that the newly renovated and air-conditioned Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse replaced the sweatbox Glen Morris Studio Theatre as one of the four venues alongside the Annex Theatre, the Poor Alex, and the Tranzac Club (though future Fringe audiences would be reacquainted with the Glen Morris’s warm confines).
Out of that year’s listing, two titles caught our eye (with descriptions courtesy of the Star):

BRANgst by Liza Balkan. One-woman, one-muffin show takes a half-hour look at a fibre-filled fem who’s fixated on food.
I Fell In Love With An Eel by Vern Thiessen. An offbeat look at three people searching for the perfect relationship…and a lamprey eel.

Additional material from the June 27–July 3, 1991, edition of Now, and the June 28, 1991, edition of the Globe and Mail.