Fringe Preview 2012: Ensemble

Torontoist

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Fringe Preview 2012: Ensemble

While we won’t be seeing King Leonidas lead an army of 300 around the beer tent this year, here are some Fringe offerings that are capitalizing on larger casts to create really unique, interesting shows.

Help Yourself
Theatre Brouhaha

Photo by ZAIDEN.

PERFORMANCES:
Wednesday, July 4, 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 7, 5:45 p.m.
Monday, July 9, 7:45 p.m.
Tuesday, July 10, 9:45 p.m.
Thursday, July 12, 12:00 p.m.
Friday, July 13, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 14, 3:30 p.m.

VENUE:
George Ignatieff Theatre (15 Devonshire Place)

Kat Sandler and Theatre Brouhaha made quite a mark on the indie scene last February with her first play, LOVESEXMONEY, a just-cynical-enough look at modern love and relationships. For Fringe, she’s bringing her bite back, with Help Yourself, a show about the lengths we go to in order to justify our wrongdoings. This play also happens to be the winner of this year’s Fringe New Play Contest. After the success of Kim’s Convenience, which won last year, interest is high in this production.

(Carly Maga)

Dirty Butterfly
Bound 2 Create Threatre

Kaleb Alexander and Lauren Brotman in Dirty Butterfly. Photo by Joe Bucci.

PERFORMANCES:
Friday, July 6, 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, July 8, 1:00 p.m.
Monday, July 9, 2:15 p.m.
Tuesday, July 10, 6:45 p.m.
Wednesday, July 11, 4:45 p.m.
Saturday, July 14, 9:45 p.m.
Sunday, July 15, 12:30 p.m.

VENUE:
Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue)

Husband and wife team Jack Grinhaus and Lauren Brotman’s Bound 2 Create Theatre company has tackled challenging work rooted in racial, gender-based, and socio-economic tensions in the past couple years. Their productions have included Edward Bond’s Saved, the Toronto-centric The Complex (inspired by the Canada Day fire), and the steamy myth reinvention Phaedra’s Lust. Elements from all of those seem likely to appear in the company’s latest production, of Jamaica-British playwright Debbie Tucker Green’s new drama Dirty Butterfly. Grinhaus directs Brotman and co-stars Cherissa Richards and Kaleb Alexander.

(Steve Fisher)

The Wakowski Bros.
Aim for the Tangent Theatre

Photo by Kent Nolan.

PERFORMANCES:
Wednesday, July 4, 10:30 p.m.
Friday, July 6, 1:15 p.m.
Sunday, July 8, 3:30 p.m.
Monday, July 9, 8:15 p.m.
Tuesday, July 10, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 12, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 15, 4:30 p.m.

VENUE:
St. Vlad’s Theatre (620 Spadina Avenue)

Not the story of the Wachowski brothers, who brought us The Matrix, this is instead a show about a one-night-only reunion of a fictional vaudeville team. Through song and comedy, we discover what once made them great and why they decided to call it quits. The theatre company producing the show is new. Fringe can often provide a springboard for burgeoning talent like this to move on bigger and better things.

(Kevin Scott)

RARE
Diverse Creations

Photo courtesy of Toronto Fringe.

PERFORMANCES:
Thursday, July 5, 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 7, 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 8, 8:15 p.m.
Monday, July 9, 6:15 p.m.
Tuesday, July 10, 8:45 p.m.
Friday, July 13, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 14, 2:15 p.m.

VENUE:
Tarragon Theatre Mainspace (30 Bridgman Avenue)

Judith Thompson is a pillar of Canadian theatre, and has been since her first play, 1980’s The Crackwalker. Her shows are dark, rough, and haunting, but lately she’s been showing her softer side with work in documentary theatre. First, she created the show Body & Soul, about women’s body issues, with 12 female non-actors. Then, The Grace Project: Sick!, with a cast of youth facing adversity in different ways. In RARE, she’s teaming up with a cast of nine co-creators, all with Down syndrome. No matter what, this show won’t be easy to forget.

(Carly Maga)

With Love and a Major Organ
QuestionMark-Exclamation Theatre

Julia Lederer wrote and co-stars in With Love and a Major Organ. Photo by Ian Brown.

PERFORMANCES:
Thursday, July 5, 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 7, 1:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 8, 8:00 p.m.
Monday, July 9, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 11, 8:15 p.m.
Thursday, July 12, 1:00 p.m.
Friday, July 13, 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 14, 4:30 p.m.

VENUE:
Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue)

For the past two years, actress and writer Julia Lederer has lived in New York City, where she spent time studying and performing drama at the Hagen-Berghoff Studio, and comedy, at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre. She’s returned to Toronto with a new play that promises plenty of both of those styles of performance, and she has assembled a crack team to help her stage it. The show is directed by Andrew Lamb (The (Post) Mistress, My Mother’s Jewish-Wiccan Wedding), and features Robin Archer and Martha Ross.

(Steve Fisher)

CHRISTCHRISTCHRIST
Theatre Stendhal

PERFORMANCES:
Wednesday, July 4, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 5, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 6, 2:30 p.m.
Friday, July 6, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 7, 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 10, 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 11, 6 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 11, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 12, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 13, 2:30 p.m.

VENUE:
Walmer Road Baptist Church (188 Lowther Avenue)

Throughout history, many people have claimed to be the second coming of Christ. CHRISTCHRISTCHRIST looks at what happens when a psychiatrist brings three of these would-be saviours together. This play is taking place in Walmer Road Baptist Church. That alone makes it worth a gander.

(Chris Dart)

Tony Ho’s Sad People
Tony Ho

Photo courtesy of Toronto Fringe.

PERFORMANCES:
Thursday, July 5, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 8, 6:15 p.m.
Monday, July 9, 4:45 p.m.
Wednesday, July 11, 9:45 p.m.
Thursday, July 12, 1:00 p.m.
Friday, July 13, 11:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 14, 1:45 p.m.

VENUE:
The Robert Gill Theatre (214 College Street)

Local sketch troupe Tony Ho practise a style of comedy that’s as likely to make you fidget uncomfortably as it is to make you laugh. Now, the three twisted minds behind the troupe (Miguel Rivas, Roger Bainbridge, and Adam Niebergall) have put together a full-length play. You’re pretty much guaranteed either to bust a gut laughing, or to question the futility of it all, depending on how dark you like your humour.

(Chris Dart)

Antigone
Soup Can Theatre

(L-R) Daniel Kim, Heather Motut, John Chou, Chloe Payne, Michael McLeister (seated in foreground), Thomas Gough (standing in background), Kathryn Malek, Glyn Bowerman, Adriana Crivici (below), Aaron Rothermund (above), Leah Holder, Cydney Penner. Photo by Scarlet O’Neill.

PERFORMANCES:
Wednesday, July 4, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, July 6, 10:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 8, 1:15 p.m.
Monday, July 9, 8:15 p.m.
Tuesday, July 10, 1:00 p.m.
Friday, July 13, 5:15 p.m.
Sunday, July 15, 7:00 p.m.

VENUE:
Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst Street)

Sophocles’ tale of rebellion and war meets modern-day Toronto, still reeling from the G20 riots and the Occupy movement. The parallels between this classic text and the current political climate in Toronto might be a bit uneven, but if anyone can pull off this adaptation it’s Soup Can Theatre, who have had previous successes with Love is a Poverty You Can Sell and Marat/Sade.

(Carly Maga)

PornStar
Beefy Geek Productions

Heather Marie Annis, Lynn Griffin, Amy Lee, and Sarah Mennell in PornStar. Photo by Aviva Armour-Ostroff.

PERFORMANCES:
Friday, July 6, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 7, 11:00 p.m.
Monday, July 9, 2:45 p.m.
Wednesday, July 11, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 12, 2:15 p.m.
Saturday, July 14, 9:45 p.m.
Sunday, July 15, 3:30 p.m.

VENUE:
Tarragon Theatre Mainspace (30 Bridgeman Avenue)

Heather Marie Ennis and Amy Lee have conquered the Fringe—and Toronto’s theatre world in general—with their clown alter-egos Morro & Jasp, and they have a recent Dora Mavor Moore Award for outstanding performance to prove it. But this year the pair will appear together on a Fringe Stage sans noses. They’re co-starring, with fellow actresses Lynn Griffin and Sarah Mennell, in a production of Fringe veteran Chris Craddock’s early comedic play PornStar, directed by Morro & Jasp collaborator Byron Laviolette. For those who want to see them with noses on, they’re doing a new Morro & Jasp show too: the Steinbeck-inspired Of Mice and Morro and Jasp. It’s conveniently in the same venue.

(Steve Fisher)

The Taming of the Shrew
Shakespeare BASH’d

PERFORMANCES:
Thursday, July 5, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 6, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 7, 9:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 8, 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 10, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 12, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 13, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 14, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 15, 5:30 p.m.

VENUE:
Victory Cafe (581 Markham Street)

We’ve seen various interpretations of Shakespeare’s battle of the wills over the years: a John Wayne western, a teen comedy, and a play within a classic Broadway musical. Given the bawdiness of the material, a bar seems like a natural setting. Will the impending real-life nuptials of lead actors Julia Nish-Lapidus and James Wallis provide electricity in the vein of past couplings like Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor?

(Jamie Bradburn)

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