Downton Victoria

B.C. is the most British of all the Canadian Provinces and nowhere in B.C. is more British than the capital city of Victoria. ​

Category: Theatre

2015 Fringe Notes: Day 8: Best Meal and Bear Dreams

On Day 8, we went to see The Best Meal You Ever Ate and Bear Dreams.

The Best Meal You Ever Ate


Written by Bruce L. Bloom/Dramatic Comedy/PG14+/Site B: Congregation Emanu-El(1461 Blanshard)

Site B is Victoria Fringe’s latest venue, yet this is the oldest synagogue in Canada and Western North America(!)

My husband is Jewish, so we have done the tour or this beautiful synagogue before, but last night we were pleasantly surprised how they have transformed the part of it as black box theatre. My husband call them affectionately “my people”; “As you know, my people loves show business” 🙂

Avram and Netti are the last two Jews left alive in the ghetto fighting the Nazis, when an unexpected visitor arrives with a sublime multi-course meal…but is it kosher?

The scene is set in the ghetto and the space had a very intimate feeling. We sat right in the front row and the actors were only few feet away. At the beginning, they showed several photos from the war time and my husband said he couldn’t help but to get all emotional every time he sees/hears about the time.

We were pleasantly surprised with the show. Avral and Netti are starving. They see a man in white walking towards them. It was Jean-Paul, a very talented chef, with amazing meal in a basket. Are they dreaming? Why is he doing this to them??

Interesting thing about this play is that they actually do have real food on the table and actors eat them. They looked delicious!

All the actors were very good, particularly Jean-Paul. It’s a short play with just one act, but it’s a story of hope and we left feeling happy. They have one more show left on Sunday, September 6 – 2:00pm.

I’m looking forward to seeing more shows at this venue in the future.

For Body and Light Presents: Bear Dreams


Written and created by Ian Ferrier and Stéphanie Morin-Robert/Dance/Venue 3: Metro Studio(1411 Quadra)

I had the privilege of meeting the director and choreographer Stéphanie Morin-Robert when she was in town to perform Me, Myself and Eye at Uno fest. This time, she is back with inter-generational collaboration with poet and spoken word artist Ian Ferrier.

We had a nice surprise at the beginning of the performance. Ian said everywhere they go, they try to connect with the literary community, and last night it was a poet and Victoria city councillor Jeremy Loveday who read couple of his poems. This was a nice touch.

Then Ian started narrating his story of Bear Dreams while playing his guitar. It’s a story of a young couple who go searching, first for each other, and then the heart of winter. The show starts with the couple lying on the pillows on the floor in the dark. Then, Stéphanie walks in with this really cool pendant light. After this, the light and the dance will mesmerize you. The theatre is mostly pitch black, except for the pendant light for a while. It is fascinating.

I’m not a dancer but love watching dances. So is my husband. Frankly, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show -but honestly, I have never seen anything like this.

The young lovers’ dance is breathtaking. Ian continues his narration of the story. He read very calmly and the guitar is mostly played low…it is quite meditative. I have to be honest here, I wasn’t really listening to the story…because I was so fascinated watching the dancers.

Then the giant white parachute appears on stage. Dancer Danika Cormier’s moves with this parachute captivated me. Soon this becomes a giant ice field…it was so imaginative and beautiful.

Two dancers continue to dance outside and inside the parachute (when they are inside, all we can see is their movement and shadows, but that is still mesmerizing).

Eventually, Stephanie would walk into the audience and without saying anything, bring several volunteers onto the stage. I got to be one of them! We were handed the parachute (like we did in kindergarten), then asked to go inside the giant air bubble. Inside, we strangers all smiled quietly. Dancers continued to dance. We were given small lights to shine onto the parachute while dancers danced…it was almost magical. Like I said, I have never seen/done anything like it.

It was beautiful, graceful and touching. Do not miss this show if you want to be inspired. Highly recommended.

Three more shows left:

Friday, September 4 – 5:30pm

Saturday, September 5 – 7:30pm

Sunday, September 6 – 6:45pm


Other show notes I’ve written from 2015 Fringe:

Tipped and Tipsy by Jill Vice

Stories of Love and Passion by Rosie Bitts

The Untitled Sam Mullins Project by Sam S. Mullins

Almost A Stepmom by Keara Barnes

The Exclusion Zone by Martin Dockery

The Birdmann in Momentous Timing 

How Often Do I Dream… by Katie Dorian 

Pretending Things Are A Cock by Jon Bennett

The Old Woman by John Grady

2015 Fringe Notes: Day 7 – The Old Woman

See the bottom of the post for links to other show notes.

Day 7

The Old Woman


Written and performed by John Grady/Storytelling/Venue 7: Fairfield Hall (1303 Fairfield)

This was a true word-of-mouth pick. This show was totally under my radar but I’ve heard from several people from Sam Mullins to Megan, our amazing volunteer coordinator, that we must go see John Grady, and boy, am I glad I went. I’ve obviously been living under the rock. He’s starred in off Broadway show,  The Moth, been in the Blue Man Group, and numerous TV shows.

This was the hands down the best show I’ve seen this year so far. He’s just…in a whole different level.

It’s John’s turn to take care of his mom at assisted living facility. He is out of work except for dog walking gig. The story starts at a part where he is walking the dogs in a park in LA. My very first impression was, “Oh, he talks fast.” But don’t worry, it’s part of the show. He knows what he’s doing.

It’s a mix of real stories, musings,  internal thoughts and a fairy tale. His writing is phenomenal, it’s almost tangible. It made me want to put my hands out and hug them. (“Meow meow, Gracie.”) His move is impeccable and breathtaking. It’s a little sad and you might even call it dark…but there is plenty of funny parts and most importantly, heartbreakingly, stunningly beautiful. He is a master and a pro. Well worth more than $11. I couldn’t believe it. I’m so grateful to have seen this show. If you don’t go see it, you are missing out.

Only two more shows left!

Saturday, September 5 – 2:15pm

Sunday, September 6 – 2:15pm

Other show notes I’ve written from 2015 Fringe:

Tipped and Tipsy by Jill Vice

Stories of Love and Passion by Rosie Bitts

The Untitled Sam Mullins Project by Sam S. Mullins

Almost A Stepmom by Keara Barnes

The Exclusion Zone by Martin Dockery

The Birdmann in Momentous Timing 

How Often Do I Dream… by Katie Dorian 

Pretending Things Are A Cock by Jon Bennett

2015 Fringe Notes: Day 5 & Day 6

My Fringe notes continues. See the bottom of the post for links to other shows.

Victoria Fringe Day 5

Exclusion Zone

The Birdmann in Momentous Timing

Day 6

How Often Do I Dream

Pretending Things Are A Cock

The Exclusion Zone 


Written and performed by Martin Dockery/Storytelling/Venue 5: St.Andrews School (1002 Pandora)

This was my first time to see Martin’s show. It’s a true story about a strange book about a Russian Sci-Fi movie. This was quite unique, from the part he explains about the transition of the show, to the fact he has the book with him and often reads off of it.

Martin is a passionate storyteller who talks with his hands (My husband, who is from California, said it’s the American thing and he was pleased to see it). The story is about the book, the movie, and his own trip to the Russian ghost town near Chernobyl. He is a skilled storyteller and pulls the audience in with his excitement. There are a lot of funny moments, including his experience at the Burning Man,  but in the end it comes down to your creativity. What is the meaning of life? Why do we do what we do? This show somehow reminded me of Chase Padgett’s Six Guitars, which I had a privilege of seeing at Uno Fest back in May. You should see the show if you want to know the answer. Hint? Art.

Three shows left:

Thursday, September 3 – 7:15pm

Friday, September 4 – 5:45pm

Saturday, September 5 – 6:45pm

The Birdmann in Momentous Timing


Written and performed by Birdmann/Comedy Cabaret Theatre/Venue 1: Victoria Event Centre(1415 Broad)

The Birdmann from Australia has been one of the biggest hits at this year’s Fringe. I’ve tried to get my tickets couple times and they were sold out. Third time is a charm and we finally got to see it on Day 4.  It’s a one-man circus/comedy with a special guest character(?), Egg, from Japan.

After the show I asked Sachi, who plays Egg “What kind of egg are you? Bird’s egg?” and she and Birdmann said they didn’t know yet. The show is about the Birdmann, who lives alone with his dog, and he is lonely. (Awwww.) A lot of the stuff didn’t make sense, and I know it’s not supposed to.  There’s circus performance, dance, magic tricks, and a CUPCAKE. There’s something about Aussie accent—I found the Birdmann adorable and charming. He said he actually quite likes Victoria. Awww. Thanks. They are heading over to Vancouver Fringe.  I look forward to seeing them again and more Egg appearance.

Last show tonight!

Thursday, September 3 – 10:00pm

Day 6

How Often Do I Dream…


Written and performed by Katie Dorian/PG14+/Storytelling/Venue 7: Fairfield Hall (1303 Fairfield)

Another storytelling show. This was pretty interesting. It’s about memory. Upon entering the venue, Katie would greet each audience and tries to remember everyone’s names. She also invites everyone to check out her memory museum and if any of the item sparks a memory, to write down on a post-its and stick it anywhere on the stage. She also serves Jello.

Like her, I find human memory fascinating, so this was very interesting. She shares her personal stories about her grandparents and their memory. She also repeats one woman (her grandmother?) retell her story of meeting her husband. I find that part particularly poignant, heartbreaking yet beautiful, because I retell my personal story of meeting my husband, and I know it will change too. It’s inevitable.

“If we lose our building blocks; our personal stories and histories, ultimately our memories, what are we left with? And if we no longer recognize ourselves, who do we become?” 

I loved this question Katie asked. Really, who do we become? If you want a show that makes you think, this is for you.

There is only one show left! Today!

Thursday, September 3 – 6:00pm

Pretending Things Are A Cock


Written and performed by Jon Bennett/Comedic Storytelling/PG14+/Venue 2: Downtown Activity Centre(755 Pandora)

There are handful of Aussies in this year’s Fringe, and Jon is one of them. I’m not a prude but usually not that into this kind of boyish humour, but at our last board meeting, Intrepid GM Heather told us to get past the title and go see this one. So, here we were. This was also a sold out show.

Jon travelled around the world taking photos pretending things are a cock.It’s a thing now, apparentlyYes, that’s what this show is all about. if you have problem with profanity, this is not for you. He is a hilarious storyteller, relaxed and friendly. I laughed all through the show. Some surprising twists too. If you want to laugh, go see this show. Make sure to get an advanced ticket, this show will sell out.

Friday, September 4 – 6:45pm

Saturday, September 5 – 9:00pm

Sunday, September 6 – 2:45pm


Other show notes I’ve written from 2015 Fringe:

Tipped and Tipsy by Jill Vice

Stories of Love and Passion by Rosie Bitts

The Untitled Sam Mullins Project by Sam S. Mullins

Almost A Stepmom by Keara Barnes

2015 Fringe Notes: Day 2 & Day 4

I’m a bit behind but here are my notes. I wouldn’t really call them “reviews” —I have been seeing shows almost every day this year, and I have encountered some disappointing shows that had great reviews, and of course, opposites.  So don’t rely too much on the reviews, take the risk and go see you feel like seeing.

Day Two:

Tipped and Tipsy by Jill Vice

Stories of Love and Passion by Rosie Bitts

Day Three: I took an evening off after FringeKids on Saturday.

Day Four:

The Untitled Sam Mullins Project by Sam S. Mullins

Almost a Stepmom by Keara Barnes

Tipped and Tipsy


Written and performed by Jill Vice (San Fransisco) /Solo Comedy/PG14+/Venue 7: Fairfield Hall (1303 Fairfield)

I saw Jill walking around with a sign on her back at the Fringe preview. Someone told me she won Pick of Fringe in San Fransisco and my curiosity was piqued. I went to see her on Day 2 at Fairfield Hall.

Have you ever worked in a service industry? I have. I worked as a bartender when I was 19. It was illegal to work at a bar when you are 19 in Japan so my boss told me to tell everyone I was 20. It was fun, I had way more energy than I do now, and I met a lot of amazing (and not-so-amazing) people there. Most of the basic life lessons I learned when I was bartending. Like, The scariest thing in the world, is often people. One of the regulars said that to me one night, and to this day, I believe that.

The show is about a kind, yet skilled bartender Candy, and all the regulars at the bar, Happy’s. It’s a one-person show with no costume change whatsoever. Jill plays 16 different characters— mostly men—flawlessly. It’s full of funny moments and catchy phrases for audience participation. At one point I thought this show was going to be one of those laugh-out-loud funny haha show—there is nothing wrong with that—but there is a good twist in the story and it makes it all heartfelt. Don’t worry, it won’t be all soppy, there is an epic slo-mo scene as well.


I’ve had the privilege to chat with Jill after the show and also at length at Fringe Club last night. I am impressed with her dedication to the show. The show sold out few days ago and I am not at all surprised. It’s hilarious and touching. Make sure you go see it.

Only two more shows left:

Saturday September 5 – 7:30pm

Sunday September 6 – 5:45pm

Stories of Love and Passion


Written and performed by Rosie Bitts (Victoria)/Storytelling, Cabaret, Burlesque/Adults Only/Venue 7: Fairfield Hall

After seeing Jill’s show, I stayed to watch my friend Rosie’s show. She is a hugely popular burlesque star in Victoria, and it was apparent that she has a big fan base. Audience were full of giggling women and some familiar faces from the burlesque community. Rosie is perhaps the most feminine friend I have. She is always sweet and kind, impeccably dressed—no wonder she has many fans.  I have seen Rosie’s burlesque performance few times, but this was the first time I saw Stories of Love and Passion.

Burlesque is certainly a part of this show, but there are also storytelling  and music. I was pleasantly surprised how funny it was. Of course, they are all sex stories, but she shares them with humour without being overly raunchy. It was almost like I was at a slumber party and she was sharing some of the funniest (and some poignant) moments. Burlesque and musical performances accompanied by “Jeffrey” (Jeff Poynter) was quite lovely too.  I think he and Rosie has great chemistry.  I left feeling quite entertained —I got to laugh, I got to see the burlesque and enjoy music. And of course, it’s very intimate and sexy. Totally worth your money. Go see it.

There are two more shows coming up:

Saturday September 5 – 5:45pm

Sunday September 6 – 7:30pm

The Untitled Sam Mullins Project


Written and Performed by Sam S. Mullins/Storytelling Comedy/ Venue 4: VCM Wood Hall (907 Pandora)

I LOVE This American Life. I also love The Moth. I love me good storytelling.  There are many storytelling shows at this year’s Fringe, and this has been my favourite so far. I didn’t know anything about Sam Mullins, that he actually studied theatre at Uvic, but as soon as he came onto the stage and uttered few words, I was hooked. He has great projection and obviously properly trained actor. I was sitting in the very last row at the Wood Hall, and I had no problem seeing/hearing him.

Sam starts the story with the part he walks into an improv class on Blanshard Street. There he was asked to write down some truths he knows. It’s a story about his truths as he knows it.

Man he’s good. Sam is an excellent storyteller and I’m a sucker for excellent storytellers. I have several “theatre crushes“- which I feel for amazing artists. Sam Mullins is my latest addition to the list. His delivery is effective and writing fantastic. I loved all the stories but especially the one “Life is fleeting”. How true it is.

I understand some stories don’t necessarily have proper endings, and that’s okay, but one of the things I loved about this show was that in the end, it beautifully came together. It shows his talent as a great writer. This is the kind of show I’d gladly watch twice. This is a show not to be missed.

Four more shows left:

Wednesday, September 2 – 6:00pm

Friday, September 4 – 10:00pm

Saturday, September 5 – 7:15pm

Sunday, September 6 – 4:45pm

Almost A Stepmom 

Written and performed by Keara Barnes/Solo Comedy, Storytelling/PG14+/Venue 4: VCM Wood Hall

Another Uvic Theatre graduate actor Keara Barnes from Vancouver. After graduating, Keara moved to Ireland—for six months. Six months turned to three years. She met a guy. He had a daughter. Almost A Stepmom is a true story of her experience.

Just before the show starts, a woman (Keara) with a thick Irish accent with a glass of wine strut out onto the stage and starts yelling at the audience. She is harsh, rude and she doesn’t seem to care. Turns out, that is She Who Must Not Be Named, a character of Keara’s boyfriend, Joe’s ex. Keara tells the story of her move to Ireland, meeting Joe, his daughter Efa, and She Who Must Not Be Named. It’s a very short show (35 minutes) but she is a good actor – changing into four or five different characters effortlessly. With Irish accent it’s no small feat!

I related to the story because I am in a blended family (although I’m not the stepmom-my husband is the stepdad). Also, as a mom, I’d hate to see any child suffering. So it definitely tug at my heartstrings. I look forward to seeing more shows by Keara.

Three more shows left:

Thursday, September 3 – 5:00pm

Saturday, September 5 – 5:45pm

Sunday, September 6 – 8:30pm

The 29th Annual Victoria Fringe – Fringe at your own risk!

Fringefeaturedimage11It’s that time of year again. Fringe! 

As you know, I’m on the board for Intrepid Theatre, so I’ve been busy helping them get ready for this annual awesomeness.

Last night was the Fringe Preview & Block Party, and tonight Fringe officially opened. I’ll be around the venue, fundraising for Intrepid (We are selling WestJet Raffle – 2 Round Trip tickets to anywhere WestJet flies.  Find me around Fringe or contact me if you want to reserve tickets), volunteering at FringeKids and Fringe Club etc. I will do my best to do reviews here.

My first show for 2015 was “I Can’t Tell You”.


I Can’t Tell You Caitlin McFarlane and Vincent Leblanc-Beaudoin

Comedic Collage/PG14+/Venue 6: Langham Court Theatre(805 Langham Court)

I wasn’t sure what to expect; I live right around the corner from Langham Court so I decided to go last minute to celebrate the first day of Fringe. Caitlin and Vincent are super friendly, easy-on-the-eyes (Caitlin is like a young Reese Witherspoon) duo from Vancouver. This is their first time at Victoria Fringe.

This variety-show-style show’s theme is “Lies”. Everybody lies. There are some really clever lines and theories on lies and secrets. I won’t spoil you, but expect a lot of fun audience participations. Vincent and Caitlin are easily relatable and I really enjoyed the show.  Langham Court’s intimate setting also helps. Recommended!

A Quiet Sip of Coffee – OUTstages Festival 2015

Intrepid Theatre launched OUTstages Festival, Victoria’s first queer theatre festival. I just came back from watching A Quiet Sip of Coffee(or, this is not the play we’ve written) by Animal Parts from Toronto/NYC.aqsoc+website+photos

In the summer of 2004, Anthony and Nathan – self-proclaimed “gay-straight best friend duo” – undergo two weeks of gay conversion therapy in rural B.C. Years later, still struggling to come to terms with the events of that summer – and finding it impossible to agree on what exactly transpired – the friends reunite on stage to tell their conflicting stories.

I just happened to sit right in the middle of the theatre(which was a SOLD OUT show, by the way), and thanks to that (?), I got to participate in the play! Before the show, Anthony came over and asked me if I’d read couple lines during the show. Oh, OK. I was a bit nervous, but it was fun to participate.

The show is based on the true story, and of course there are a lot of fun/funny bits added. The fact that such a camp -gay conversion camp- exists, is truly messed up, but Anthony and Nathan(Both Studio 58 alumni)’s storytelling is superb and they really pulls you into the story they may or may not have written. It’s hard not to like these gay-straight best friend duo.

It’s hilarious, silly, crazy and heartbreaking. You will not regret seeing it. And what does the title mean? You just need to watch it to find out.

There is one more show of A Quiet Sip of Coffee at Intrepid Theatre Club(1609 Blanshard) on Sunday July 12, 2015 at 7pm.

Ticket might be sold out online at TicketRocket(I cannot find the link to the Sunday show), but there should be some left at the door.

OUTstages continues throughout the weekend until July 12th.

Uno Fest May 8-24

unoIntrepid Theatre’s Uno Fest starts today. What is Uno? It’s an international festival of one-person shows and they are back for the 18th year.

16 shows over 2 weeks. You can enjoy quality shows from Toronto, Montreal, Portland, Vancouver, UK, and of course, Victoria.

My husband and I have been a big fan of the Fringe Festival, another festival produced by Intrepid, but this will be our first time to experience Uno.  I’m starting tonight with 6 Guitars by Chase Padgett from Portland, and then Victoria’s own Mike Delamont‘s God is a Scottish Drag Queen II. So excited!

I have never thought about it, but last week someone told me Uno festival shows are all very good, because it’s a curated collection. Also, what makes Uno cool is that every opening night at Uno fest is Pay-What-You-Can for tickets at the door. Disclaimer: I’m a new board member for Intrepid Theatre.  And what I really love about this company is that they strive for accessible theatre. So, if, for some reason you cannot afford a ticket, go to the first performances.

Shows are either at Metro Studio(1411 Quadra) or at Intrepid Theatre Club (#2-1609 Blanshard at Fisgard)

Regular ticket price for shows at Metro Studio is $20, shows at Intrepid Theatre Club is $18. They also have a sharable 5-Show pass for $85.

All the show details are available at Intrepid Theatre website. I will be going to most of the shows – please let me know if you are going to any of the shows, if you need a company, or have any questions.

Special Event – Dark Monday

Uno Fest fundraiser Dark Monday is on May 11th at Phillips Brewery (2100 Government Street)!

Uber popular event that is sure to sell out. Enjoy pizzas from The Joint Pizzaria and amazing open taps beer from Phillips. The ticket also includes a ticker to any performance at Uno Fest. Crazy deal.

We are going! Who’s coming?

Buy your tickets here.



3rd Annual Family Theatre Festival

familyfestIt’s May! My favourite month.  From now until fall, this is Victoria’s best festival season.

Kicking off the season is 3rd Annual Family Theatre Festival this weekend on May 2-3.

Four local theatres in Victoria, Kaleidoscope Theatre, Theatre SKAM, Puente Theatre and Intrepid Theatre are hosting this amazing family fun.  I love theatre, and try to see as many shows as possible with my kids.  At this year’s Family Theatre Festival, there will be 4 shows throughout the weekend at Metro Studio. Quality theatre experiences appropriate for kids as little as 4 years old!  All shows are at Metro Studio (1411 Quadra Street). You can learn more about each shows on their website, but here are the lineups.


I Have Seen Beautiful Jim Key  | Presented by Intrepid Theatre | May 2-3 12:00pm | Recommended for ages 5+

A new play by 2014 GG Finalist Janet Munsil, inspired by the true story of an educated horse and the remarkable man who trained him. Using only patience and kindness (and apple slices) former slave, William “Doc” Key, trained his ugly duckling of a horse, Jim, to read and count. Their traveling show in the early 1900s was an inspiration for millions of school children learning their letters and numbers, while illustrating the importance of being kind to animals.


Pinkalicious: The Musical | Presented by Kaleidoscope’s Teen Ensemble | May 2-3 2:00pm | Recommended for ages 4+

This is the tale, based on the popular book by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann, of Pinkalicious, who can’t stop eating pink cupcakes despite warnings from her parents. Her pink indulgence lands her at the doctor’s office with Pinkititis, an affliction that turns her pink from head to toe – a dream come true for this pink loving enthusiast. But when her hue goes too far, only Pinkalicious can figure out a way to get out of this pink predicament.


The Umbrella | Presented by Puente Theatre and The Old Trout Puppet Workshop | May 2-3 5:00pm | Recommended for ages 4+

Based on the book by Judd Palmer (which was shortlisted for Canada’s Governor-General’s Award for Children’s Literature), The Umbrella is a love story about a man and his umbrella; but one storm-struck day a certain sinister crow threatens their happiness together. The set is a theatrical-storm contraption, complete with thunder sheet, wind machine, and rainspout; the puppet stage is a huge bucket. The show is a small-scale piece for families, created and performed by Mercedes Bátiz-Benét and Judd Palmer, with music composed by Julia Knight. The Umbrella is a co-production between Puente Theatre and The Old Trout Puppet Workshop, with music performed by Bučan Bučan, Victoria’s beloved Balkan brass marching band.


Runaway | Presented by Theatre SKAM | May 2-3 7:00pm | Recommended for ages 10+

Sixteen-year-old activist Sam Stewart values the environment so much she won’t even eat fish. She’s gone under the radar to organize a rally hosted by David Suzuki – who hasn’t shown up! Now she’ll have to convince her supporters to help save the world from an alien threat much more urgent than Global Warming. Can she save the world with the help of her sister, seasoned environmentalist Annie Stewart, or will she have to go it alone?

Runaway is a bittersweet slice of life with a dash of humor and a pinch of song.  It’s a heartfelt meditation on growing up in an uncertain world, moving on the face of tragedy, and leaving the world in better shape than you found it.

They all sound so great. We are definitely checking them out.

Get your tickets at Ticket Rocket: All shows for Family Theatre Festival is $12 for adult,  $10 for student/senior/child

$40 Family Theatre Festival Sharable Pass is now sold out!(Passes can be used as 5 tickets to 1 show or 5 tickets to any combination of shows. ), but limited amount of Family Passes will be available at the door.

See you at Metro Studio!

Victoria Fringe Festival 2014

It’s time for Victoria Fringe Festivalfavourite festivals in Victoria, and I try to catch as many shows as possible in between my crazy life. Here are my notes on shows I’ve seen. (I will add as I see more shows.)

Unpossible! by Travis Bernhardt

IMPROV CLUB: An Improvised Chuck Pahlaniuk by Dave Morris

The New Conformity by Implied Intuition

High Tea by James & Jamesy

The Suitcase of Wonders: Comedy Magic Show by Ryan Pilling

Magical Mystery Detour by Gemma Wilcox

The Middle of Everywhere by Wonderheads

Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl by Rebecca Perry

Unpossible! by Travis Bernhardt


Magic show/Venue 6: Fairfield Hall/All Ages

My first Fringe show was by Travis Bernhardt. He is a professional magician based in Vancouver. I love a good magic show! Don’t you?
Apparently there are six magic shows at this year’s Fringe. Yippee!

I saw Travis on the Fringe Preview on Wednesday in Centennial Square and thought he was funny.
Bonus point: It’s an all-ages show. So I took my teenage son with me.

My friend Laura once told me about this; when you’re in a live show environment -be it a speech or entertainment – you’re often 1) Afraid of the speaker 3)Afraid of each other.
I often worry about the person on the stage when he or she seems nervous or uncomfortable. That’s 2).

Travis was very good at playing the nervous, not-so-confident magician. I say he was playing, because his trick were all pretty amazing, Don’t trust this guy. He says he made a mistake…but now, did he, really?

The problem with magic shows is that you can’t really tell you what happens in the show.  You will know what I mean when you see it. In short, MIND. BLOWN.

Again, I can’t tell you too much without spoiling it for you.
Even after the show, I w it’s incredible. You can enjoy the show well after you’ve finished watching it.

I urge you to see Unpossible! You won’t regret it.

UPDATE: Unpossible! Won the Pick of the Fringe in Favourite Cabaret/Variety/Magic Show category. Congrats!!!



IMPROV CLUB: An Improvised Chuck Palahniuk by Dave Morris

improv club

Comedy, Improv/Venue 1: Victoria Event Center /PG14+

Second show I got to see this year was Dave Morris’ IMPROV CLUB: An Improvised Chuck Palahniuk. I love Dave Morris, and I’m not the only one. He’s got a pretty big following here. There’s something about him, and I find him so funny. I’ve been a fan since I saw him in “Life and Death of Dave Morris” at 2012 Singe Festival.
My 16-year-old son, who is an aspiring actor, was interested in seeing Improv Club, so I took him along with me.
As the title suggests, this show is an homage to Fight Club. First rule of the Improv Club is… Chuck Palahniuk fan to enjoy this show.
As he always does, Dave asks the audience some questions to get the story going. The night we saw it, his job was neuropsychologist. And the story unfolded with an neuropsychologist and his strange patients…
I really enjoy improv shows. Dave is a pro at getting the story going, and had the audience laughing most of the time. It was a bit of a dark ending for the evening we saw it, but the fun thing about improv is that you never get the same show twice. You can go see every show and still get different stories. If you want to laugh, go see the Improv Club...and tell everyone about it.

UPDATE: Dave Morris Won the Pick of The Fringe in Congats Dave!!! 

The New Conformity by Implied Intuition

Contemporary Theatrical Circus/Venue 3: Metro Studio/All Ages

Today I went to see The New Conformity with my 6-year-old. At shows I’ve seen so far, or in the lineups, I’ve heard that the “juggler guys” are really good. These tips from other Fringe goers are so useful! Besides, we saw them juggle at Market Square during FringeKids festival, so I knew they were good.
My son and I took the first row seats. The four guys came out, all in suits – and they started juggling. Everything was in sync, and beautiful. But eventually— a misfit breaks out from the team and starts doing his own thing. I loved this first guy —Chris Murdoch— with a stunning crystal-ball-rolling act. The balls are a lot heavier than the juggling balls. Seriously mesmerizing.
One by one, a member breaks out from the team, or “society”, as I interpreted it, and finds individuality. There is no talking in this show, but the story and the characters were very clear, and I’d like to congratulate the team on that.

There were also rings, hat tricks, stage combat, dance, and of course, lots of juggling. Oh, also there were many “Whose hand is this anyway?” amazing juggling trick moments, which was fascinating. I have never seen anything like it. It was a very sophisticated circus. With great music!
What I especially liked in this show, just like in Unpossible!,  was, calculated mistakes. You’d think they screwed up on something, but in fact, it is often very much the part of the plan.
Another thing to note is that one of the members, Yuki Ueda is Japanese— I love meeting Japanese talents in Canada, and Yuki and I got to chat a little bit after the show. He said that the Victoria Fringe was the debut of this New Conformity, and they’d started practicing around spring. This show —the story of transformation and conformity— was written by Sean Bossard, and they worked together to polish it. It was extremely well done. I would love to see them again. Still not convinced? See the trailer here.

UPDATE: The New Conformity Won Pick of the Fringe 2014 for Favourite Show!!!! Congrats!!! 

 High Tea by James & Jamesy

James and Jamesy

Physical Comedy/ Venue 4: VCM Wood Hall/All Ages

I saw James & Jamesy at last year’s Fringe Preview, but sadly I missed their actual show, 2 for Tea. This year, they’re back with HIGH TEA. I barely knew much about them, except for that they are really good. When we were in the lineup for The New Conformity, James gave us his flyer and reminded us that his show was for all ages, so again, we took out 6-year-old with us. The venue was packed. Many people brought their own tea cups as per the instruction on the flyer and tea was served for those who were so inclined.
Again, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the show, but I was laughing out loud from the get go. 4th wall was broken, and the audience participated. It starts out as physical comedy with James and Jamesy with their crazy imagination. They find out they are drowning in the sea of high tea! No wonder people loved this. The whole house was participating, and my son was having a blast. But it’s not just funny. It’s also very, very well written. It’s a story about their adventure as well as their friendship. I was also fascinated with their miming – I mean, when they are drowning, they look like they’re drowning! That’s talent.
Halfway through the show, I was starting to believe this was just it, funny-improv like style. But I was wrong. The ending was pure brilliance. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Wow.

UPDATE: High Tea won Pick of the Fringe for Favourite Comedy! Congrats!!!

Suitcase of Wonders: Comedy Magic Show by Ryan Pilling

Ryan Pilling

Magic Show/Venue 8: The Roxy Theatre/All Ages

Saturday at 5:54pm – so we had families and rather “intimate” crowd. It was my first time at The Roxy Theatre, and it was lovely, but maybe it wasn’t the best venue for a magic show. Of course, it is not at all the magician Ryan Pillling‘s fault. It started out somewhat cheesy, but in the end, it starts to grow on you. (No, really!) It was a good family fun, almost all the audience got to participate in the show (I got to write my name on a card, and it magically reappeared in the most expected way. Awesome. ) Ryan is friendly and easy to relate to. I liked this guy! Hope he comes back next year. I love magic shows.  It’s an art of distraction and misdirection. There is one more show this afternoon (Sunday) at 2pm. Take your kids!

Magical Mystery Detour by Gemma Wilcox

gemma wilcox

Comedy-Drama/Venue 2: Downtown Activity Center/PG13+

I didn’t know much about this show, and I assume that is usually the case, unless you 1) Are huge fan of the performer 2) Have seen the show elsewhere 3) Did all the homework before coming to the show.

But I think “not knowing what to expect” should almost be the point of the Fringe Festival. Taking risks and discovering something new.
Gemma Wilcox‘s Magical Mystery Detour, is a one-woman show about Sandra, who goes to see her aunt after her mother’s death. It was absolutely mesmerizing as she performed a total of 23 characters – human, animals, mythical, and steel! The first word that came to mind was SOLID. She knew what she was doing and we could just relax and marvel at her talent. What a privilege.
So many hilarious moments, but my favourite character was the Tree.
As soon as the show starts, it pulls you into the story with great force. 60 minutes fly by. It was funny, but also heartbreaking. There is one last show today at 2pm. Don’t miss it.

UPDATE: Gemma Wilcox Won Pick of the Fringe for Best Female Performer! Congrats Gemma! 

The Middle of Everywhere by Wonderheads


Last day of Fringe. I went to see The Middle of Everywhere by Wonderheads. They are from Portland, OR, and they actually produce these masks themselves. They specializes in visual storytelling, without words.
Whimsical comedy with quirky masks about two (+1) strangers who unexpectedly set out for an adventure of time and space. Really cute and funny. Lots of dancing and fun music. I think my kids would have enjoyed this. Hope they come back!

UPDATE: Wonderheads won Pick of the Fringe in Favourite Visual Theatre/Puppetry! Congrats!! 

Confessions of a Readheaded Coffeeshop Girl by Rebecca Perry

Readheaded CSG

Joanie Little, with an anthropology degree works at a coffee shop. Her hero is Jane Goodall, and she studies her “animals” at her coffee shop just like her… It’s a solo comedy/musical. Man, the girl can sing! There are several musical numbers in the show and it was a pure joy of listening to a great singer. Funny line- “15 minute break is long enough to know how tired you are, but can’t do anything about it.” Funny, feel-good story with a happy ending. Perfect way to end my Fringe 2014. I want Rebecca Perry back in Victoria!

I’d like to thank Intrepid Theatre for putting such an amazing event, and particularly my friend Connie McConnell for helping me out with all these shows so that I can review them. Looking forward to the next year!


© 2023 Downton Victoria

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑