Following the success of last year's blog post, and in the spirit of mutual promotion and artistic community, I have spent the morning culling down my "Must See" Fringe List of 30 shows down to the Top 10 that I am most excited for! There are literally dozens of others I am looking forward to and I'm sure many of my favourites will completely blind side me, but two days before Toronto's biggest Theatre Festival commences for another year, these are my picks.
DISCLAIMER: I have not seen these shows in their final form, if at all, and all recommendations are based largely on friendships and trust in the talents of the artists involved. So not biased at all.
BUT FIRST: This year, I have the privilege of producing Alexander Offord's award winning new play "Potosí" for his company, good old neon. Potosí was the winning of the 2014 Fringe Best New Play Contest and as such is expected to sell very well. Avoid lines and pre-sale fees by joining us THIS WEDNESDAY at 10:30 PM for the world premiere of this exciting and dangerous new play. You'll laugh, you'll think, but you'll also be terrified.
Tickets available at the door, or in advance HERE. It's also the second last day to donate to our crowdsourcing campaign - click here to check it out!
And now, the TOP 10....
52 PICK UP (Pg. 14)
A tremendously talented group of young actors come together to perform this structural sizzling play that promises to take its chronology from a deck of cards - a different show each night! Featuring all star talent, including several recent additions to the Soulpepper ensemble, and two company members from Aim for the Tangent's past season: Cam Laurie and Ruth Goodwin!
ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL (Pg. 16)
I missed this play by seconds after sprinting from another venue at the Atlantic Fringe last summer. Performer and Playwright Nancy Kenny is a crackerjack personality, however, and after touring the country, I can't wait to finally catch this one woman powerhouse take on Toronto!
VALKYRIE (Pg. 16)
It promises to be a great year for the Tarragon Extra Space! Also at this venue is "Valkyrie", from Rarely Pure Theatre. I caught their excellent production of "As You Like It" this past winter and was thoroughly impressed by the work of this indie company. One of my favourite performers, Katie Ribout, is featured in it. Plus it's got a kick ass poster!
HUGH AND I (Pg. 20)
From some of the team that brought past Best of Fringe hit "Funny Business" (a major influence on my young pre-Fringe self), this musical about Hugh Hefner features some mega-talented musical theatre ladies and some great original music by Daniel Abrahamson (who also stars). The musical I'm most looking forward to!
I saw this performed last fall and loved it, but that was before a national and New York tour. Sufficed to say I'm very excited to see how much it's grown and laugh and cheer on Rebecca Perry as she makes her triumphant return to Toronto! A must see if you're a twenty-something, a redhead, or a coffeeshop girl.
THE TROJAN WOMEN (Pg. 24)
Directed by Peter Pasyk, who I worked with this past year on Sean Dixon's "A God in Need of Help" at Tarragon, this giant cast features the graduating class of Randolph Academy. An epic Greek collosus, with a lead part described as the "female King Lear", I can't wait to see what Pasyk brings to this timeless tale.
THREE MEN IN A BOAT (Pg. 26)
A new play by one of my favourite Canadian playwrights, Mark Brownell, directed by one of my favourite directors, Sue Miner, and featuring two of my favourite actors (and people), Matt Pilipiak and Scott Garland? No, I'm not biased at all. Seriously though, Pea Green Theatre has been selling out Fringe shows since the first year of the Toronto Fringe and is sure to make another big splash with this new show. Get tickets early!
AN ODE TO DYADS (Pg. 52)
I saw a preview of this highly physical and fiercely intelligent clown piece (or is it a fiercely clowny play of ideas?) at the Paprika Festival in April and was blown away by the dark comedic chops of these two young performers. The piece has since been developed and expanded and I can't wait to see it.
CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE (Pg. 66)
I don't know much about this site-specific post-apocalyptic play other than that it allegedly features some pretty radical mixed-media innovations and features Aim for the Tangent favourite, Amy Marie Wallace (last seen in "Of Shape Transformed by Love"). A script by David Brock makes the package even more attractive. They have lots of shows, but seating is limited so book early!
SUMMER SPECTACULAR (Pg. 64)
This is a big one. Literally. Giant. Like, giant puppets. And the sun. I'm telling you, this one is huge.
I spent the better part of last year working with Jacob Zimmer and Small Wooden Show on a variety of projects and was privvy to some of the pre-pre-pondering surrounding this show. I haven't seen the fruits of the labours yet, but knowing the genius of Jacob ans his amazing team (including Chris Stanton and Susanna Fournier). Be excited. Be really excited.
OTHER SHOWS I'M REALLY EXCITED FOR:
The Common Ground, Julius Caesar, Punch Up (by Kat Sandler!), All in the Timing, Myth of the Ostrich, Red Headed Step Child, Never Swim Alone, Sean and Steven Run for Mayor, Love's Labour's Lost, Chasing Margaret Fleetwood, and True.
Plus, like 20 more but I have to go deliver postcards.
Expect updates as I actually see some shows, but for now - as the Fringe would say - GO OUT AND SEE SOME THEATRE!