Fringe Review 2016 – A Holy Trinity – Third Time’s the Charm for “God”

By Jay Ménard

For someone who takes to the stage barefoot, Mike Delamont’s ability to slide into the character of God is as comfortable as a favourite pair of well-worn shoes.

Delamont’s back in London for his third iteration of his series, God is a Scottish Drag Queen. The easiest way to describe it is that God is a professional-quality stand-up show on the Fringe stage. And, for those new to the Fringe or perhaps with some trepidation of what to see, it’s one of the must-attend productions on the circuit.

God is not as you may remember from Sunday School. He has traded in his robes and flowing hair for, well, a more sensible haircut, and a slightly less flowy blouse/power suit combo.  And, of course, he delivers each line in a lilting Scottish brogue. Continue reading

Fringe Review 2016 – Dancing on the Dark Side – A Fringe Recital

By Jay Ménard,

It was the seminal rap group Whodini who stated, “The Freaks Come Out at Night.” And not only were the freaks on display in The London Dance Ensemble’s Fringe production entitled Dancing on the Dark Side, so were the fairies, fighters, and even a feathered Mohawk.

The production features 18 dancers, ranging in age from eight to 17 – with varying degrees of experience. The show itself is a collection of production numbers, loosely tethered by the concept of “night.” Continue reading

Fringe Review 2016 – Defining Womanhood Through Dance

By Jay Ménard,

How does one carve their own identity, embrace their own idea of femininity and humanity in a world that has structural biases in place that serve to help hold back individuality and encourage conformity? That’s the question The Dance Movement’s company dancers ask – and demand – of its audience in its Palace Theatre production at this year’s London Fringe.

Sit Still Look Pretty challenges the concepts of body perception, the impact of advertising ideals, cosmetic surgery, the struggle to speak up, and the pressure to conform through a series of interpretive dances. Continue reading

Fringe Review 2016 – A Glass Eye Serves as a Window Into One’s Soul

By Jay Ménard

Fringe offers a venue for stories that may not otherwise get told. They afford a performer a level of intimacy that may not be permitted by larger, more cavernous venues, or that may be impeded by a screen.

At its best, Fringe is about sharing stories. It’s about falling in love with a performer and letting him or her transport you away for an hour.

And this year, at London’s Fringe Festival, on the Palace Theatre stage, accompanied only by a microphone for the most part — that’s how a woman with one ‘glass’ eye was able to allow us, the audience, to see clearly into her soul. And it’s how she was able to reach out and touch ours. Continue reading

Fringe 2016 Review – An Off Target Jesse James

By Jay Menard

Despite the legendary shooting acumen of its title character, Mr. Richardson was Jesse James, currently playing at The Palace Theatre as part of the London Fringe Festival, either misses the mark or, more appropriately, may not be sure what target it’s trying to hit.

The play bills itself as an Ontario South Western. But it reminded me more of my youth growing up in Montreal. Frontier Town, located in upstate New York, was a destination of choice for families looking for a vacation spot during the late 70s and early 80s. It was a place where the bad guys wore black hats, the kids would dress up as cowboys, and with cap guns in hand, we’d “shoot” the train robber, get our faces printed on the local newspaper, and walk away heroes. Continue reading

Fringe 2016 Review – 2 for Tea a Masterpiece of Refined Chaos

By Jay Menard,

It is hard to classify James & Jamesy’s 2 for Tea. It is at once a physical comedy and a touching story of friendship and love. It’s at the same time a paean to precision and an exercise in controlled chaos. It is both an homage to the great comedy duos of the past whilst remaining a contemporary delight that keeps getting better.

The easiest way to classify 2 for Tea is to say that it’s a must-see production on this year’s Fringe circuit. Continue reading

A One-Track Focus on LRT Bypasses Needs of the Many to Satisfy Vision of Few

The one thing about trains — when they’re coming your way, you’ve got to be the one that gets out of the path, because they’ll run right through you. And that appears to be the tactic that LRT proponents are using in their emotion-filled arguments responding to City staff’s recommendation for adopting the less-expensive BRT system.

After all, if you’re against LRT, you hate London, right? At least that’s what the tenor of the conversation has been. You hate London, you’re anti-progress unless you’re all-in.

I happen to disagree. And this one-track focus on LRT as the be all and end all of transit solutions is only serving to bypass the needs of the many in its headlong rush to satisfy the vision of a select few. But I guess I foolishly define “progress” by solutions that benefit all demographics. Continue reading