Tag Archives: theatre

Access to London Culture Can Start at the Fringes

By Jay Menard

Interested in dipping your toes into London’s theatre scene? It can be intimidating jumping in with two feet — so why not approach theatre from the Fringe?

The London Fringe Festival kicks off tomorrow and it’s a great opportunity for you to explore theatre in a relaxed, low-barrier-of-entry way. And I wanted to take this opportunity to share my experiences, both specific to Fringe and as someone who has seen (and reviewed) my fair share of theatre over the years.

I’ll be reviewing some of this year’s plays at theatreinlondon.ca. And I’d like to encourage you to get out and see a show or 12. Here’s why:

But First — The Name is Misleading

Let’s just get this out of the way. The term “Fringe” is a potential barrier for the mainstream theatregoer. The average casual attendee who thinks nothing of dropping serious money on multiple mountings of Elf or The Buddy Holly story at The Grand, or are lining up for the remount of Rocky Horror (third time’s the charm, I guess!) often blanch at the idea of a Fringe play. Continue reading

Fringe Review 2016 – Darkness, Light, Truth, and Lies

By Jay Menard,

How do you tell someone something they don’t already know when you don’t even know what you know?

Passionfool Theatre’s latest production features Justin Quesnelle reproducing Here Lies Henry, a 1995 play written by Daniel MacIvor. We enter this world out of darkness into the light. We have experiences. And then we exit the world of light, back through a tunnel of dark.

So are we our experiences? What can we share that is new, when we don’t know what is real? Or what if what is real is all just a lie – what if that lie is perpetuated by ourselves? And what if those experiences are only recitations of lies, performed by the liar? Continue reading

Fringe Review 2016 – The Tale of Two Tailors – A Lively Look at a Classic Tale

By Jay Menard

Rabbit Moon Theatre’s presentation of The Tale of Two Tailors is a raucous romp through a familiar fable that’s sure to delight young and old alike.

The Tale of Two Tailors is a presentation of Hans Christian Andersen’s Emperor’s New Clothes fable that has been told and retold countless times. But the dynamic acting, the wink-and-nod asides, and the general enthusiasm of three actors presenting this well-known tale ensures that the Tale of Two Tailors feels fresh and engaging. Continue reading

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