Every year, I put out a list of shows that I really want to see at various Fringes across Canada and every year it always becomes my most popular blog post of the year. So, without further ado, back by popular demand (I think), here's Nancy's MUST SEE List at the 2011 Ottawa Fringe.
Well, first up, hands down, you need to see my show: Roller Derby Saved My Soul. Once you've done that, you may then come back to this post and find out what else I'll be checking out.
Did you go see my show yet? Ok. You may now read on.
STUFF I'VE SEEN Being the theatre traveller that I am, there are many things coming to town that I may have already caught at another festival. The following shows are a guaranteed good-time:
Fruitcake This is Rob Gee's first time at the Ottawa Fringe, but I've seen this show twice already. Yes, twice. Once in Winnipeg and once in Toronto. It's sold out every time. And since he's in the small space that is the Arts Court Library, you can expect more of the same here too.
Canuck Cabaret Ottawa audiences will remember Paul Hutcheson from On Second Thought and Sharon Nowlan from Burlesque Unzipped. They've pooled their considerable talents together for one of the best variety shows I've ever seen. I caught a version at London's Big Comedy Go-To that only included the two of them. This time around, expect a few Fringe favorites (including yours truly!) to pop by and showcase some additional mad skillz.
Fucking Stephen Harper: How I Sexually Assaulted the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada and Saved Democracy I wonder if Rob Salerno would still be presenting this show if the Conservative Government hadn't won the election? I saw one of the very first workshop performances of this piece back when it was just called Fucking Stephen Harper at the, once again, Big Comedy Go-To (where all funny things are born). It was a great little story then and I can't wait to see how it's changed in the past three years. Ottawa audiences will remember Rob from the Best in Venue winning Balls, a funny and touching story about two friends coping with testicular cancer.
Peter n Chris Save the World Since they are two of the funniest guys in the world, it makes sense that they should be the ones to save it. Caught this one at the Toronto Sketch Fest last November. If you saw the Peter N Chris Show at last year's Fringe, you will be pleased to know that the satin jackets once again make an appearance.
PEOPLE I KNOW WHO DO COOL SHIT The following shows I have not seen, but they involve really incredible and talented people I know so I really want to check them out!
Complex Numbers I love all things adorkable and Nadine Thornhill. Now I hear she's forgone pants for the duration of the festival. Icky icky pants. If you do not see this show SHE WILL PUT THEM BACK ON! I am pretty sure none of you want that. However, if that's not enough for you, she's the plywright behind past Ottawa Fringe hits Oreo and The Wedding Night. I once called her Norm Foster meets Gilmore Girls. Directed by the wonderful Ken Godmere, good times are pretty much guaranteed.
Curriculum Vitae Oh Jimmy Hogg! The guy is so fucking charming and falls into the category of "People I would watch read the phone book." Fortunately, I'm pretty sure he's bringing a real show to town, because where the heck do you find a phone book in this day and age? Ottawa Fringe audiences will remember him from his Best Comedy Award for Like A Virgin.
Every Story Ever Told Anything Monster Theatre touches is pure genius. They have not been back to Ottawa since 2002 with THE CANADA SHOW: THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF CANADA IN ONE HOUR. It was incredible. This time, Ryan Gladstone is flying solo and tries to tell every story ever told... By jove, I think he'll do it!
Dying Hard Don't let the fact that it's a drama pull you away. Mikaela Dyke is one of the brightest and most talented women I know working in Canadian theatre today. She wowed me in Winnipeg with her dramatic performance in Reflections on Giving Birth to a Squid and then turned everything upside down with her incredible comedic chops at the Big Comedy Go-To. My bet? This is going to be the sleeper hit of the Ottawa Fringe.
Pick Your Path Matt Domville wrote my very favorite show ever at the Ottawa Fringe. It was so good I can't remember the name right now, but it basically brought in the funny when Hercules, Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes walk into a bar... I saw it twice. This show includes Amanda Klaman, who is funny as tits, and is a choose your own adventure type show. Like the books I used to read as a kid, there better be a way for me to cheat and see the ending before I pick it...
The Search for a Reason for Murder Remember last year's Dale Beaner and the Turtle Boy? I do! That's these guys! And they're funny!
Vagabond One of my biggest surprises at the Ottawa Fringe was Tribulations of a Failed Vigilante. I think I caught it because it was short and ended up laughing more than I had in a long time. Well, Dunk a Sok is back and it's in a funky site specific place.
Ok, Ok, I really wanted to make this 10, but I got 12 not counting my own... And there's a bunch more stuff I still want to check out!
There's French stuff, like Le rire de la mer. I'm not normally a fan of Improv, but you've got the Set T-Rex guys (more gems I've discovered at the Big Comedy Go-To) with Callaghan!, Crush Improv with Spotlight On... (and man, I would pay good money to see Cari Leslie make shit up) and the gang from Insensitivity Training who kind of sold me with this trailer for Something with Virgin and Chainsaws.
This list is no where near complete. Just get out there will ya? And let me know what you see!