Peter n Chris

Nancy's MUST-SEE List at the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival


Long before I caught up with all my old friends at the Ottawa Fringe Festival and realized that I was not done with the hanging out, I had decided I would be heading down to the Toronto Fringe for one reason in particular. Well, two reasons actually.

My love for clown sisters Morro and Jasp is well-documented in this blog. I own a t-shirt, a cookbook and have seen every single one of their productions - even the tiny one in a props room at the Arts Court during Subdevision in Ottawa and Morro's Sorrow, a little seen one-person bit at the Big Comedy Go-To in London - except one: Morro and Jasp do Puberty. As luck would have it, the duo got into the Toronto Fringe ahead of their Edinburgh premiere and so I am heading down this weekend to finally catch it.

But that means I have a whole weekend to see a whole bunch of other shows too! Again, please remember this is a personal list. My tastes may not be your own and, to be fair, I haven't seen any of the shows below (more on that later). So without further ado, here's what else I'm hoping to see:

The Inventor of All Things Jem Rolls was at the Ottawa Fringe this year, but I put off seeing it once I heard he was going to be in Toronto but NOT in the program. You see, his show is a very late addition to the festival so unless you're using the website or the app to get your information, you'll have no idea that it's even happening. It's difficult enough to get people to see your show without having to fight with the promotional materials. Plus Jem is a regular on the festival circuit for a reason and I hear this show is his best one yet! It opens tonight at 10:30 p.m. Go see it!

Jem even has a real poster now! Well, real for Jem.

Caws & Effect Do you have any idea how long I have been waiting to see this show? I toured with these awesome ladies all last year and never got to see it because it was always sold out. Yes, I am buying a ticket in advance. And you should too. But only after I get mine.

SwordPlay: A Play of Swords Sex T-Rex's Watch Out, Wildcat! was one of my favorite shows last year. I really can't wait to see what this one is all about. Also Alec Toller is a kickass director who told his parents to let me sleep in his room in Ottawa when I was on tour and had no place to stay. Full disclosure: he was not there at the time so it wasn't awkward at all!

Peter n' Chris present: Here Lies Chris Apparently Chris dies in this one, so you better see it now before it becomes just Peter n'.

pool (no water) Not only did my previous company, Evolution Theatre, do this show in Ottawa a few years ago, this one is choreographed by Patricia Allison, the amazing lady behind my sweet sweet dance moves in Roller Derby Saved My Soul.

Let's Start A Country! I missed this one when I was at Zoofest a few years ago in Montreal and I was really sorry I did. This somewhat improvised production features Gerard Harris, Al Lafrance, the divine Holly Gauthier-Frankel, and they've traded in Shane Adamczak for Zach Zultana himself, Jeff Leard.

Lust & Marriage On my first tour in 2009, I met the wonderful Eleanor O'Brien and her caravan of super amazing women in Winnipeg where they performed Inviting Desire. She was one of the first touring performers to become my friend and we spent many a night drinking fancy cocktails in the caravan they used to live and travel in. I haven't seen her since so I'm incredibly excited for this opportunity now.

Adventures of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl Rebecca Perry, my non-doppelgänger, has gone from Confessions to Adventures in this new show about everyone's favorite musical barrista. Her first show sold out it's run last year so I wouldn't expect anything less this time around. Oh and apparently you don't have to have seen the first one to enjoy this one.

Meet Cute Another show by an awesome lady, Erin Norah Thompson's SLUT, also sold out at last year's Fringe. She's back again with this one and I definitely want to catch it if I can find the time.


With 148 shows at this year's festival, it can be hard to chose what to see. While I haven't seen any of the shows listed above, here are some that I have and can vouch for their enjoyment.

Zach Zultana: Space Gigolo Just saw it in Ottawa and it was the funniest show I saw at the festival.

The Untitled Sam Mullins Project I also just saw this one in Ottawa and it was recently nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for Best One-Person Show.

The Orchid and the Crow Probably my favorite show in Ottawa this year and the winner of the well-deserved Best Solo Performer Award.

2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick: A Dirk Darrows Investigation Do you like puns? Do you like magic? Do you like film noir? Do you like to laugh? If you answered yes to any of these questions go get yourself a dose of Dirk Darrow.

Anatolia Speaks A beautiful little show I caught in Vancouver last year about an immigrant woman addressing her ESL class.

For Body and Light Presents: Coming and Going I think this is the same dance show I caught in Edmonton last year. Though I'm not a huge dance person and so I can't comment on that aspect, I did really love how they incorporated spoken word into the whole piece.

Two Girls, One Corpse An adorable little show, part rom com, part murder she wrote. Supporting my hometown girls will not leave you disappointed.

High Tea These guys sellout, win every award and collect every star there is.

Pretending Things Are a Cock This show is exactly what you think it is. I saw it at Zoofest in Montreal to a packed house. Grab a drink, bring some friends and giggle like you are five years old because everything looks like a penis now.

Nancy's MUST SEE List at the 2011 Ottawa Fringe

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!

Live from the Belly of a Whale Countries Shaped Like Stars broke my fucking heart and then put it back together with glitter and cookie dough. There's no way in hell I'm missing this show.

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.


And and and I've heard interesting things about When Harry Met Harry and The Walk has strong local pedigree and and and...


This list is no where near complete. Just get out there will ya? And let me know what you see!

Week Two - Electric Boogaloo

Well, it's been two weeks now in Toronto and things are better. I started acting classes again.  I can't tell you the immense relief I felt when I walked into that room.  Not only that, I get to work on a scene from one of my very favourite plays: Spike Heels by Theresa Rebeck.

The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival was also underway.  It gave me a chance to re-connect with a whole bunch of old friends from around the Fringe: Jayson McDonald & Fully Insured from London (ON), Connor & Devon from Dale Beaner & the Turtle Boy and, of course, those cuties from the Peter n Chris Show.

And I even made an awesome sketch discovery.  They're called Haircut.  Just try and tell me you don't love this:



They have a show running bi-monthly on Fridays now at Bread and Circus.  I would be checking it out, except, well this thing happened:

*cue Law & Order Doink Doink SFX*

Tuesday, November 9 - Find out I booked a gig I never auditioned for. Probably because I'm cute and bilingual (oh and because I have an awesome agent and an agency that is celebrating 25 years in the business.  That's important too.)  The shoot will be taking place at Upper Canada Village.  I send my measurements in and learn that I will be shooting on either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday in Morrisburg.

*cue another Law & Order Doink Doink SFX*

Wednesday, November 10 - I have to be on set at 7:30 a.m. on Friday.


Whoa. So I guess I'm heading back to Ottawa tomorrow.  See you on flip side!


It's Midnight, Cinderella

It's midnight, Cinderella, but don't you worry none. / 'Cause I'm Peter Peter the Pumpkin Eater /And the party's just begun. - Garth Brooks

(Being in Calgary, I felt like country music would be appropriate.)

So our Opening Night in Calgary was good.  Crazy good, but still good.  Heck, we had a reviewer that night and we were anointed later on with a lovely 4 Star Review from the Calgary Herald!  If you don't want to read the whole thing, here's my favourite section:

Basically, The Last G-D Performance Piece is a comedy about an incomprehensible performance art piece where everything that possibly can go wrong, does.

And on opening night, guess what? The lights blew out!

And we (the audience) hardly noticed. I mean, I noticed a few odd lighting cues, such as the time one of them flickered, and then left both actors standing onstage in total darkness. But since the show was about a disastrous theatre performance, I didn't give it much thought at all. Meuser and Kenny both delivered such strong, confident, funny performances that I just figured it was all in the script.

So the first show was done and all the adrenaline in my body had left in one big giant rush that left me teetering between giggling uncontrollably and practically crying with relief.  I went to the Swans for a beer with the director and ran into the gang from Dale Beaner and the Turtle Boy, which I had decided I would watch that night.

It's a fun show that really isn't getting the audience it deserves.  Please come and check it out!

After the show, the Turtle Boy gang, the Peter n Chris duo and I made our way down to what I have now dubbed "The Happiest Place on Earth" (take that Disney!) - The Fringe Club!

The Calgary Fringe Festival doesn't have a beer tent or beer gardens, but on Saturday night they opened up an awesome new venue in the back of an art gallery.  In true Fringe fashion, you have to go through a sketchy alley (made less sketchy by the string of Christmas lights along the wall).  The place has WiFi and beer.  The only thing missing is some cheap food, but one thing at a time.

The place was filled with performers, volunteers, techs and friends, all there for the new late-night cabaret event called The Stroke.  We walked in just in time to catch the end of Paul Hutcheson's stand-up set/bits from his show.  There's a nice big stage set-up and the folks from The Goodtimes helped provide additional lighting, which they conveniently had stored in their awesome and thematically painted van.

It was just pure fun and magic.  And it was so nice to know that there was now a place for all of us to get together and relax and be silly.  Other bits included a chat with Cameryn Moore, The Phone Whore, the house music by The Ben Rose Wedding Band (which is apparently one guy who I'm going to assume is named Ben Rose), some brilliantly fun accordion music from Bob Wiseman, and even more awesomely hilarious music from The Goodtimes, with special additional accompaniment from Bob Wiseman.

A huge round of applause goes out to Nicole Zylstra & Peter Strand Rumpel for putting all of this together and hosting every night.  This little hotspot was probably the only thing missing from an already pretty great festival.

Friends, if you're in Calgary, you should stop on by 1222 9th Ave SE (after you've seen The Last Goddamned Performance Piece at 922 9th Ave SE, of course!) around 11 pm as I am signed up to do something at The Stroke...

I better start figuring out what that something is going to be.