August, the month tomatoes finally redden on the vine; fans whir through the dry heat of our bedrooms; summer love makes its last play; and of course, Canada’s longest running and biggest fringe festival consumes Edmonton’s Old Strathcona barrio.
From the 16th to the 26th the 2012 Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival will be showcasing an array of performances selected not by jury but by a completely unbiased lottery system.
GayCalgary Magazine is happy to be backing a slew of these performers. Here is a snapshot of what you should be seeing these upcoming dog days of summer.
DUMPED BY A CLOWN, LIVING WITH MAMA-not a metaphor!
Written and Performed by Sherri d. Sutton
A failed marriage sends middle-aged Sherri d. Sutton back home to her southern mama after nearly three decades on her own – meaning laughing at one’s self becomes a daily method of comedic survival.
Sutton’s ex-wife hails from Edmonton, so she knows chances are good that she may be in the audience one night. But since Sutton makes herself the real butt of her jokes she says there is no cause for concern.
"This show is about moving on and knowing that it is never too late to be yourself," she says. "Oh, and it is about being dumped by a freaking clown!"
Two years of writing went into this show, which has received a deluge of media applause.
Fans have called her "the voice of the gay community as Richard Pryor was the voice of the black community"; CBC Radio names the show one of the "Top five Fringe plays to see at this year’s Fringe"; BBC Wales dubs her a "modern day prophetess" crossing "gender, sexuality, race, pop culture, politics, and other topics with charisma and charm."
DUMPED BY A CLOWN promises audiences a complete dialogue with a comedian and a genuine outcome: either you will laugh your socks off or silence the room with your disapproval – jests Sutton.
For more info on the show and its writer visit www.sherridsutton.com.
The Screw You Revue
Performed by Miss Didi Panache and Lady Winifred
Though they won’t be in the Fringe program they will be screwing Edmonton audiences all the same. From New York City controversial drag duo Dewey Chaffee and Douglas McGeoch have come to Edmonton’s rescue and will be replacing a show that dropped out of the Fringe line up.
"A gal’s got to be prepared for an opportunity like this one, and Lady Winifred and I are raring and ready to go," says Miss Didi Panache.
The duo have been performing the raunchy, award-winning revue in the Fringe circuit since
2007, though are happy to call NYC home.
"Didi and I share a little apartment way up in Harlem," Lady Winifred says. "We’re proud to be a part of the current gentrification movement in that neighborhood. But, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want all of the black people to move away. I really like some of them."
They may insult
you, shock you, or even invite themselves into your lives.
"We’re famous for working the lines and making friends with the patrons," Didi says. "While Fringers are waiting in line for another show, we’ll walk up and introduce ourselves. When they meet us, it’s like they’re getting a little preview of The Screw You Revue for free!"
The ‘Amazonian’, ‘suspiciously statuesque’ ladies replace the show times listed for Strage Dreamz in Venue #2. Given their affinity with ‘over the top gowns’ and ‘glittery head dresses’ odds are pretty good you won’t miss them.
Written and performed by Alexa Fitzpatrick
Unemployed in 2001 Alexa Fitzpatrick sets her ambitions at a mighty height: she wants to change the world. In order to do so she climbs aboard a tour bus and begins traveling the United States for what starts out as a good cause.
"[Tangled Ribbons is] a mostly true comedy about living a rock and roll lifestyle on a tour bus producing AIDS Rides and breast cancer walks - chaos for the cure," she explains.
Fitzpatick's position on the bus entails putting up signs for the fundraisers, but soon ‘her frustration with martyring co-workers makes enemies of the people she needs to do her job’ and altruism turns into a gluttonous slew of sex, drugs and alcohol.
"Fitzpatrick has clearly done her time in comedy," praises Tod Caviness for The Orlando Sentinel.
The Colorado native has a decade of non-profit work under her belt but quips today she will only answer their phone calls if she is ‘really broke’.
Fitzpatrick performs this true to life show on her own. Tangled Ribbons will be performed at the Yardbird Suite for seven shows.
GOD IS A SCOTTISH DRAG QUEEN
Written by Mike Delamont
Coming to Edmonton for the first time Mike Delamont brings one of the top attended shows at the Montreal Fringe to be performed at La Cite Francophone every day of this year’s Fringe.
GOD IS A SCOTTISH DRAG QUEEN stars God, a character created by Delamont and Jacob Richmond, the 2012 Dora Award winning writer of Ride the Cyclone.
"This show also sold out its run at UNO Fest, North America's longest running solo show festival, as well as a completely sold out run at the 2011 Victoria Fringe where the show won Best Solo Show," boasts Delamont – not to mention snagging "a nomination from Centaur Theatre for Best English Production and from Just For Laughs for Best Comedy."
The Times Colonist calls the show "A cross between Dame Edna and Billy Connolly with a dollop of Eddie Izzard". Montreal Gazette chimes it "Talent beyond belief."
See God as you have never seen Him before – skewering everything from pop icons like Justin Bieber to the Mayan civilization.
"It’s about time for God to have a stage show!"
For additional info on the show visit www.mikedelamont.com. Warning: previous attendees have waited up to three hours in line to get tickets to this show, so order yours online.
Produced by Surreal SoReal Theatre
After a critically acclaimed run at Edmonton’s Nextfest and the Winnipeg Fringe Festival earlier this summer, the Surreal SoReal Theatre is excited to be bringing to the Fringe their visual delight Afterlives.
"[Afterlives] is a script-less dance theatre trilogy that takes the audience through the ups and downs of life and death," stage manager Gillian Birds describes.
"In high school, I was heavily involved in creating a gay-straight alliance called ERA. We worked towards creating a safe environment for all students regardless of sexual orientation," she says. "I believe that this
background allowed me to easily address my (bi)sexuality and become a more accepting person. I understand how important it is to have GLBT groups in every community."
Afterlives merges three different stories together in one wordless but strikingly ophthalmic performance. Kids with Guns, Oblivion, and Blue take audiences to the depths of heaven, hell and limbo to tell the stories of two demon children born with magnificent traits, a mourning woman visited by an invisible guest, and a capitalist baby who falls from the mouth of a stork.
The Edmonton Journal describes the show as "a strikingly vivid, inventively physical kind of storytelling, with characters, narrative, emotional momentum – in a wildly mutating array of styles."
This highly physical show, combining elements of breakdance, ballet, puppetry, pantomime and old school cartoons, will be performed at the Varscona Theatre every night of Fringe excluding the first Saturday.
A theatrical trailer can be viewed on YouTube.
BIG IN GERMANY
Written and directed by Rob Salerno
Rob Salerno, coined a ‘theatrical rabble-rouser’, returns to the Edmonton Fringe with his ‘rock ‘n’ roll screwball comedy’ BIG IN GERMANY.
For those of you that attended Fringe in past years this is the filter-less crowd pleaser that brought Alberta crowds the sold out BALLS and FUCKING STEPHEN HARPER, the latter claiming Best of Fringe in both Winnipeg and Ottawa.
"It’s a kind of story of unrequited love," Salerno says of this year’s show. "These guys are so in love with the idea of fame and success in the Canadian music scene that they’re willing to put everything on the line for it, even in the face of incredibly long odds of years of painful struggle."
"Ultimately, that obsession blinds them to the personal riches and success that they already have."
Salerno’s performances in Edmonton will feature special guest Kris Joseph, who will tackle numerous roles including that of a former filmmaker who abandons his dreams to produce porn. Salerno, alongside actor Eric Miinch, will play a duo of Toronto rockers who have achieved fame in Germany but are nobodies working in the porn industry at home.
Desperate to change their fate they plot a risky scheme to make it big in Canada, but their bonds are tested when buried secrets come to surface.
Salerno is on a nine-stop tour with this show as well as three others, BIG IN GERMANY being the newest. He tours with Toronto’s Ten Foot Pole Theatre Company.
The Calgary Herald calls this show "A delicious bit of show business satire", while GCN Magazine of Dublin, Ireland dubs it "sexy, clever and laugh out loud funny."
Salerno and his crew will perform six shows at Edmonton’s Fringe Cabaret Lounge located in the Transalta Arts Barns.
Written and performed by Mark Shyzer
Created by members of Toronto’s LGBT community and developed by Buddies in Bad Times (dubbed ‘Canada’s Queer Theatre’) Mark Shyzer’s Fishbowl offers audiences a comedy that touches on everything important in life.
"[This is] a comedy about friendship, goldfish, sex, science, hipsters, high school, alcoholism, abandonment, divorce, death, and dark matter," says the show’s producer Sarah Olmstead. "Laugh-out-loud funny yet also surprisingly moving, Fishbowl slyly reveals the connections between four wildly different (and outrageously hilarious) characters, all played by writer/performer Mark Shyzer in a stunning solo performance that has garnered awards and critical praise throughout North America."
"...one of the four characters speaks almost exclusively about her relationship with her gay ex-husband (who, spoiler alert, is actually another character from the show – but the audience doesn't know that until the end!)," Olmstead says.
CBC touts Fishbowl "an outstanding piece of theatre that will connect with you" and brandishes it a 5 star review.
Fishbowl will be performed at the Academy at King Edward School for six performances. For more information visit www.shyzer.ca/fishbowl.
Written by Darrin Hagen
The Guys in Disguise ‘take Hollywood by storm’ in this 85 minute high energy drag treat. Watch the two ultimate scream goddesses: Joan Crawfrod (the movie star) and Bette Davis (the actress) in a high glam cat fight.
The screen favourites will feud over top billings, roles, Oscars and men.
BitchSlap! has entertained crowds in Calgary, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Florida and West Hollywood with future dates lined up in London and New York.
The show stars Darrin Hagen, Trevor Schmidt and Davina Stewart.
Burnt at the Stake
Written and performed by Carolann Valentino
Following a successful run in Calgary’s Fringe, where Valentino took the Best of Fest, Burnt at the Steak seeks out Edmonton audiences in need of serious comedic retreat.
An "example of how great a solo show can be!" the Denver Post exclaims.
"She’s amazing," says Lively Arts.
In this 75 minute show Valentino plays 18 different characters through song, dance, comedy and improve – detailing her time as a manager of one of the most high rolling steak houses in North America.
Why did she leave it all behind? To follow her dreams as an actress.
"Since then I have experienced one miracle after another," she says. "One of which was landing the Canadian Fringe tour."
For more information on Valentino’s high selling, top rated show visit www.burntatthesteak.com.
Tickets for the 2012 Edmonton International Fringe Festival go on sale today. Get yours online https://tickets.fringetheatre.ca
, by phone (780.409.1910) or in person at the Fringe Central Box Office located in the TransAlta Art Barns.