Fringe Festival celebrates edgy entertainment
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 06:00 am
Cocky characters, cartoonish villains, fiendish plots, amazing gadgetry and outrageous stunts.
Sounds like James Bond, right? Close.
From Fringe With Love, an adaptation of From Russia With Love, is the moniker for the 32nd annual version of Edmonton’s humungous alternative summer theatre festival.
It is the largest and most vibrant in North America. Last year 680,000 visitors attended.
The $3 million festival runs for 11 days and nights starting Thursday, August 15. Theatregoers have access to 200 plus indoor shows – local, national and global.
The Fringe’s 11 core venues in Old Strathcona remain unchanged. An additional 42 BYOV venues are located in the French Quarter, downtown Edmonton and two alternative venues at Avenue Theatre and St. Faith’s Anglican Church.
Due to a heavier demand, the satellite cluster in the French Quarter has expanded to accommodate a mini-Fringe.
“We used to have two or three venues,” says executive director Jill Roszell. “This year we added Rutherford School. That makes four venues and now we have 26 groups performing in the French Quarter.”
Program director Murray Utas notes that all shows are unjuried and uncensored with all artists receiving 100 per cent of the revenue.
“We have no control over the content. It’s all about the artists.”
The newest addition to the Fringe is a ticketing app that allows Fringers to search all festival productions, plan schedules, buy tickets, find information on family friendly sites and join festival conversations on social media. The free From Fringe with Love app for iOS and Android is presented by Telus.
Single tickets range from $6 to $12.50 plus fees. They are available through the central Fringe box office in the ATB Financial Arts Bldg, 10330 – 84 Ave., as well as Tix on the Square.
St. Albert and area has made a significant contribution to this tongue-in-cheek spy agency. Below are 47 shows with a local connection.
• Hometown girl Kaitlyn Edie expresses the gamut of human emotion in Can’t Contain My Dance.
• In her Fringe debut, St. Albert resident Liz Allchin grapples with a question in Searching For Normal The Musical.
• Former St. Albert resident and founder of Ad Hoc Theatre, Beth Jenkins, brings to the stage Kayak, a story of a camping trip gone wrong.
• St. Albert Children’s Theatre (SACT) alumni Maddy Knight and David Johnston along with SACT instructor Byron Martin improvise a new musical in The 11 O’Clock Number.
• Often directing backstage traffic, former St. Albert resident Catherine Wenschlag moves to the footlights in her one-woman comedy Cayce Grey in Family Squabbles.
• Excuse Me: This is the Truth, a skewering of Christianity, is an artistic hallelujah from former resident Tara Brodin and SACT instructor Joleen Ballendine.
• Straight from St. Albert Theatre Troupe, Darrell Portz injects his design talents in Duets, a quick-change comedy about love.
• St. Albert composer Jan Randall not only creates the sound design for Rocket Sugar Factory, he is also one of the wacky improvisers.
• Sturgeon County resident Brandon Franson joins Lars Callieou’s web of comedy in …And It Kills the Frog, recapping the last decade of one comic.
• Bubbly SACT alumna Maddy Knight reverses gears and stars in Dust, a love triangle of heartbreak and mistakes.
• St. Albert resident Elizabeth Danyluk and former St. Albert tenor Kieran Martin Murphy jump into the world of infomercials in As Seen On TV.
• Paul Kane alumnus Danny Campbell takes a tongue-in-cheek swing at the underworld in A Splash of Rouge … How I Outsmarted the Mob.
• Join St. Albert alto Bartha Hartman in Channel Surfing, La Vocabella’s musical ride from the golden age of radio to the 21st century digital revolution.
• Once again composer-sound designer Jan Randall spreads his musical dexterity to Tom Form & The Speed of Love, a post-apocalyptic hybrid of mystery and memory loss.
• Off Book the Musical stars the legendary Rapid Fire Theatre troupe including the multi-talented former St. Albert resident Matt Alden.
• In The-Fifty-Dollar-A-Night Girl, former St. Albert opera singer Melanie Gall belts out some of the most popular and risqué tunes written by women during the Tin Pan Alley era.
• SACT instructor Byron Martin stretches his acting chops in Trout Stanley, a tale marked by twins, death, a drifter and a love story.
• Veteran SACT designer Marissa Kochanski adds her touch to Ask Aggie – The Advice Diva where no topic is off limits.
• In a mélange of puppetry and opera, Melanie Gall revisits our childhood imagination in Opera Mouse, a tale of a rodent who just wants to sing.
• Former local actress Jenny McKillop rejoins the Teatro La Quindicina stable in Marvelous Pilgrims, another Stewart Lemoine premiere.
• As stage manager, former St. Albert resident Al Gadowsky has the last word in A Picasso, a cat-and-mouse drama about art, politics and sex.
• Never straying far from his improv roots, Matt Alden stars in Die-Nasty at the Fringe.
• SACT alumna Kate Ryan directs Little Fish, a modern-day odyssey about a nicotine-starved writer. Also from St. Albert are cast members Celina (Stachow) Dean, Steven Angove and Jason Hardwick.
• Former St. Albert resident Judy McFerran explodes on set in Never Let the Crew See You Cry, Alberta’s version of Bomb Girls.
• Former City of St. Albert Cultural Services employee Cayley McConaghy wrote and directs StarDark, a multi-disciplinary piece on mental illness.
• St. Albert actress Lindsey Walker stars in The Rambler, a story about the not so pretty stuff in families – arthritis, naked photos and secrets.
• In New Music Edmonton Fringe, former St. Albert dancer Marissa (Bailey) Puff joins a cast of thousands for something different every night.
• Playwright David Belke’s hit April in Peril returns with three St. Albert favourites – Jenna Dykes, Jason Hardwick and Garrett Ross singing and dancing to the tune of the Nazis and an uncooperative French Resistance.
• Visionary College student Eugene Kwon stars in On The Wild Side, a fast-paced song and dance show geared towards the family.
• Would you like an all-expense paid trip to Zombie Island? SACT alumna Elizabeth Zaragoza and Paul Kane grad Jessica Fedorek give us a preview in “Brains” The Zombie Musical.
• St. Albert resident Olivia Latta joins the cast of Feast, a play about a cult awaiting the end of the world and what happens when it doesn’t.
• St. Albert improvisers Leah Anderson and Scott C. Bourgeois bill themselves as the trendiest social media improv show in #YEGPROV. Bring a fully-charged smartphone.
• There is no such thing as gun control in Happy Whackin’ Jim McCrackin starring St. Albert resident Amanda Blair and man about town Cliff Kelly.
• SACT alumna Cynthia Hicks has once again landed a starring role in Rent: The Musical, a tale of poor artists struggling to survive in gritty New York in the shadow of HIV/AIDS.
• Aesop’s Fabulous Fables: the Musical melds the talents of St. Albert playwright Jesse Harlton, director Elizabeth Montague and actor Michael Paruby.
• Letters Home From Camp Leaky links the artistry of playwright Jesse Harlton and Quinn Hinch, the directing talent of Sara Bruno and the acting chops of Michael Paruby with nostalgic memories of bug bites, leaches and poison ivy.
• In a nod to the Great Depression, Elizabeth Montague directs Neverman, a story about a newlywed farm couple struggling against bankruptcy and starvation.
• Go For Broke’s zany improv game show, The Brash and The Ridiculous, is packed with local talent – Sean Bedard, Josh Languedoc, Ali Yusuf, Scott Pedrick, Tyler Dettling and Jeremy LeRiche.
• Outcasts can sometimes develop special powers. At least that’s what St. Albert musical theatre instructor Hillary Gillett reveals in Carrie: The Musical.
• Although Candice Fiorentino no longer teaches musical theatre in the city, she makes us take stock of what it means to be human in Anatolia Speaks.
• How does death release our thoughts? Former St. Albert drama instructor Eva Colmers stars in Lost in Montmartre set at the wake of an artist in a cabaret.
• It’s tough to sandwich another St. Albert actor in the musical lineup of Little Shop of Horrors. Directed by Paul Kane grad Lauren Body with local musical director Michael Clark, it rocks with the artistry of Andrew Boyd, David Johnston, Robyn Kumish and Dylan Rosychuk.
• St. Albert resident Darcy Robinson joins the cast of Coraline The Musical, a magical, mystery narrative where everyone has buttons for eyes.
• In Things Donne & Undonne École La Mission music teacher Catharine Kubash is part of an eight-voice choir that resuscitates the life of 17th century poet John Donne.
• Sturgeon County’s Emma Frazier a.k.a. Daytime Emma and Bellerose grad Shelby Drozdowski a.k.a. Shelby Cobra fan and shimmy their way through a catalogue of the King’s music in Capital City Burlesque Presents: An Elvis Odyssey.
• The bubble-gum pop of Spearsical The Musical and its sequel Spearsical The Musical 2 – Oops…We Did It Again hits the stage in all its candy coatings with St. Albert singer-actors Crystal Hanson and Lexy Strumecki.
• Two regulars from the Edmonton Musical Theatre stable – Jaime Johansson and Barbara Hubbard explore the challenges of finding that perfect someone in Love, Live and Lust.