The word “fringe” can refer to the uncommon, unconventional and extreme. And while the 28th annual Vancouver International Fringe Festival may feature performances that fall into those categories, there is still guaranteed to be something that appeals to everyone’s edgy side. After all, there will be 754 performances by 97 groups over 11 days. In total, there are expected to be 30,000 attendees. That’s a lot of uncommon, unconventional and extreme theatre-goers, which goes to show that sometimes the abnormal is the norm.
David Jordan, executive director of the festival, says the festival is simply a celebration of independent theatre.
“All those companies are developing and it’s part of that,” he explains, adding that much of the Fringe audience is new to theatre.
“It’s more unconventional, it’s more affordable, the shows are accessible,” he says. “The shows are short too, so audiences willing to take a risk on something that’s only 60 minutes long.”
Here’s a roundup of just some of what you can expect from this year’s festival.
Pump Trolley Comedy Presents
This eight-person sketch collective is comprised of local comedians and improvisers who regularly perform around town. Their shows are completely unexpected and consistently delightful. This is the first time the troupe will be gracing the stages of the Vancouver Fringe Festival (they recently did a stint in Victoria), and boy are they excited. They sum it up like so: “Using string theory, ancient alchemical scrolls bursting with forbidden lore, and several baking soda volcanoes, Pump Trolley Comedy has distilled its classic sketches into a potent cordial of hilarity.” Abstract? Perhaps. Intriguing? Definitely.
Peter n’ Chris Explore Their Bodies
This pair already has a long list of recognition to their name. They are the Toronto SketchFest Audience Choice winers, they won the 2011 Pick of the Fridge, plus they were Just for Laughs Best Comedy nominees and were recently nominated for Best Sketch performers at the Canadian Comedy Awards. So, it’s safe to assume their show is a comedy…and a memorable one at that. They describe it as “part Games of Thrones/Gladiator/Hunger Games and hopefully part funny”.
The festival isn’t all about comedy – it’s also about artistic displays of beauty. This show is bound to showcase just that as it follows the life span of a plastic bottle, all the way through the apocalypse. The story is told through shadow puppets, which were all made from recycled materials.
RIOT: reaction & reconciliation
This production is an interpretation of the Stanley Cup riots, as seen through the eyes of a grade 10 drama class. It was written by students from Carson Graham Secondary in North Vancouver and features original music that tells several different perspectives of that one infamous night in Vancouver history.
The festival runs from September 6-16 at various different venues around town. Click here for more information.