10 Shows to Catch at the 2022 Vancouver Fringe Festival

Drag Me to the Opera

The Vancouver Fringe Festival is back, offering over 70 bold and entertaining works from September 8 to 18, 2022.

In addition to the many in-person shows, in partnership with Leap Creative Studios, the Vancouver Fringe Festival will be live streaming 10 works—and recordings will also be available until September 18. The performances to be streamed and recorded include One Man Pride and Prejudice, Everybody Knows, and Deliver Us Not!

Other ticketed events include the opening night #Fringe4All (September 7), the closing night Cabaret of Bülls#!t (September 18), and the Fringe Awards Night (September 18). An extra week of popular shows (September 21-25) based on audience voting will also take place, so vote and stay tuned.

Plus, the Vancouver Fringe has a bunch of workshops and special events that are worth checking out (and often informative). They range from Drag is FUNdamental (September 12), a workshop on coming up with your drag alter ego, to Baby Rave (September 11), a dance party with families with children up to 6 years old.

The Phillips Fringe Bar (Ocean Artworks, 1531 Johnston Street) will be open during the festival from noon until late for drinks and snacks. Most of the shows are on Granville Island so this makes for a perfect before or after performance venue.

At the Bar, you can discuss and vote for your favourite shows. Here are 10 to put on your list:

Blueberries Are Assholes

TJ Dawe is a crowd favourite for a reason: he’s a consummate storyteller. In this latest show, Blueberries Are Assholeshe flexes his skills as a stand-up comedian through a lighthearted and quirky exploration of the everyday. Topics include food and drink we strangely crave, the idiosyncrasies of the English language, and other odd aspects of ordinary life that TJ Dawe makes humorously revelatory.

Juliet: A Revenge Comedy

The story and tragic ending of Romeo and Juliet are well known but what if Juliet didn’t kill herself at the end of the play but instead lived on to have a fulfilling life? In this feminist reimagining of Shakespeare’s iconic play, writers Pippa Mackie and Ryan Gladstone have created a subversive, fast-paced performance that is sure to have audiences talking. Alive and well, Juliet makes friends with other female protagonists, going against the Bard in trying to save them from their seemingly inevitable fates. Juliet: A Revenge Comedy allows the women of Shakespeare’s plays to have the last word.

Wendy, My Darling

In another lively rewriting, solo artist April Wish takes on Wendy Darling from J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. This original musical, Wendy, My Darling, has Wendy striking out on her own in Hollywood. She soon discovers that viral fame is even more complicated than encounters with Captain James Hook. Wish is joined on stage by Busy Phillips and Jon Cryer who, together, offer a humorous and very 21st century performance that takes Wendy from female sidekick to the star of her own unfolding narrative.

Drag Me to the Opera

Written and directed by Steven Morton, Drag Me to the Opera features Morton’s alter ego Aida Cupcake performing an autobiographical tale of transformation and ambition. Cupcake uses storytelling and arias in order to capture Morton’s journey from business school student to soprano. You can expect seven costume and wig changes, some beautiful singing, and a compelling story that will inspire.

The Distance Between Newfoundland and Toronto

Don’t delay in booking your tickets for Dolores Drake’s one-woman-show, The Distance Between Newfoundland and Toronto, which sold out at the Vancouver Fringe Festival in 2015. The play spotlights the character Theresa Madonna Molloy who is leaving Newfoundland for the first time to visit her granddaughter in Toronto. Drake captivates in the role through a mixture of humour, vulnerability, and honest sentiment as Molloy tells nearby passengers on her plane (and the audience) about her life, her family, and the things often left unsaid.

Discounted Hotpot Centre

This production is sure to have you rushing to the nearest hotpot restaurant after the show. Discounted Hotpot Centre uses the theme of hotpot to explore the experience of being a Hong Konger in Canada. The story, written and directed by Anthon Kit Chun Lee and performed by Carlie Cheukyiu Yeung, centres on a character trying unsuccessfully to sell a hotpot package. The work features cooking demos and, of course, the smells of broth and multiple different ingredients to make a meal. Expect a provocative and tantalizing exploration of the challenges of different cultures coming into contact.

Field Notes From This Side of Nowhere

Field Notes from this Side of Nowhere brings together poetry, dance, and music. The School of Contemporary Dances, based in Winnipeg, make their professional debut at this year’s Vancouver Fringe Festival with an evocative consideration of what it means to be fleetingly young. Written and directed by Lee Frketich and featuring the talent of seven dancers, the piece captures some key rites of passage of youth, including the loss of innocence, in solo, duet, and group dances.

Bookmarks

Many of the festival shows put audiences into the intimate space of one storyteller weaving a spell with their words, memories, and conveyed emotions. Bookmarks continues where Corin Raymond left off with his acclaimed Bookworm, which was a “Pick of the Fringe” in 2012. Anyone who is an avid reader will relish this monologue revelling in the pleasures of reading, the books that transport, and the (re)discovery of the world created by a favourite novel.

Nosegate

With the stores already stocking Christmas-themed items, it’s not too early to start thinking about the festive season. Nosegate by Chantal Gallant sees everyone’s favourite reindeer, Rudolph, dealing with workplace harassment—and even worse—facing skepticism during an HR dispute hearing. As each reindeer is interrogated, the audience must consider who they believe and where the truth ultimately lies. Through a lighthearted premise, Gallant tackles some really serious contemporary issues connected to workplace conduct, #MeToo, and the complexities of quick public judgements.

Chase Padgett: Lucky Break

Fringe darling Chase Padgett will have audiences alternating between uproarious laughter and serious contemplation as he takes them through the wild journey he embarked on during the pandemic. Lucy Break includes looking after his mother, being a semi-finalist on FOX’s reality singing show Alter Ego, and the burgeoning, yet unpredictable nature of his professional career. Expect Padgett’s usual storytelling craft on full display, in addition to his skills as a singer and guitarist.

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