Fringe triumphs over rain

Toronto’s largest recorded daily rainfall ever may have got a lot of people and venues wet, even causing some cancellations, but it didn’t dampen spirits in the midst of the Fringe’s 25th anniversary season. The festival, which ended Sunday (July 14), still posted record numbers.

The first four days were the highest-grossing in Fringe history, and by the end of the festival there were nearly 200 sold-out performances. You’d expect that a show like the revival of Radio :30 would sell out its first performance, but the surprise was that other troupes, from out of town and unknown here, did the same thing.

In total, more than 57,000 tickets were sold and $433,000 returned to artists. Over $10,000 went to artisans, painters and creators in the Visual Fringe and AlleyPlays.

Since the Toronto Fringe began in 1989, participating artists have taken more than $6 million.

With its added greenery and lights, the Fringe Club was appropriately festive this year for its silver anniversary, drawing thousands of people for the Visual Fringe, AlleyPlays, street performers and daily Tent Talks.

The 148 companies involved in the festival did lots of cross-promotion, taking time for shout-outs at the end of a performance for other shows the actors recommended, and liberally stuffing promotional postcards into programs. Artists were expert at talking up their own shows, too, handing out flyers while audiences stood online for other productions. Our favourite promo was by the dance troupe that gave a dual meaning to “online.” They went around, iPad in hand, showing people waiting for their next Fringe show a YouTube clip of their production. Hey – it was a lot more effective than just talking about it.

Here’s NOW’s annual list of Fringe highlights.

Outstanding New Plays

Bremen City Rock Polly Polly Stealing Sam The Truth About Comets Weaksauce

Outstanding Productions

The Adversary Assassinating Thomson Bremen Rock City Honest Aesop’s Fables A Midsummer Night’s Dream…A Puppet Epic Morro And Jasp: Go Bake Yourself Much Ado About Nothing The Musical Of Musicals: The Musical! O(h) Polly Polly Radio :30 Stealing Sam Stop Kiss Strolling Player The Truth About Comets Vangroovy Offensive To Some

Outstanding Performances

Chris Earle (Radio :30) Andrew Bailey (The Adversary) Dan Bingham (Adopt This!) Sandy Crawley, Carlos Gonzalez-Vio and Ari Millen (The Oak Room) Steven Gallagher (Stealing Sam) David Ladderman (Battle Of The Bastards) Melissa Hood and Kate Ziegler (Stop Kiss) Bruce Horak (Assassinating Thomson) Jeff Leard (The Show Must Go On) Isaac Luy (Exit) David Mackett (Cold Comfort) Katherine McLeod (Inge Snapshots) Tonya Jone Miller (Threads) Jessica Moss (Polly Polly) Sam S. Mullins (Weaksauce) Suzanne Roberts Smith (Offensive To Some) Richard Willis (Strolling Player)

Outstanding Ensembles

Adventure! Blue Moon Girls Bremen Rock City Death Married My Daughter Elizabeth – Darcy Honest Aesop’s Fables Love Is A Poverty You Can Sell 2: Kisses For A Pfennig A Midsummer Night’s Dream… A Puppet Epic Mo And Jess Kill Susie Morro And Jasp: Go Bake Yourself Much Ado About Nothing The Musical Of Musicals: The Musical! no permanent answers O(h) Sour Grapes SQUAT The Truth About Comets Vangroovy We Are The Bomb

Outstanding Direction

Shaun Benson (Stop Kiss) Rod Ceballos (Cold Comfort) Tom Arthur Davis (Elizabeth-Darcy) Eric Double (Much Ado About Nothing) Darcy Evans (Stealing Sam) Kate Fenton (The Truth About Comets) Ryan Gladstone (Assassinating Thomson) Shari Hollett (Radio :30) Esther Jun (Bremen Rock City) Kat Sandler (We Are The Bomb) Vinetta Strombergs (The Musical Of Musicals: The Musical!)

Outstanding Design

Sue Daniel and Matthew Pochwalowski (Honest Aesop’s Fables) Joe Pagnan (Polly Polly) Akiva Romer-Segal (Bremen Rock City) Bonnie Thomson (Handle With Care)

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