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Christel Bartelse and Briane Nasimok's Fringe edition of their storytelling show brings back the spirit of the festival
BUT THAT’S ANOTHER STORY – FESTIVAL FAVOURITES created by the company (No Fixed Address Productions/Digital Fringe Toronto). Now streaming at Fringe On-Demand until August 15. Rating: NNNN
There’s nothing like a collection of entertaining stories to bring the spirit of the Toronto Fringe back. And it’d be hard to top the gifted storytellers assembled in this one-hour show, hosted by Christel Bartelse and Briane Nasimok, who also contribute tales of their own.
This edition of the pair’s monthly show is subtitled “festival favourites,” and indeed Fringers will recognize some of the guests from past festivals.
Tracey Erin Smith (The BIG HOUSE) delivers an effective, if somewhat rambling, tale about dealing with fear that gets the program off to a solid start. (Shame about her sound issues, though.)
Much stronger is Chris Gibbs’s (Antoine Feval) story, in which he takes an episode from his early days busking in London, England and connects it to his thoughts about comedic vs. more “meaningful” shows. It’s a beautiful story, and Gibbs is completely comfortable – present, spontaneous and charming – talking to the camera.
Bartelse’s own memorable story about performing on the Fringe circuit will make you nostalgic for the days of shoulder-to-shoulder crowds in unlikely venues enjoying the magic of live theatre.
And Shayna Jones, performing on what looks like a real stage (in an empty theatre), delivers a West Indies folktale about a love-smitten man and the high cost of his amorous adventures. Jones has a rich, resonant voice, and uses her body to emphasize elements of the story, resulting in a haunting tale.
Whose Line Is It Anyway’s Colin Mochrie has pride of place at the end of the show, and he doesn’t disappoint, offering up a story about doing Shakespeare in theatre school that is funny, warm and filled with lively details. Next time I see him in person (or online) I’m tempted to say, “Happy birthday, baby!”