Some of the cast and crew of The Gladstone Variations, the Fringe’s hardest-ticket-to-come-by show, took in another big-buzz hit yesterday, Dave Carley’s hilarious Conservatives In Love.
Writer/producer Julie Tepperman, director/producer Aaron Willis and actor Stewart Arnott caught the sold-out 9 pm performance. How’d they make it over so quickly from the Gladstone to the JCC? Yesterday was their sole matinee, at 2 pm. From now till the end of the Fringe it’s back to 7 pm for all four simultaneously running shows.
Later Wednesday, another Gladstone cast member, rising star Marc Bendavid (who plays a bellhop) took in the terrific …And Stockings For The Ladies at the Tarragon Extra Space. Before the show the crowd observed a moment of silence to acknowledge the passing of the late great theatre impresario and entrepreneur, Ed Mirvish.
I’m playing catch-up on big-buzz shows I missed, and trying to see some new ones people are pressuring and/or advising me to see. Here are some notes:
It was good to see Jen Radomsky and Renée Percy play nipples again in Mardi Bra 3: Milkin’ It. Although they borrowed from some early material, much of it is so good it’s worth a second, third or fourth look. (I’ll never grow tired of the Olympic moments bits or the 9-1-1 sketch about call waiting and a fire). And leaving the show I actually found myself whistling the catchy tune from their raunchy closing number about Catholic girls and abstinence.
Was pretty disappointed with the much-praised Jesus In Montana, a loose and rambling monologue that never comes alive, in performance or writing. Good slide show, but not as funny as An Inconvenient Musical’s.
I liked some of the set and a couple of the performances in Betrayal. The actors were too cast too young, however. Still, good to see a packed show at a 2pm weekday performance. Think that was Something Unexpected’s Paul Constable in the audience, too.
Nice to see actors trying out something different in Point Of Departure, with solid performances by Nicholas Carella, Daniel Krolik and (doing drama for the first time) Sketchersons’ Gary Rideout, Jr. Sort of like Pulp Fiction for the Facebook set, with a couple of clever twists.
Conservatives In Love: what can I say? Smart, sexy and silly. Why don't more local theatres put on Carley's plays? Acting at this year’s Fringe has been at an all-time high. The four actors here more than earned their paycheques, doubling and tripling roles and changing outfits in nanoseconds. Was it just me, or did this seem like a really satiric updated version of How To Marry A Millionaire? It also featured the most unlikely but successful set. Bravo to director Sue Miner, who also directed one of my guilty pleasure faves, Celine Speaks and (just announced this week) is on the long-list of 26 nominees for the prestigious Siminovitch Prize.