THE FRINGE: TORONTO'S THEATRE FESTIVAL featuring companies from Toronto, Canada and the world. Opens Wednesday (July 2) and runs to July 13. $8 or less, $2 surcharge on advance tickets, discount passes. See opening day's Fringe listings, this page. Royal St. George (120 Howland); St. Vladimir's (620 Spadina); Glen Morris (4 Glen Morris); Artword (75 Portland); Factory Studio and Mainspace (125 Bathurst); Robert Gill (214 College); George Ignatieff (15 Devonshire); Helen Gardiner Phelan (79A St. George); Palmerston Library (560 Palmerston); and various bring-your-own-venues. 416-966-1062. Rating: NNNNN
the fringe turns 15 and can't stop growing. Typical teen. This year's festival, beginning Wednesday (July 2) and running for 12 days, features 125 productions - that's more than 900 performances - around town. With 10 theatres and 17 bring-your-own-venue productions in more unusual locations, you'll need to be wearing your running shoes to race from one show to another.
Here are some survival tips.
Get with the program
You can't know the players, or their locations, without a guide. The free Fringe program available at selected Starbucks stores gives you all the information you need, including a brief description and performances times for every show. Changes do happen, though, so look for updates on the Fringe Web site (www. fringetoronto. com). You can also check out the daily Harold newsletter, filled with choice tidbits, interviews and gossip, printed daily once the festival is up and running.
There's been one change already. Office! , a show scheduled at St. Vlad's, has been replaced by A Pair Of Shorts , two one-acts by Matt Toner and Donald Molnar . The big draw here? Toner's piece, Killing Time At The Crossroads Of The World . Why? Toner is also the co-creator of Upstart Crow's marvellous sports enactments of the Bard. This year's piece is Shakespeare's Gladiator Games , which turns the Roman plays - including Julius Caesar, Antony And Cleopatra and Titus Andronicus - into a Coliseum-style battle to the finish.
T.J. too much
Fringe vet and last year's NOW coverboy T.J. Dawe can't get enough of the festival. This year he's back in T.O. with his fifth Fringe show - A Canadian Bartender At Butlin's , based on his experiences at a British holiday camp - but he's also co-written The Power Of Ignorance , helped develop and directed One Man 80's Blank Tape and co-wrote Toothpaste And Cigars . Maybe a Toronto Fringe record?
You can always catch some great entertainment at Late Night @ The Fringe with the Rumoli Brothers , the free talk-cum-comedy show created and hosted by Rick and Benny Rumoli (a.k.a. Brandon and Kurt Firla ). Look for interviews with festival artists, comic and musical guests and - new this year - video trailers of Fringe productions. Watch for NOW's Fringe of Toronto preview edition next week, with interviews, previews and critics' picks. And check out our daily online festival reports, including regularly updated show reviews, beginning July 2 at www.nowtoronto.com. email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org