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If you're wondering about what to see at the 150-production Fringe, which begins Wednesday (July 1), here are this year's biggest themes.
A bunch of shows are trying to be this year’s Drowsy Chaperone. They include the self-explanatory Quarter Life Crisis – The Musical People Suck, a song cycle about horrible folks and I’m Right Here, about our relationship to social media the curiously titled Johnny Legdick, A Rock Opera cabaret artist extraordinaire Ryan G. Hinds‘s Starry Notions the country-music-themed The Famous Haydell Sisters Comeback Tour the mom-centric Mumsical. And don’t forget the industry Tent Talk So You Want To Write A Musical?, just in case you want to get in the Fringe next year.
This year’s Fringe offers a bumper crop of funny people doing (let’s hope) funny shows. Marshall Lorenzo‘s Everyone Loves Marineland features a hilarious cast under the always good directorial touch of Shari Hollett promising sketch shows include duo Peter n’ Chris‘s Here Lies Chris, Sex T-Rex‘s SwordPlay: A Play Of Swords, Falcon Powder‘s God’s Beard! (The Only Sketch Show That Has Ever Happened) and The Weaker Vessels‘ Public Displays Of Narcissism make sure you find time for two-time NOW cover dude Gavin Crawford‘s “Friend” “Like” #Me and the return of Morro And Jasp Do Puberty. Stand-ups doing the Fringe include Rhiannon Archer (Life Records), Zabrina Chevannes (A Nurse’s Worst Nightmare) and Graham Clark (Graham Clark Reads The Phone Book).
For kids, there’s a version of Hamlet by Shakey Shake and Friends as well as Liver Diie, part game show and part monster mash. But there’s also stuff for adults, like Heart Puppetations, about a lonely puppeteer who builds a version of his ideal woman, and Fraggle Rock vet Frank Meschkuleit‘s My Big Fat German Puppet Show, which promises zombies, hand saws and fat guys. Don’t miss Caws & Effect by Mind of a Snail, a tale told from a bird’s-eye perspective.
There’s something for everyone in this category, from fairy tales for young audiences (Cinderella: It Ain’t Over Till The Show Fits and Hansel & Gretel) to a gender-switched update of G.B. Shaw’s The Philanderer. Christina Rossetti‘s Goblin Market has been adapted as Fruit Fruit Mouth Mouth, and long-time faves Shakespeare BASH’d return with the The Merry Wives Of Windsor. There’s more Bard with Ale House Theatre‘s production of Twelfe Night, Or What You Will.
If you’re interested in alternate realities, don’t miss I Love You, Judy Merril, about the legendary sci-fi writer (and Toronto resident). Ron Fromstein‘s Zach Zultana: Space Gigolo explores interplanetary relationships while the kid-friendly The Crazy Space Adventures Of Princess Sparkly Butt & The Hot Dog Kid features a hero with “butt powers.”
Tickets at 416-966-1062, fringetoronto.com.