Strong Fringe Festival with Weak Sauce

Jayson McDonald is surprised to find himself transformed into William S. Burroughs

So far, I’ve seen 19 shows that are playing the Vancouver Fringe Festival. (I saw ten of ’em in Victoria.) Kathleen Oliver, my pal and colleague at the Straight, also saw 10 in Victoria and she has seen another five here.

KO’s top pick so far is Bookworm. I’m a big fan of Underbelly (Jayson McDonald’s show inspired by BEat writer William S. Burroughs), The Bike Trip (Martin Dockery’s LSD adventure), Fishbowl (Mark Shyzer’s four-character monologue about loneliness and hidden connections), and Travis Bernhardt’s skillful magic show, Lies.

I also want to talk up Sam S. Mullins’s Weak Sauce, which I saw last night at the Havana, where it’s playing as part of the Fringe.

Weak Sauce is a straight guy’s coming-of-age story. God know there are a lot of those around, but this one is particularly tender and funny. In fact, it strikes me that Fringe artists like Mullins and his pals Peter ‘n Chris (Peter ‘n Chris Explore Their Bodies and The Furious Angry Fun Hour—the latter also features Mullins) are helping to redefine maleness. I totally dig the new version; it’s raucous and physical, but it’s also affectionate, vulnerable, and NOT homophobic. Hooray for these guys!

The core narrative in Weak Sauce is about how Mullins lost his virginity, so the stakes are high. He’s a charmingly unassuming—and witty—storyteller. And, most importantly, his show has a big heart and strong narrative arc. Let’s hear it for young artists, the New Guys, and the well-structured monologue!

Remaining performances on September 12 (6:00 p.m.), 13 (7:45 p.m.), 15 (7:00 pm.), and 16 (1:00 p.m.).

About Colin Thomas

Colin Thomas is a Vancouver-based editor, an award-winning playwright, and an established theatre critic. Colin helps writers unlock the full potential of their novels, short stories, screenplays, and children's books.

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