Vancouver Fringe: early picks

Vancouver Fringe Festival Victoria Tasha Diamant The Human Body Project

Tasha Diamant gets vulnerable in The Human Body Project

This year at the Victoria Fringe Festival I learned never to trust my intuition: shows that I thought looked like caca turned out to be great; others, that I thought were guaranteed winners, not so much. 

I’d read the book version of Alison Wearing’s Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter and was put off by it. The angst in Wearing’s account of her father’s coming out and her endless adolescent trauma about it felt dated. But Wearing’s theatrical version of the story—which preceded the book—is deeply moving. Wearing’s presence makes a huge difference. Her obvious affection for her dad sets a celebratory rather than complaining tone and conveys the clear impression that, as a kid, she was doing the best she could to cope with the traumatic rupture of her family. I went into this show with a chip on my shoulder but, by the end, I was sucking back sobs.

I also thought that Innocent When You Dream looked like drek: questionable title, earnest programme blurb, boring photo. But the show is so fresh and creative it made me cheer. The premise is that we’re all stuck inside the belly of a whale, with a guy who’s been there for a while. He’s only got two books to read: Don Quixote and Moby Dick. Witty and visually rich, this show is also a serious exploration of romantic obsession.

And I dug Tasha Diamant’s The Human Body Project, which looked iffy. When you enter the performance space, she’s naked. She explains that it’s an expression of her vulnerability and that her intention is to create a space in which we can experience our vulnerability as well. Despite good press in Victoria, her houses were small: there were only three of us the night I attended. Victorians were probably freaked out by the nudity. Show your adventuresome spirit, Vancouver! See this show.

For reviews of 11 Fringe shows that are coming from Victoria to Vancouver, check out http://www.straight.com/arts/fringe-festival. I think they’ll be up on Thursday.

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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