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Baker’s dozen will help narrow the choices at this year’s Fringe Fest

June, 2010

The 20th edition of the Montreal Fringe Festival runs till June 20. With more than 100 productions, it can be daunting to plan your Fringe. Alphabetically, here’s a baker’s dozen we feel will be particularly rewarding.

Afternoon Tea With Jane Austen. It is universally acknowledged that an author in possession of an admired output must be in want of a dramatic one-woman biographical show. Jane, as embodied by Tali Brady, returns to create a “funny, touching portrait of one of the most influential literary minds of the 19th century.”

Archy and Mehitabel. I love the wry, soulful writings of Don Marquis, whose studio was inhabited by Archy, a cockroach, the reincarnation of a verse-libre poet and the toujours gai alleycat Mehitabel, the reincarnation of Cleopatra. Archy wrote only in lower case, as he had to plummet from key to key to help write Marquis’s 27 books. If you have never seen the Broadway version with Carol Channing and Eddie Bracken, the Eartha Kitt version, or heard the CBC radio version, don’t miss this show with Jeff Culbert.

Dance Animal Presents: Freaks of Nature. The multitalented Robin Henderson has a budding franchise on her hands. Her Dance Animal concept, after breaking records at the 2009 Fringe, went on to wow audiences at Just For Laughs and Wildside. Her new show is co-written with Dan Jeannotte. Comedy and frantic group dance prevail as the gang prepares for a “rich gala for elite Canadian artists at the Bell Centre”

Dead Pigeons Society. Alain Mercieca has established an enthusiastic following since taking over the reins at Theatre Ste. Catherine. This bilingual show is an ode to Mile End as literary types clash with Mafia types.

Griffintown. Community is at the core of these tales from the legendary neighbourhood. Theatre Rua is a creation of Irish actor-producers, Cliona de Bri and Laura Flynn. It would be interesting to compare Richard Burman’s 2003 film documentary Ghosts of Griffintown with this offering.

Jesus Jello. Joanna Noyes lends her fame to a group of seven top actors, including Patrick Charron and Tristan D. Lalla. The face of Christ in a bowl of Jell-O becomes a confection that leads to a look at the interplay between faith and cynicism.

Will Spots of Time leave you hanging? Photo: Dan Liboiron Composition: Elizabeth Lajoie

Paris-Berlin Scene de Cabaret. With French chansons, Kurt Weill songs and music-hall classics, what can go wrong? This group of seven actors and singers transport you to the ’30s.

Miss Sugarpuss Must Die! Five years after her Fringe debut, this perennial Fringe strip-tease artist is having a midlife crisis. And who better to come to her scripting and directing aid than Paul Van Dyck? Holly Gauthier-Frankel, the thinking man’s sexpot, sings dances and, yes, strips her way to clarity.

Molly. James Joyce’s 1921 Ulysses ended with the famous interior monologue of Molly Bloom, leading to the book being banned everywhere as “smutty and polluted.” Thirty-five years later, critics decided that it was the “finest novel ever.” Carly Tarett of Manchester, Great Britain, returns for her third Fringe in a solo show, directed by Peter McGarry, who has guided more than 30 worldwide productions.

One Man Riot. Perennial Fringe spoken-word Scottish ranter jem rolls, who insists on lower case, as in poet e.e.cummings, switches to storytelling, choosing what might be a ghost story based on the 1990 poll-tax riot in London.

Poison the Well. Dancer Elison Zasko was born in Moscow and emigrated to Canada at 17. Zasko took her 2008 Fringe and Wildside hit Sputniks across the country and returns to Montreal with a hostage-crisis political drama. Teamed with Andrew Connor of Cody Rivers Show fame, they examine war and neglect, and global and personal tragedies.

Rant Demon. What Fringe would be complete without Westmount’s own Keir Cutler? In his eighth Fringe show, directed by Fringe god T.J. Dawe, Keir embarks on a “comic-autobiographical rant about being a big mouth.”

The Further Adventures of Antoine Preval. Just For Laughs winner Chris Gibbs returns with a hilarious tale of Victorian London’s most bumbling detective. Sherlock Holmes he ain’t.

Most shows are an hour long and cost about $10, with special deals available. All the money goes directly to performers. Pick up the essential free program or visit

Info: 514-849-3378.

Join us at our special blog to find more Fringe reviews, previews and vignettes from the festival. We invite you to comment and contribute.



At June 11, 2010 at 8:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see the picture of the Spots of Time write up? I'm intrigued I would like to know more.....


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